Mike Birbiglia, best known as a standup comic and for small roles in films like “Trainwreck,” is making his mark as a writer-director with the dramatic comedy “Don’t Think Twice.”
Off glowing reviews, the film’s New York-only opening grossed $90,126 from one screen at the city’s Landmark Sunshine. With a per-screen average of exactly that amount, the film bested the 2016 record set just last weekend by Woody Allen‘s “Café Society.”
The Film Arcade, which is distributing the film, cited dozens of sold out showtimes for the buzzy title, which has a perfect current Rotten Tomatoes score of 100 percent.
The film, also starring Birbiglia, along with Keegan-Michael Key, Gillian Jacobs, Kate Micucci, Tami Sagher and Chris Gethard, follows the ups and downs of an improv comedy troupe on a long-running sketch-comedy show.
While “Star Trek Beyond” came away with bigger opening grosses of $59.6 million, Birbiglia’s micro release blew away the sci-fi sequel in one regard — as the Paramount blockbuster only made $15,173 per screen.
“This whole thing is thrilling, and timely, because we actually think of ourselves as the ‘Star Trek’ of movies about best friends in an improv group,” said Birbiglia in a statement.
Having premiered earlier this year at Austin’s South by Southwest film festival, “Don’t Think Twice” was produced by Ira Glass (“This American Life”) and Cold Iron Pictures’ Miranda Bailey and Amanda Marshall.
“I love that a movie without Vulcans, droids or talking fish can do this well with audiences,” added Glass.
“Don’t Think Twice” expands to Los Angeles and Chicago later this week and goes nationwide in August.
Meanwhile, Fox Searchlight’s “Absolutely Fabulous: The Movie” didn’t fare as well, earning only $1.9 million from 313 screens, representing a weak per-screen average of $6,006. The long-running BBC show, after which the film was made, has a loyal fanbase, but “Fabulous” followers didn’t instantly flock to the new title.
Filled with star-studded cameos from the likes of Jon Hamm, Rebel Wilson and Stella McCartney, the premise has Edina and Patsy fleeing London for the French Riviera and pondering whether or not to kill supermodel Kate Moss.
Given its decent reviews — 63 percent fresh on Rotten Tomatoes — and the fact that its core followers aren’t typically first-weekend moviegoers (as are younger males), there’s still a chance the “Fabulous” film could pull through with more momentum.
In its second weekend, “Café Society,” out of Amazon Studios and distributed by Lionsgate, held onto momentum, grossing $875,000 from 50 theaters — with a respectable per-screen average of $17,500. Ahead of the film’s nationwide expansion later this week, the film has made an estimated total of $1.4 million.