Clooney’s ‘The Descendants’ has excellent start with $1.2 million


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‘The Descendants’ has earned George Clooney some of the best reviews of his career. Will it become one of his bigger box-office successes as well?

The Alexander Payne-directed movie opened in 29 theaters this weekend and collected an impressive $1.2 million, according to an estimate from distributor Fox Searchlight. That works out to $42,150 per theater, the sixth-highest per-screen average of the year, behind independent releases ‘Midnight in Paris’ and ‘The Tree of Life,’ each of which had its opening weekend in fewer venues than ‘The Descendants.’


Searchlight opened ‘The Descendants’ in five theaters Wednesday to spread positive buzz about the film, so its gross so far is $1.3 million.

In the movie, Clooney plays a single father struggling to take care of his two daughters. Many award pundits believe that the movie — which on Sunday had a 90% fresh rating on Rotten Tomatoes — could earn an Oscar nomination for best picture and that Clooney could be nominated for best actor.

Sheila DeLoach, Fox Searchlight’s executive vice president, said the film is so far appealing to an older crowd.

‘The positive reviews have certainly sparked the interest of the sophisticated adult audience, which is why they came out in droves this weekend,’ she said. ‘I think their reaction was, ‘We’ve finally got a good picture we can go see.’ It’s a quality adult film, and there really hasn’t been anything like that in a dismal fall.’

Searchlight plans to expand ‘The Descendants’ to about 425 theaters Wednesday.


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— Amy Kaufman