By Ray Pride Pride@moviecitynews.com

SLEEPWALK WITH ME Scores at IFC CENTER, Breaking an Overall First-time Filmmaker Screen Average Record and the House Record

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 

August 26, 2012 – NY – Mike Birbiglia’s SLEEPWALK WITH ME scored a superb opening this weekend with $65,000 at NY’s IFC Center breaking the house record by a large margin and  driving a stellar overall weekend for the theater – one of its biggest weekends ever.  The SLEEPWALK WITH ME gross  is also the highest per-screen debut for an American nonanimated film from a first-time filmmaker.  SLEEPWALK WITH ME ranks as the third highest screen average of 2012 following MOONRISE KINGDOM and TO ROME WITH LOVE. This IFC Films release from the creators of THIS AMERICAN LIFE  is based on comedian Mike Birbiglia’s one-man show.  Birbiglia directed, wrote and stars in the film which tells the autobiographical story of a burgeoning stand-up comedian’s struggles with the stress of a stalled career, a stale relationship, and the wild spurts of severe sleepwalking he is desperate to ignore.  SLEEPWALK WITH ME  was written and produced by THIS AMERICAN LIFE’s Ira Glass and had its premiere at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year where it won the Audience Award in the Next Section.  It also screened at the SXSW Film Festival and was the opening night of BAMCinemaFest.

Notes Jonathan Sehring of IFC Films: “We are all thrilled for Mike and Ira. We worked closely with them on the marketing of the film, targeting their respective fan bases, aggressively building word-of-mouth in advance of the opening and eventizing the film at the Center. We are also well set up  in the regional markets around the country.”

Mike Birbiglia says: “At every step of this process, when we wrapped, when we finished editing, when we went to Sundance, Ira would turn to me and ask ‘what’s gonna happen?’  It’s amazing to see that this is what’s finally happening.”

Joss Whedon, the director of the year’s highest-grossing film, THE AVENGERS, posted a video earlier in the month stating he was concerned that SLEEPWALK WITH ME was creeping up on THE AVENGERS’ dwindling screen count and called for a boycott of the independent release.

Continues Glass: “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 Avenger’s $47,698 per screen.  We look forward to beating his worldwide gross of $1.5 billion in the coming weeks.”

SLEEPWALK WITH ME expands to the top 20 markets on 8/31 and will continue to platform across the country over the coming weeks.

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“Ten years ago at Telluride, I said on a panel that theatrical distribution was dying. It seemed obvious to me. I was surprised how many in the audience violently objected: ‘People will always want to go to the movies!’ That’s true, but it’s also true that theatrical cinema as we once knew it has died. Theatrical cinema is now Event Cinema, just as theatrical plays and musical performances are Events. No one just goes to a movie. It’s a planned occasion. Four types of Event Cinema remain.
1. Spectacle (IMAX-style blockbusters)
2. Family (cartoon like features)
3. Horror (teen-driven), and
4. Film Club (formerly arthouse but now anything serious).

There are isolated pockets like black cinema, romcom, girl’s-night-out, seniors, teen gross-outs, but it’s primarily those four. Everything else is TV. Now I have to go back to episode five of ‘Looming Tower.'”
~ Paul Schrader

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~ Eric Allen Hatch