Upside Down

Winner: "56 Up" and "Somebody Up There Likes Me"
Two films that definitely warrant inclusion here -- even if neither have even crossed the $1 million mark -- are Michael Apted's "56 Up" (the eighth film in the "Up" doc series that has followed a group of British people since 1964) and Bob Byington's indie comedy "Somebody Up There Likes Me" (a 2012 SXSW pickup starring Nick Offerman).

First Run opened "56 Up" on January 4th to a strong $22,088 gross from a single screen. Without expanding it beyond 32 theaters, they've seen the film slowly turn into a little success story. As of March 31st, it has grossed $649,677.  That's well above the $241,772 and $300,880 First Run saw from series predecessors "49 Up" and "42 Up," respectively.

Meanwhile, "Somebody Up There Likes Me" should soon become the highest grossing film released by three year old Tribeca Film. After four weekends where it hasn't risen above a count of just 3 theaters, it has managed a gross of $77,100. Tribeca will continue to expand the film into April, where the film will surely become the first $100,000 grosser for the distributor (which also releases their films on VOD).

Loser: "Upside Down"
Things weren't always looking up for the oddly high amount of 2013 releases with "up" in their title. Juan Diego Solanas's "Upside Down" -- a romantic science fiction film starring Kristen Dunst and Jim Sturgess that has been out in some parts of the world since last summer -- crashed and burned pretty quickly. Released Stateside by Millennium Entertainment, the film -- budgeted at a reported $50 million -- grossed just $28,722 from 11 screens in its first weekend and has so far totaled $90,916. Its unlikely to manage much more beyond that.

"The Place Beyond the Pines."
"The Place Beyond the Pines."

Winner: "The Place Beyond The Pines" and "Room 237," at least so far

Heading into the second quarter, there's significant promise care of Focus Features' "The Place Beyond The Pines" and IFC Films' "Room 237," which each managed very impressive debuts in the final days of March.

The former was definitely the MVP of Easter weekend (though it was also definitely the most marketable thanks to stars Ryan Gosling and Bradley Cooper). Derek Cianfrance's follow-up to "Blue Valentine," "Pines" soared to a huge $270,184 gross on just 4 screens, averaging $67,536. That's the year's second best per-theater-average (after "Spring Breakers") and among the 50 best of all time. It also managed to far exceed the $48,432 that "Blue Valentine" (which also starred Gosling) averaged from 4 screens back in 2010. All hopeful things for the expansion of "Pines" beyond New York and Los Angeles (where its biggest haul by far was at LA's Acrlight).

Rodney Ascher's documentary "Room 237," meanwhile, also is off to a good start. A subjective documentary that explores the numerous theories about the hidden meanings within Stanley Kubrick's film "The Shining," IFC Films saw "Room" gross $36,000 from 2 theaters in New York, averaging $18,000. What's more, the film's day-and-date release on VOD saw it take the #1 spot on both the Independent and Horror charts on iTunes all weekend.  

Both "Pines" and "Room" will expand the coming weeks and Indiewire will keep you updated in both regards with our weekend box office reports. Hopefully it's more good news than bad...