The Iron Lady, the Weinstein Company's biopic of Margaret Thatcher, entered its first week of wide release as the No. 10 movie in America -- the only specialty film in the top 10.
Last week's No. 9 film, Focus Features' Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy, dropped out of the top 10 this week.
Iron Lady -- like the specialty films The Artist, My Week With Marilyn, The Descendants, Shame, We Need to Talk About Kevin and Carnage -- could get a boost from Sunday night's Golden Globe Awards.
Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy received no nominations.
Meryl Streep was nominated for her portrayal of the former prime minister of Britain in The Iron Lady, which took $5.4 million in 802 locations in 141 markets this weekend.
It did really well in a lot of commercial theaters, Erik Lomis, the Weinstein Company's distribution president, told TheWrap on Sunday morning. It did really well in art theaters, as well.
This is Iron Lady's third week in release, but last week, it was in only five locations.
With the wider release, its per-location average dropped from an unsustainably high $34,420 to a very strong $6,716.
The movie played especially well in big cities and on both coasts.
As might be expected, the movie drew an older and educated audience: 77 percent were 35 or older and 72 percent had college degrees. The audience was made up of slightly more women than men -- 53 percent women to 47 percent men.
The audience polling firm Cinemascore gave it a B+ grade. The other significant expansion of the weekend was Carnage, directed by Roman Polanski.
Sony Pictures Classics increased the number of locations showing Carnage from 15 to 494. The movie, which earned Jodie Foster and Kate Winslet Golden Globe nominations for best actress, took $785,590 -- a per-location average of $1,590.
Despite dropping out of the top 10, Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy drew solid numbers in its sixth week of release. Focus expanded the film from 809 to 886 locations, and grossed $3.2 million. The movie now has taken an estimated $15.1 million. Focus expects it will end the Martin Luther King holiday weekend with nearly $15.8 million.
The Weinstein Company's The Artist went from 172 to 216 screens in its eighth weekend.
The mostly silent, black-and-white movie is nominated for six Golden Globes -- more than any other film.
It grossed $1.167 million over the weekend and now has grossed nearly $8.8 million to date.