Philip Seymour Hoffman’s ‘The Master’ Could Set Record-Breaking Opening Weekend

Philip Seymour Hoffman’s Oscar-baiting performance in The Master, the new film directed by Paul Thomas Anderson and starring Joaquin Phoenix, has already been met with a ravishing critical reception. Yet the film could become a commercial hit as well as a critical darling if early ticket sales are anything to go by.

That’s because The Master absolutely flattened art-house records when it opened in just five theaters nationwide on Friday, September 14.

The Oscar contender reportedly grossed $242,127 from the handful of screenings, a figure that works out at $48,425 per screen. Those are some impressive single-night numbers for an art-house flick, and, if the film has managed to maintain its momentum over Saturday and Sunday, it’s highly likely to break the opening weekend art-house record.

Currently, the record is held by Wes Anderson’s Moonrise Kingdom, which averaged $130,749 per screen over its opening Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

The Master is a 1950s drama that focuses on a charismatic intellectual known as “the Master” (Philip Seymour Hoffman) who founds a faith-based organization (called “The Cause”) that starts to become popular across America. During the film, Hoffman’s character bonds with a young drifter (Joaquin Phoenix), who becomes his right-hand man.

The movie’s striking similarities to a certain other faith-based organization have already pissed off the Scientologists. Which, let’s face it, is a good enough reason to go see it.

Were you one of those who helped push The Master to its startling opening night figures? If so, do you think the film matches the hype? If you’re yet to catch it, The Master is scheduled for a wider release on September 21.