In the hours after the acquittal of George Zimmerman late Saturday, the tweets began pouring out.
"This might be in bad taste," wrote Questlove Jenkins of the Roots, "but in light of this verdict? i really INSIST you people see Fruitvale Station not now but RIGHT NOW."
The musician was referring to "Fruitvale Station," Weinstein Co.'s drama about Oscar Grant III, an unarmed African American who was shot by a white BART police officer in 2009. The movie was released in seven theaters this weekend just as Zimmerman's trial in the death of Trayvon Martin wrapped up in Florida. Many have drawn parallels between Grant and Martin.
As early as Friday, it was clear "Fruitvale Station" was resonating with moviegoers. On Sunday, Weinstein Co. estimated that the movie would collect $377,285 by weekend's end. That would amount to a $53,898 per-theater average -- the third-highest of the year for a film in limited release, behind only "Spring Breakers" and "The Place Beyond the Pines."
A manager at the Grand Lake who declined to give his name said the theater seats 550 patrons and nearly every one of the movie’s six daily showings was sold out.
The movie appealed to a wide swath of filmgoers this weekend; 43% of the crowd was white and 29% was black. About 32% of the opening weekend crowd was 25 to 34 years old; 18% was over the age of 55. The movie has received overwhelmingly positive reviews and earned an average grade of A from audiences, according to market research firm CinemaScore.