Lots of people caught a glimpse of Tampa Bay this weekend as portrayed in Harmony Korine's locally filmed neon fantasy Spring Breakers.
Korine's movie posted the biggest debut of the year for a limited release film this past weekend, according to an estimate from distributor A24 Films. Spring Breakers grossed $270,000 from just two theaters in New York and one in Los Angeles, a $90,000 per-theater-average that is the best of 2013 so far and one of the 10 best averages ever for a live action film. The movie stars Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson and Rachel Korine as girls who come to Tampa Bay for spring break, and James Franco as the rapper/drug dealer they encounter.
In its three days of limited release, Spring Breakers has already outgrossed director Korine's previous movies; his biggest success as a filmmaker had been Mister Lonely, which earned $167,396 in 2008.
Women under 30 in particular turned up in strong numbers for the box-office debut.
"The crowd this weekend was overwhelmingly young," said Nicolette Aizenberg, A24's head of publicity. "I think James Franco was a huge draw, and the girls have been everywhere. Selena's fans are a little bit younger, so we didn't go after them directly, but her audience still showed up."
The movie opens nationwide Friday, but those big numbers it posted over the weekend means it will appear in more theaters than originally planned. A24 was going to expand the film into about 600 theaters this weekend, but now says it will open in about 1,000 locations.