Robert Evans bio doc “The Kid Stays in the Picture” staged a boffo limited bow this weekend, grossing an estimated $88,799 from four Gotham and L.A. theaters.
That repped an incredible $22,200 per venue — the best per-theater average for any specialty title to date this summer. Perf upstaged even the $19,776 average of sesh leader “Austin Powers in Goldmember.”
“It’s the biggest weekend in decades for me,” said Evans, in Gotham for pic’s promo push.
Still an active producer on the Paramount lot, Evans, is busy at work on “The Korshak Saga,” a biopic about Sidney Korshak, the Hollywood labor kingpin with reputed ties to the Chicago underworld. He’s producing the pic with Brian Grazer for Par.
That studio, in fact, serves as backdrop to the personal and professional triumphs and travails depicted first in a “Kid” bestseller and now in the film of the same name.
Pic uses portions of Evans’ gravel-voiced audiobook perf for portions of its narration.
As for “Korshak,” William Friedkin is set to helm, and Nick Tosches — who penned a much-read Vanity Fair article on Korshak — is three months into a screenplay, Evans said.
“I’m working closely with Nick on the script because I know so much,” said Evans, who was Korshak’s “godson” and delivered his eulogy when the labor boss died in 1996.
Evans is also a producer — with Christine Peters and Lynda Obst — on “How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days,” a Kate Hudson-Matthew McConaughey laffer now lensing in Gotham and Toronto.
He’s also penning a followup book to “Kid” called “The Fat Lady Sang.” Title is inspired by a life-threatening stroke Evans suffered four years ago.
He calls the warm reception of the “Kid” book and pic “almost hallucinatory.”
Distrib execs are quite jazzed as well.
“It’s a smash success,” said Focus distrib maven Jack Foley, who called the bow one of the best ever for a docu — though some, including Evans, suggest pic pushes the genre envelope.
“They’re calling it a performance piece,” Evans said. “It’s not a documentary really — it’s more of a journey.”
Evans confessed to checking out a couple of opening-weekend showings of “Kid” and liking what he saw.
“The demographics are terrifically interesting,” he said. “There are as many people under 30 as above.”
“Kid” may add an Orange County playdate next weekend, with big expansions set for Aug. 16 and 23. But whatever pic’s longer-range prospects, Evans appreciates drawing a bit of the limelight this late in his long career.
“Very few industries embrace a guy at my age and in the shape I’m in,” he observed. “I’m not wealthy, but my just being alive today is worth something.”