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by Peter Knegt
September 9, 2012 1:22 PM
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Specialty Box Office: Self-Released 'Detropia' Tops Newcomers; 'Lights,' 'Hello' Also Strong

"Detropia." Sundance

While most of the film industry set up shop in Canada for the Toronto International Film Festival, a bunch of alums from the Sundance Film Festival made their way to theaters to varying results.

Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady's "Detropia," Ira Sachs' "Keep The Lights On," Todd Louiso's "Hello I Must Be Going," Leslye Headland's "Bachelorette" and So Yong Kim's "For Ellen" all hit theaters, with "Detropia," "Hello" and "Lights" finding the best results so far.

Among holdovers, anti-Obama doc "2016: Obama's America" became the sixth highest grossing doc ever, while "Beasts of the Southern Wild" joined the $10 million club.

Full rundown on these films and over a dozen more below.

The Debuts:

"Detropia" (Loki Films Release)
"Detropia" -- a doc directed by Heidi Ewing and Rachel Grady -- opened to a very strong $18,350 from an exclusive engagement in New York at the IFC Center.

The film -- self-released by Ewing and Grady -- featured multiple sold out shows over the weekend. It began the weekend playing in a 110-seat screen but was quickly promoted over other films in the complex to the largest screen of 200 seats by early Friday afternoon for the rest of the weekend after evening shows had sold out early on Friday.

The film will open engagements in Washington DC and Detroit next weekend before rolling out to markets including Los Angeles, Chicago, San Francisco, Boston and Seattle in the weeks to follow.

READ MORE: 'Detropia' Filmmakers Explain DIY Distribution and How the Sundance Institute Artist Services Program Works

"Hello I Must Be Going" (Oscilloscope)
Todd Louiso's "Hello I Must Be Going" -- starring Melanie Lynskey in an acclaimed performance as a divorced and depressed woman -- opened on 2 screens this weekend care of Oscilloscope. It took in $26,764 as a result, averaging a strong $13,382. Oscilloscope will expand the film next weekend.

"Keep The Lights On" (Music Box Films)
Gay relationship drama "Keep The Lights On" -- which competed with "Hello" in Sundance's U.S. Dramatic competition (where both lost to "Beasts of the Southerm Wild") -- opened on 5 screens this weekend. The result was very good, with the film grossing $56,288 for a $11,258 average. The grosses were led by the Clearview's Chelsea/NYC location at approximately $20,000.

The Ira Sachs-directed film expands to the top ten markets in the next several weeks with San Francisco and Berkeley opening on September 14.

"Bachelorette" (RADiUS-TWC)
After a very strong run on VOD last month, RADiUS-TWC released Kirsten Dunst led dark comedy "Bachelorette" on 47 screens in 16 markets this weekend to so-so results. The film grossed $191,033, averaging $4,065. That's a disappointing number, though the folks at RADiUS-TWC remained optimistic.

"We're extremely pleased that the film is outpacing much wider releases vying for the same demographic," RADiUS-TWC Co-Presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego said.  "Our rollout will continue to build on this success in the weeks to come."

READ MORE: RADiUS-TWC Gets Auspicious Start With VOD Release of 'Bachelorette' Hitting iTunes #1

"For Ellen" (Tribeca Films)
Finally, So-Yong Kim's "For Ellen" hit a single screen at New York's Film Forum this weeknd care of Tribeca Film. The result was a weak $6,100 gross over the weekend, and a total of $7,282 since opening weekend.

The film -- which becomes available on VOD on 9/18 -- will open select markets in the weeks to follow including Chicago, Boston and Seattle.

For news on holdover releases, including "For a Good Time, Call..." "Sleepwalk With Me," "Samsara," "Little White Lies," "2016: Obama's America," "Celeste and Jesse Forever," and "Beasts of the Southern Wild," continue to the next page.

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