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Specialty Box Office: 'Somebody Up There' Well Liked Indeed With $38,000 Exclusive Debut

Photo of Peter Knegt By Peter Knegt | Indiewire March 10, 2013 at 1:32PM

Exactly year after debuted at SXSW, Bob Byington's "Somebody Up There Likes Me" scored a huge exclusive debut at Chicago's Music Box Theater. The film -- which stars and was co-produced by Chicago native Nick Offerman -- grossed an estimated $38,495. The 700 seat theater featured multiple sold out shows with Nick Offerman in attendance, delivering the second highest opening weekend in the last 6 years at the theater, trailing only "Sleepwalk With Me", and the third highest since Rentrak began tracking numbers 10 years ago.
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Nick Offerman in Bob Byington's "Somebody Up There Likes Me."

Exactly year after debuted at SXSW, Bob Byington's "Somebody Up There Likes Me" scored a huge exclusive debut at Chicago's Music Box Theater. The film -- which stars and was co-produced by Chicago native Nick Offerman -- grossed an estimated $38,495.

The 700 seat theater featured multiple sold out shows with Nick Offerman in attendance, delivering the second highest opening weekend in the last 6 years at the theater, trailing only "Sleepwalk With Me", and the third highest since Rentrak began tracking numbers 10 years ago.

To put that into further perspective, Tribeca Films current all-time top theatrical grosser -- 2011's "Last Night" -- grossed $98,986 in its run. Clearly this weekend's numbers are difficult to use to predict how the film will expand, but It seems all but certain "Somebody Up There Likes Me" will top "Last Night" by next weekend and become the distributor's first $100,000 grosser.

"We all love this film and couldn't be more thrilled with its opening weekend success,"  Jane Rosenthal, CEO of Tribeca, said. "Bob's work truly has a sensibility of its own, and the film has been building strong word-of-mouth at festivals ever since its premiere last year at SXSW. Our team has worked closely with the filmmakers on the marketing campaign -- this week will see the premiere of a companion video to last year's acquisition announcement, which featured Nick, Megan Mullally, and Alison Brie partaking in some off-color fun -- and we have put together a release plan that allows Nick to support the film in select cities while bringing it to everyone across the country through On Demand and iTunes."

The film next opens at the Cinefamily in Los Angeles where Tribeca said half of the shows are already sold out for next weekend. Offerman will also be in attendance, before travelling with the film to San Francisco on 3/22, New York on 3/29 and Austin on April 5. It will be available on iTunes and all major VOD carriers beginning March 12.

"Somebody" wasn't the only film people liked this weekend. Also managing a very impressive debut -- on 259 more screens than "Somebody" no less -- was Roadside Attractions' WWII drama "Emperor," which stars Tommy Lee Jones and Matthew Fox. On 260 screens, the film managed a $1,042,800 gross, averaging $4,010.

"We had particular success targeting the older demo, and with areas of the country with strong military presence like San Diego and parts of Virginia," Roadside's Howard Cohen noted.

The film will be expanding moderately for next weekend.

Michel Gondry's Paladin-released "The We and the I" also had a strong weekend, taking $12,280 at an exclusive run at New York's IFC Center.  The film began the weekend on a smaller screen in the complex but was upgraded to the largest given the early demand. Gondry showed up for an in-person event at the theater on Friday night. 

The film expands to Los Angeles, San Francisco and 5 other top markets on March 22 before rolling out to additional markets.

Full list of numbers for reporting openers and holdovers below, ranked by per-theater-average.

"Emperor"
The Debuts:

1. Somebody Up There Likes Me
Distributor: Tribeca Film
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $38,495
Theaters: 1
Average: $38,495
Cumulative Total:  $38,495

2. The We and the I
Distributor: Paladin
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $12,280
Theaters: 1
Average: $12,280
Cumulative Total:  $12,280

3. Emperor
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $1,043,000
Theaters: 260
Average: $4,012
Cumulative Total:  $1,043,000

4. Beyond The Hills
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $18,000
Theaters: 3
Average: $6,000
Cumulative Total:  $18,000

5. The Girl
Distributor: Brainstorm Media/Vitagraph
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $10,400
Theaters: 2
Average: $5,200
Cumulative Total: $10,400

6. The Silence
Distributor: Music Box
Weeks in Release: 1
Gross:  $9,170
Theaters: 2
Average: $4,585
Cumulative Total: $9,170

The Holdovers

1. Stoker

Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Weeks in Release: 2
Gross:  $115,239
Theaters: 17 (up from 7)
Average: $6,779
Cumulative Total:  $329,727

2. No
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Weeks in Release: 4
Gross:  $167,361
Theaters: 35 (up from 11)
Average: $4,782
Cumulative Total:  $510,519

3. The Gatekeepers
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Weeks in Release: 6
Gross:  $250,122
Theaters: 67 (up from 46)
Average: $3,733
Cumulative Total:  $1,027,092 (includes Oscar qualifying run)

4. Hava Nagila
Distributor: International Film Circuit
Weeks in Release: 2
Gross:  $39,369
Theaters: 12 (up from 1)
Average: $3,281
Cumulative Total: $90,766

5. Like Someone In Love
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Weeks in Release: 4
Gross: $16,800
Theaters: 6 (down from 7)
Average: $2,800
Cumulative Total: $117,900

6. Lore
Distributor: Music Box Films
Weeks in Release: 5
Gross: $67,000
Theaters: 12
Average: $2,481
Cumulative Total: $255,741

7. Quartet
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Weeks in Release: 9
Gross:  $1,279,000
Theaters: 715 (down from 725)
Average: $1,789
Cumulative Total:  $13,269,831

8. Amour
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Weeks in Release: 12
Gross:  $195,511
Theaters: 205 (down from 333)
Average: $954
Cumulative Total:  $6,244,649

9. The Impossible
Distributor: Summit
Weeks in Release: 12
Gross:  $90,000
Theaters: 114 (down from 151)
Average: $789
Cumulative Total:  $18,478,391

10. Chasing Ice

Distributor: Submarine Deluxe
Weeks in Release: 18
Gross:  $7,214
Theaters: 11
Average: $656
Cumulative Total:  $1,255,791

This article is related to: Box Office