Elaine Stritch‘s new docu opened in a pair of New York theaters this weekend to a decent crowd. The Tribeca ’13 doc opened at Lincoln Plaza and IFC Center grossing $30K. Now in a wheelchair and frail, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress/performer nevertheless made headlines last weekend when she delivered the F-bomb on The Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, giving the film a round of publicity in the lead up to its weekend opening. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me got off to a fantastic start as the film will roll out to the top twenty markets throughout March. “Audiences came out to see the well reviewed documentary about the legendary Emmy and Tony award winner,” noted IFC Films Sunday. It will also be available via VOD soon.
Related: BOX OFFICE: ‘Lego’ Is Lord Of Business, Costner’s ’3 Days To Kill’ No. 2 Buries ‘Pompeii’
Adopt Films opened its Foreign-Language Oscar nominee Omar in a fairly wide 51 theaters. The Palestinian feature by Hany Abu-Assad won festival accolades from Cannes, London, NYFF and AFI Fest had by far the widest opening among its fellow Oscar contenders that have opened Stateside. Tribeca Film’s Broken Circle Breakdown opened in one theater grossing $7,100 ($158 cume), while Magnolia’s The Hunt bowed in 10 theaters last July, growing $43K ($613 cume). Janus Films’ The Great Beauty is by far the box office winner among the pack, passing the $2 million cume threshold this week. It opened in one location in November, grossing $23,442. Strand’s The Missing Picture from Cambodia will open next month. Read More »
The City Of Lights, City Of Angels French film festival will run in LA this year from April 21-28. The 18th festival has unveiled its Classics program and the Focus on a Filmmaker sidebar. Cédric Klapisch will be honored with the latter on April 24 with a special presentation of his 2002 hit L’Auberge Espagnole, and the premiere of his latest film Chinese Puzzle, the third in the Auberge trilogy. Romantic comedy Chinese Puzzle (Casse-Tête Chinois in local parlance) was released in France on December 4 to strong notices and sold over 1.4M tickets. It stars Romain Duris, Audrey Tautou and Cécile de France. Klapisch will discuss his work following the screening. Col-Coa is also paying tribute to Patrice Chéreau who passed away in October 2013. The homage will include a screening of a digitally restored version of 1994′s Queen Margot starring Isabelle Adjani, Jean-Hugues Anglade and Daniel Auteuil. Cohen Media Group is planning a 20th anniversary digital release in the U.S. this year. Also screening are a digitally restored version of Jean Cocteau’s 1946 Beauty And The Beast; a 30th anniversary presentation of Otar Iosseliani’s Favorites Of The Moon (Cohen Media Group is also releasing digitally this year); the restored version of 1960′s Purple Moon directed by René Clément; and a newly restored version of Henri-Georges Cluzot’s 1942 drama L’Assassin Habite Au 21. Finally, Col-Coa … Read More »
The Presidents Day weekend was rather quiet for the Specialty Box Office in a holiday otherwise dominated by Legos. Only one newcomer bothered to report 3-day numbers Sunday, though they were decently solid. China Lion’s Valentine’s offering Beijing Love Story brought out its niche following of audiences who gravitate to China’s big screen features. The film grossed $128K for a $14,222 PTA. “We’re in our core communities and pushing our grassroots outreach there,” China Lion’s Robert Lundberg said this week.
As of early afternoon EST, other Specialty openers including Girl On A Bicycle (Monterey Media), Lucky Bastard (Cavu Pictures) and Jimmy P. (IFC Films) hadn’t reported their numbers. Here’s hoping IFC Films will back Jimmy P., a film that premiered in competition in Cannes and later debuted Stateside at the New York Film Festival. It has had decent reviews, so hopefully it is not simply being dumped by the distributor. Stay tuned…
Related: Box Office: ‘Lego’ Blocks ’80s Remakes In Valentine’s Day/President’s Day Weekend
Among second weekend holdovers, Kino Lorber continued to reap decent numbers for its doc Afternoon Of A Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq, which continued its exclusive engagement at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. Read More »
Documentaries ruled the school this weekend in the Specialty Box Office. Kino Lorber Films’ doc Afternoon Of A Faun: Tanaquil Le Clercq pirouetted atop the Specialty Box Office among the weekend’s newcomers including fellow docu Kids For Cash and Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England. Afternoon of a Faun, which debuted at the 51st New York Film Festival, returned to the Film Society of Lincoln Center for its theatrical roll out, clearly tapping into an audience familiar with the famous ballerina, affectionately known as Tanny. Kino Lorber booked over $4,800 in pre-sales before its opening at Film Society. The film played the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center and moved later to the bigger Walter Reade Theater. Noted Kino Lorber’s Gary Palmucci Sunday: “With perfect first positioning by the Film Society of Lincoln Center, Afternoon of a Faun certainly blasted off this weekend – we’re all thrilled and getting ready to pirouette into national release in the coming weeks.”
