The hotly-anticipated new film from There Will Be Blood director Paul Thomas Anderson is loosely inspired by Scientology founder L. Ron Hubbard, and after screenings at the Venice and Toronto film festivals is already being tipped as an awards contender.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the film grossed a total of $242,127 (£149,308) on Friday for a huge per-location average of $48,425 (£29,861).
The film is on course to exceed Moonrise Kingdom's record for highest theatre average for an arthouse title on an opening weekend. Wes Anderson's film earned $522,996 (£322,505) from four theaters for a per-theatre average of $130,749 (£80,626).
Moonrise Kingdom's opening day per-theatre average was $43,082 (£26,567), considerably less than that of The Master.
The film, which stars Joaquin Phoenix and Phillip Seymour Hoffman, was recently embroiled in controversy after being reportedly awarded the top prize at the Venice Film Festival, only to have it rescinded before the ceremony due to a complication in the festival's new competition rules.
Watch the trailer for The Master below: