So let's put on our nerd hats and break down those Precious numbers. While it's only in 18 theaters, it played on 35 screens, because most cineplexes, anticipating the demand, booked two prints. (The per-screen average, therefore, was $53,499.) I looked at each theater's listings and added up how many showings the movie had over the weekend. That number was 507.
Then the math: It made $1,872,458 in 507 showings, for an average of $3,693 per showing. The average ticket price at the theaters in question is $11 (disregarding things like senior discounts and slightly cheaper prices for Friday matinees). That means each screening sold an average of about 335 tickets, which is surely the capacity for a lot of those theaters. That means a sell-out crowd for almost every screening. I guess I could have found out how many people each theater seats and determined exactly how many sell-outs there were, but that would be silly.
Box Office Mojo says the $104,025 per-theater average is the 12th highest ever -- but the 11 films ahead of it were all playing in no more than six locations. Precious played in 18 and still had a huge per-theater average. Any way you slice it, the delightful feel-good romp of the year opened with a splash.