Producer-director Robert May’s SenArt Films teamed with Mark Urman’s Paladin on Kids For Cash, a documentary centered on a scandal that took place in Pennsylvania. The partners kept it local, opening at several locations in and around the Philadelphia area and other cities, tapping into public awareness of the story. The strategy of ducking the usual L.A.-NYC roll out appears to have mostly paid off in its first bow.Kids For Cash grossed $40,800, for a $10,200 PTA. “At the end of February, we’ll take on other major markets,” Urman told Deadline this week. “We’re not sneaking into town to that place that typically plays your usual documentary. It’s a gut punch of a movie and we see no reason to treat it as if it were for the only discerning few.” Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: DreamWorks Studios has acquired the rights to remake The Prey, the French film that was released in 2011 under the title La Proie. The deal was spearheaded by production president Holly Bario, and the rights were acquired from Brio Films, Studio Canal and Cohen Media Group. Cohen Media Group chairman/CEO Charles S. Cohen will produce the remake and Cohn Media Group president Daniel Battsek will be exec producer. Luc Bossi, one of the writers on the original, will be involved in developing the English language redo.
Directed by Eric Valette, La Proie centered around a low-level crook who must break out of jail to save his family from his former cellmate and confidante, who, it turns out, is a sadistic serial killer. The original was written by Bossi and Laurent Turner and produced by Bossi’s Brio Films. StudioCanal coproduced and distributed the original film, and Cohen Media put it out in limited last summer. Bario called the original “an arresting story that had all of us at DreamWorks on the edge of our seats and we instantly saw the potential for a U.S. remake. The team at DreamWorks looks forward to working with Charles, Daniel and Luc to bring this thrilling story to a new audience.” Read More »
Focus Features said today that Jason Bateman‘s Bad Words will bow in limited release on March 14, expand out on March 21 and open wide on March 28. On that date it will face off against Open Road’s Haunted House 2, Paramount’s Noah, Cohen Media Group’s Breathe In and Lionsgate’s Cesar Chavez. The comedy from Darko Entertainment, Aggregate Films and MXN stars Bateman in his feature directorial debut. He plays a 40-year-old Guy Trilby, who finds a loophole in the National Spelling Bee rules and enters the competition. As he dusts his preteen rivals, a reporter (Kathryn Hahn) digs into Guy’s story, and he finds himself forging an unlikely friendship with a 10-year-old boy (Rohan Chand). Allison Janney, Ben Falcone, Rachael Harris and Philip Baker Hall co-star.
High profile awards contenders had big expansions over the weekend, easily dwarfing the roll outs of lower profile new comers this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s big Oscar hopeful 12 Years A Slave, Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost and Focus Features’ Dallas Buyers Club headed into more theaters and markets with mostly strong results. Searchlight moved 12 Years A Slave into 1,144 theaters, an increase of 734 from the previous week. It grossed $6.6 million in its 4th week of release, averaging $5,769 and placing 7th in the overall box office.
Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost, which had its U.S. debut earlier this month at the New York Film Festival, headed into 401 runs grossing over $1.2 million and averaging $3K. Last week, it grossed nearly $600K in 131 locations. Focus added 26 theaters for Dallas Buyers Club‘s second frame. The film starring Matthew McConaughey held nicely, grossing $629K, averaging almost $18K. Focus noted the film had a 61% increase from Friday to Saturday, which the company touted Sunday morning. “This bump far exceeds the 45% to 50% bump which is the norm for a roll-out,” said a Focus spokesperson. “This big bump on Saturday shows momentum with Saturday’s habitual adult – Boomer, Gen X and sophisticated younger patrons. For the second week in a row, the film over performed on Saturday. Clearly it is connecting with the core adult audience.” Focus added that increases also took place in last week’s theaters as well.
