UPDATE 7/18/11: Box Office Mojo is reporting a full Opening Weekend Gross of $6,513 per theater for The Undefeated. The gross of $65,132 brings the movie in at #15 on the list of highest grossing opening weekend for political documentaries released since 1982.
Competing against opening day of the long-awaited final chapter of Harry Potter - which exploded all first day records of any film in history - "The Undefeated" still filled theaters in most of its markets with audiences who cheered and gave standing ovations for the indie straight-up documentary about Sarah Palin, grossing an average of $5,000 per theater over the weekend through Saturday.
Harry Klady in Movie City News reports The Undefeated's estimated Friday-only grosses at $2870 per theater (ARC reported today $5000 per theater through Saturday). To understand how The Undefeated's turn out compares, listen to what Klady says about Harry Potter's amazing gross: "Regardless, selling 50% of all available ticket inventory to a movie on more than a dozen screens on any day is a mammoth achievement. Don’t think I am undercutting the success of the film by rolling out these numbers. I’m just trying to offer up something that might not be the same 3 paragraphs on this that everyone is writing this morning. A different angle. But 50% is HUGE. Especially now.
"Over the years, I have developed the habit of checking in with busy urban theaters to see how many shows the big openers are selling out. You rarely see those sell-outs more than an hour in advance of anything but the 1 or 2 prime-time Fri/Sat screenings anymore, even in the most popular theaters."
Box Office Mojo lists Weekend Grosses for the top movies, along with the number of theaters screening them and the per-theater average gross. It will give you a good perspective on how much, per theater, any film might be expected to make on a given weekend. For example, when Atlas Shrugged opened, it averaged $5,640. This weekend, Winnie the Pooh averaged $3,326, Transformers Dark of the Moon averaged $5,425.
Box Office Mojo also has a chart listing political documentary grosses since 1982. Here's the link to opening weekend. Michael Moore's "Capitalism A Love Story"? It grossed $4,623 its opening weekend, back when people still had money to go to the movies.
So The Undefeated is performing very nicely, no matter whose numbers you compare it to!
PS One more update: Here's a great article on Nielson's site called "Beyond Opening Weekend" that may be useful to learn more about how movies earn money for their distributors and the theaters that show them - the most profitable are those that audiences keep going to see long after opening weekend is gone. And The Undefeated appeals to exactly the demographic that can make that happen.