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Specialty Box Office: ‘Flying Swords’ 3D IMAX Tops Newcomers; ‘Samsara’, ‘Sleepwalk With Me’ Expand Strong

Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.

New specialty movies mostly coasted through the holiday weekend, with newcomers ranging from fairly solid to weak in their Labor Day bows. Indomina Releasing’s IMAX 3D opener Flying Swords Of Dragon Gate soared to the top of the pack with a decent $8,333 average for its opening in 15 locations, while Millennium’s Little Birds launched in one theater, grossing $8,314. “This is a solid opening”, said Indomina’s Rob Williams. “The fans came out to see Flying Swords the way it should be seen – on the giant IMAX 3D screen”. Indomina will expand on September 14th.

Focus Features opened For A Good Time, Call… in 23 theaters, averaging $8,090. Focus plans to let word-of-mouth drive its rollout. Mostly young females turned out for the feature Focus picked up out of Sundance. “According to exit polls, rating and recommend scores with females under 25 were above average – a good sign as we continue to expand through September”, a Focus spokesperson said. Millennium Films landed Little Birds in one NYC theater, grossing just under $6K. The film will open in Los Angeles September 14th. IDFA/Sundance doc The Ambassador debuted Stateside in 4 theaters, averaging a modest $3,818. The feature will expand to about a dozen markets next week. And China Lion’s The Bullet Vanishes bowed at 14 locations, averaging a slower $3,642. The distributor is targeting Mandarin-speaking audiences in the U.S. and Canada.

Among holdovers, Oscilloscope’s Samsara reigned supreme among the second weekenders, averaging a hefty $15,749 in 9 locations for the 4-day frame. IFC Films’ Sleepwalk With Me expanded to 29 locations with an average of $14,103. In solo debut at IFC Center last weekend the film broke a house record, taking in $65K. Read More »

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‘Sleepwalk With Me’ Wows In 1 Theater, ‘Samsara’ Very Strong: Specialty Box Office

By | Sunday August 26, 2012 @ 10:39am PDT

Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.

Sleepwalk With Me as predicted lead the pack of new specialty releases. With $65,000 at only one engagement, the feature nonetheless sprinted into very specific record-breaking territory. Distributor IFC Films touted its numbers and some trivia, giving the dog days of summer some luster and a moment of levity. “As a joke Avengers director Joss Whedon recently declared war on our film, so we’re surprised to see that our per screen average is so much higher than The Avengers‘ $47,698 per screen [opening]. We look forward to beating his worldwide gross of $1.5 billion in the coming weeks.” (Marvel’s The Avengers is approaching that figure worldwide). IFC Films pointed out that Sleepwalk is the highest per-theater average for an American “non-animated film from a first-time filmmaker.” It is also a “house record-breaker” for New York’s IFC Center. Sleepwalk will now head to Los Angeles, Chicago, Boston, Washington, D.C., Minneapolis, Indianapolis, Portland, Seattle and other cities in coming weekends. It will be on 22 screens by August 31st. Also opening with a strong start in its debut, Oscilloscope’s Samsara averaged a fantastic $37,500. Next up is L.A. followed by a national rollout. Read More »

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‘Sleepwalk With Me’, ‘Neighboring Sounds’, ‘Samsara’: Specialty Box Office Preview

By | Thursday August 23, 2012 @ 10:27pm PDT

Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.

IFC Films’ Sleepwalk With Me appears to be on track to be the specialty rollout winner of the weekend at least in terms of per screen average, although the title bows in only one location Friday. Latin American features Hermano and Neighboring Sounds arrive in U.S. theaters, and distributors Box Films and Cinema Guild, respectively, are going after fans of Latino cinema as well as the traditional art house audience. Oscilloscope’s epic doc Samsara traveled a long path to the screen and will debut in limited release initially.

Mike BirbigliaSleepwalk With Me
Director: Mike Birbiglia, Seth Barrish
Writers: Mike Birbiglia, Joe Birbiglia, Ira Glass, Seth Barrish
Distributor: IFC Films

As Sleepwalk With Me rolls out in just one New York location, it is nevertheless looking like a very strong performer amongst the specialties and possibly one of the biggest indie openers of the summer. The potential hit, which IFC Films picked up out of Sundance earlier this year where it won an Audience prize, revolves around a burgeoning stand-up comedian who struggles with the stress of a stalled career, a stale relationship and frequent episodes of sleepwalking. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Samsara’

By | Thursday July 26, 2012 @ 8:28pm PDT

Directed by Ron Fricke and Mark Magidson, the “non-verbal” documentary Samsara was shot entirely on 70mm film. Oscilloscope Laboratories releases Samsara on August 24th:

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‘Samsara’ Bought For Australia, New Zealand By eOne, Hopscotch: Cannes

By | Wednesday May 16, 2012 @ 11:09am PDT
Mike Fleming

eOne and Hopscotch Films have acquired Australian and New Zealand rights to Samsara, the follow-up to Baraka. Filmed over a period of five years in 25 countries on five continents and shot on 70mm film, Samsara reunites director Ron Fricke and producer Mark Magidson. They teamed on Baraka and Chronos. Samsara depicts the varied worlds of sacred grounds, disaster zones, industrial complexes, and natural wonders and by dispensing with dialogue and descriptive text, the film veers from the traditional documentary. eOne Canada already bought rights to the film in Canada and will release it in the fall. Oscilloscope releases the film August 24 in the U.S.

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Oscilloscope Takes U.S. Rights To ‘Samsara’ For Summer Release

By | Wednesday March 14, 2012 @ 11:23am PDT

Oscilloscope Samsara MovieSamsara is the follow up to 1992 documentary Baraka, a collection of expertly photographed scenes centering on the environment. Oscilloscope will open Samsara, which debuted at the Toronto International Film Festival, in theaters this August. Here’s the release: Read More »

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Santa Barbara Festival Reveals Full Lineup

The Santa Barbara International Film Festival this morning announced its full lineup of movies including 16 world premieres and 37 U.S. debuts for the 27th annual event. The fest runs January 26 through February 5. The centerpiece gala movie will be the U.S. premiere of the documentary Samsara directed by Ron Fricke (Baraka, Chronos). Closing night feature is director Nadine Labaki’s comedy Where Do We Go Now? about a group of Lebanese women who go to extraordinary lengths to keep peace between Christians and Muslims in their village. The previously announced opening-night feature is Lawrence Kasdan’s Darling Companion. Virtuosos Awards will be presented to Demián Bichir (A Better Life), Rooney Mara (The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo), Melissa McCarthy (Bridesmaids), Patton Oswalt (Young Adult), Andy Serkis (Rise Of The Planet Of The Apes) and Shailene Woodley (The Descendants). In addition, the festival will pay special tribute to Viola Davis along with previously announced honorees Christopher Plummer and Martin Scorsese.

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