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 »
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 »
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.
Sleepwalk 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 »
Joss Whedon says he’s concerned that Mike Birbiglia’s Sleepwalk With Me, which opens August 24 via IFC, is “creeping up” on Marvel’s The Avengers and might eclipse the superhero movie’s dwindling weekend take when it debuts. The $1.46B global grosser Avengers took in about $271K from 220 theaters last weekend. Produced in conjunction with the radio show This American Life, Birbiglia’s movie is based on his sleepwalking and life misadventures and one-man show. His movie was a favorite this year at Sundance and South By Southwest. Fan fervor, Whedon notes, has resulted in the doubling to 80 the number of theaters opening Sleepwalk With Me. Whedon says, “That makes me nervous…”: