‘Babies’ outpaces estimates

Focus docu nabs $2.2 million

Focus Features managed to elicit more “oohs” and “ahhs” than expected on Mother’s Day, with specialty docu “Babies” outpacing Sunday’s estimates by more than 50%.

Distrib had projected the docu’s weekend estimates near $1.6 million; yet on Mother’s Day alone “Babies” took in $1.1 million, repping 50% of the weekend’s actual $2.2 million domestic take.

Focus prexy of theatrical distribution Jack Foley described Sunday’s performance as a mandate. Foley said Sunday’s estimates for “Babies” were based on historical trends, with Disney’s docu “Earth” earning 38% of its share on the same day last year — the previous benchmark for Mother’s Day.

“You’ve got to manage expectations very sensitively,” Foley added. “You couldn’t speculate because this really broke new ground.”

“Babies” debuted in 534 locations this weekend, and with an aggressive grass-roots campaign aimed at mothers, pic now stands as the tenth highest opening for a docu in the past ten years.

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