"Iím going to tell you a story and it's true...I always have to tell people that," so asserts comedian-turned-playwright-turned-filmmaker Mike Birbiglia directly to the viewer at the outset of his autobiographically inspired, fictional feature debut. Birbiglia wears his incisive wit on his sleeve while portraying a cinematic surrogate. We are thrust into the tale of a burgeoning stand-up comedian struggling with the stress of a stalled career, a stale relationship threatening to race out of his control, and the wild spurts of severe sleepwalking he is desperate to ignore.
||August 24th, 2012 (Limited) by IFC Films|
||December 18th, 2012 by Mpi Home Video|
||PG-13 for some sexual content and brief language.|
(Rating bulletin 2245, 10/17/2012)
||Big Break, Romance, Breaking the Fourth Wall, Dream Sequence, Relationships Gone Wrong, Delayed Adulthood, Screenplay Written By the Star, Novel or Other Work Adapted by Author, Directing Yourself, Stand-Up Comedy, Autobiographical|
|Production Method:||Live Action|
|Creative Type:||Contemporary Fiction|
||Bedrocket Entertainment, Official Comedy, WBEZ Public Radio's "This American Life", Secret Public Productions|
It's the last week before Christmas, which means it is the last chance for last minute gifts. There are a number of first-run releases coming out this week, some of which are not coming out till Friday, or even next Monday. There are also quite a few limited releases and TV on DVD releases hitting the home market this week. However, none of these were big hits and very few earned strong praise from critics. That doesn't mean there are none that are worth picking up. In fact, we have a trio of contenders for Pick of the Week. Shameless: The Complete Second Season on DVD or Blu-ray; Pitch Perfect on DVD or Blu-ray Combo Pack; and Arbitrage on DVD or Blu-ray. It was a close call, but in the end I went with Arbitrage. Also coming out this week is Rush: 2012 - CD and Blu-ray in a Deluxe Edition or Super Deluxe Edition, which is a clear winner of Puck of the Week.
Taken 2 was the only film to top the $10,000 mark on this week's per theater chart earning an average of $13,525. The best new limited release was The Paperboy, which came very close with an average of $9,337 in eleven theaters.
We had a monster hit on the per theater chart, as The Master earned close to $750,000 in five theaters for an average of $147,262. This is unbelievably strong; however, one does have to take into account the particulars. The Master was released on 70mm and because this is such an unusual event, the tickets were sold at a premium price. The only other film to top the $10,000 mark was Arbitrage, which made just over $2 million in just under 200 theaters for an average of $10,163.
Samsara expanded from two to nine theaters, but held on well enough to rise to top spot on the per theater chart with $12,597. Sleepwalk With Me expanded to 29 theaters and was very solid with an average of $11,127.
Labor Day weekend is traditionally the slowest holiday weekend at the box office, so it comes as no surprise that the overall chart looks fairly weak. However, Possession is set to produce a very credible box office number, with Lionsgate estimating $17.725 million through Sunday and comfortably over $20 million for the full 4-day frame. That's hardly blockbuster level, but is considerably better than consensus predictions coming in to the weekend. Another opener, Lawless, is well behind, with Weinstein predicting $9.7 million for the Friday-Sunday portion of the weekend. Far, far behind that is this weekend's other new wide release, The Oogieloves in the BIG Balloon Adventure, which is headed for about $450,000 from 2,160 theaters and will end up in the record books for one of the poorest openings in history.
Sleepwalk With Me found its way on top of the per theater chart with $68,801 in one theater. This is higher than the per theater average for the opening of The Avengers, which was the goal of the filmmakers after their fake fight with Joss Whedon. Samsara opened with an average of $38,111 in two theaters. The only other film in the $10,000 club was Space Station with $14,268 in one theater.
The Summer box office season will come to an abrupt halt this weekend as returning films dominate the chart thanks to some decidedly lackluster openings. The top holdover, The Expendables 2, will win by default with a decent second weekend of $13.5 million, according to Lionsgate's Sunday morning estimate. That's down a fairly respectable 53% from its debut figure. The standout performer among returning films is political documentary 2016: Obama's America, which is projected to earn $6.2 million from 1,091 theaters -- the best per theater average in the top 10. That film will end up in 8th place, though, after an impressive 4th place on Friday, suggesting that it has a fairly narrow, if enthusiastic, fan base.
Like I said last weekend, it is an awkward time to debut a film in limited release. It is too late for summer holidays, but too early for Awards Season. There are not nearly as many releases this week as there were last week, but at least there are a few earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. The one with the best chance of success is Sleepwalk With Me, but Samsara and Somewhere Between could be art house hits.
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