Taking $120,000 in weekend box office generally won't raise a Hollywood bean counter's eyebrow. It's certainly was not enough lucre for Santa Ana-bred filmmaker Drake Doremus' Like Crazy to crack the top 10 in overall estimated box office for the weekend past. But playing on only four screens in New York and Los Angeles, the transatlantic love story enjoyed one of the highest arthouse openings of the year. That's because Like Crazy's per-screen average was $30,000, far beating the next best when it came to that economic indicator, the No. 1 movie in America Puss in Boots, with $8,603 per screen (and $34 million total in nationwide distribution).
In third when it came to per-screen average was another relatively small film, Martha Marcy May Marlene, which tallied $7,517 per each of the 32 screens it played on in its second week of release.
Like Crazy's per screen average for the opening weekend dwarfed the $18,117 earned for the entire theatrical run of Doremus' 2010 film Douchebag.
Paramount snatched Like Crazy for its Paramount Vantage label just after the film won the dramatic grand jury prize at January's Sundance Film Festival, and it headed into the final days before its opening with well-timed television advertising and a New York Times story about no dialogue being in the script written by Doremus and Corona del Mar's Ben York Jones. Then came glowing reviews by Entertainment Weekly's Lisa Schwarzbaum (who gave “this glowing little award-winner” an A-), USA Today's Claudia Puig (“it's the rare love story that honestly conveys the giddy joys and sorrows of two people besotted with each other”), and the Los Angeles Times' Kenneth Turan (“it brings both intimacy and delicacy to the push and pull of love, longing and regret”).
I'd previously reported that Like Crazy cost under $1 million to make. When I moderated an audience Q&A with Jones following a sneak-peak Orange County Film Society screening at the Lido in Newport Beach last Wednesday, he informed it was much less than $300,000. Indiewire has blogged the total at $250,000–while also noting Doremus shot it with a $1,500 hand-held camera.
Like Crazy is scheduled to roll out into Orange County on Nov. 11.