Shrek's a Giant in Manhattan, But We Love Once

Shrek the Third may have done all of the heavy lifting this weekend with a mind-boggling $122 million opening ($950,000, or less than one percent, of which came from Manhattan), but it’s Once, an Irish musical, that caught our eye.

Fox Searchlight picked up the film at this year’s Sundance—it won an audience award at the festival and was nominated for a grand jury prize—for a sum reportedly south of one million dollars.

Like Waitress, they’re rolling it out slowly, debuting Once in only two theaters, one in New York and another in Los Angeles.

So far, it has the strongest per-screen average in the country, and the second strongest here in the city ($35,523), outpacing both Waitress and Away From Her, despite having none of the star power.

In a city that loves a tuner, this musical love story—“what Rent should have been,” as Kyle Smith of the Post put it—should pick up steam.

Shrek the Third has confirmed what we have come to realize about Manhattan moviegoing: We love our blockbusters just as much as they do in Peoria. The jolly green giant gobbled up the big apple box office, averaging a jaw-dropping $87,000 per theater. And it’s playing at theaters all over the island—not just in Tribeca and the Upper West Side. The adults like it, too!

Spider-Man 3 and 28 Weeks Later, numbers 2 and 3, respectively, on our chart, are still going strong even though both of their box office totals saw close to a 50 percent decline.

Continuing it strong run, Waitress only dropped 2 percent. The film is averaging over $11,000 per theater making its consistency no small feat. Look for Fox Searchlight to continue to expand it into more theaters.

Manhattan Weekend Box Office: How moviegoers in the multiplexes of middle America choose to spend their ten-spot is probably a big deal in Hollywood. But here in Manhattan, the hottest movies aren't always the ones making the big bucks nationwide. Using Nielsen numbers for Manhattan theaters alone and comparing them to the performance of the national weekend box office can tell you a lot about our Blue State sensibilities. Or nothing at all! Each Monday afternoon, we will bring you the results.

Shrek's a Giant in Manhattan, But We Love Once