Among newcomers, Sony Classics’ The Armstrong Lie took the weekend’s highest PSA, though from a slight threshold. The Venice and Toronto documentary grossed $30,904, averaging $6,181. This is the second film to head to theaters this year from veteran filmmaker Alex Gibney, whose late May release We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks averaged $6,922 when it bowed in 4 theaters. That film went on to gross over $166K in the U.S. SPC will expand The Armstrong Lie into several additional markets next weekend, while also adding runs in Los Angeles. Read More »
Dallas Buyers Club cinched the top spot in the Specialty Box Office, grossing over $264K, averaging a strong $29K-plus in 9 theaters this weekend. The Toronto debut starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof who took on the medical establishment illegally importing promising drugs from abroad after learning he was HIV-positive.
“The word-of-mouth is stimulating the box office momentum which we see in the big increase from Friday to Saturday,” noted Focus Sunday. “Dallas experienced a strong increase in box office on Saturday with a 71% overall bump from Friday to Saturday. Yesterday’s increase is a strong indication that the film’s popular and box office momentum is working well. Grosses in the U.S. houses are strong with Dallas the #1 ranked film in 4 of the 6 opening houses.” Focus added that “smart-house films” historically increase in the upper 40% range from Friday to Saturday.
The distributor had more flush results from The Place Beyond The Pines earlier this year, grossing over $279 in 4 theaters in April, averaging nearly $70K. Had Dallas only opened in its 6 U.S. theaters, the average would have been $35K. The film also bowed in 3 Canadian locations this weekend. The result is an auspicious send off to the “Specialty” incarnation of Focus lead by James Schamus. Read More »
After the Palme d’Or, public spats and talk about “that scene,” Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color opened with solid numbers this weekend in New York and L.A. The feature grossed just over $101K in 4 theaters, for a $25,279 average – easily the highest of the weekend and one of the year’s highest for a foreign-language film.
Sundance Selects said it was “thrilled” by Blue‘s performance and that the drama about two young women who fall in love appealed across genders this weekend. “From the moment it screened in Cannes to its opening engagements here in the United States the film has received enormous publicity and critical acclaim for the film and for the lead actresses’ performances,” said IFC Films/Sundance Selects’ Mark Boxer Sunday. “Now filmgoers in New York and Los Angeles have had the opportunity to see what generated so much excitement and controversy and the turnout was quite impressive in a very crowded marketplace.”
Related: Palme d’Or Winner Ineligible For Foreign Language Category
Why Wild Bunch Wouldn’t Budge On ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Release For Oscar Eligibility
Blue opened stateside with an NC-17, though NYC’s IFC Center very publicly said it would admit high schoolers to the film. The title also trumped last year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar winner and fellow Palme d’Or winner Amour, which had a $22,755 in 3 locations last December. That film went on to gross over $6.7 million in the U.S. Read More »
Blue Is The Warmest Color has had more press, public spats, anticipation, praise and momentum than any foreign-language film in memory. The latest flap involves New York’s IFC Center deciding not to honor the NC-17 MPAA voluntary rating, allowing young people under 18 to see the film. Now the Palme d’Or winner is heading out to theaters in the U.S. courtesy of Sundance Selects. The film has already grossed nearly a cool $4.5 million in France since opening October 9. The weekend’s roster of newcomers are far fewer than previous bows this fall. Among the new Specialties hitting theaters along with Blue Friday are The Film Arcade’s Spinning Plates by Food Network host Joseph Levy as well as fellow doc Not Yet Begun To Fight by Shasta Grenier and Sabrina Lee’s, which they will self-distribute, and Cohen Media Group’s Capital. And listed in last week’s Specialty Preview is Jehane Noujaim’s Toronto and NYFF debut, The Square, which will open at Film Forum in New York.
Blue Is The Warmest Color
Director-writer: Abdellatif Kechiche
Writers: Julie Maroh (story), Galia Lacroix (adaptation)
Cast: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux, Salim Kechiouche, Aurélien Recoing, Catherine Salée, Benjamin Siksou
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Much has been talked about the 2013 Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Blue Is The Warmest Color. The festival, lead by festival juror Steven Spielberg even gave recognition to the film’s two leads, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux with special Palme d’Ors of their own. The film centers on Adèle, a young woman who meets Emma, with whom she falls in love with as the pair embark on a passionate relationship.
Related: ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Is France’s Top Local Opener Of The Year
Read More »
CEO Tim Davie Reveals Vision For Future Of BBC Worldwide
In an address to employees, BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie today unveiled a new vision to build the BBC’s brands, audiences and commercial returns around the globe. It includes a £200M investment in premium content, the launch of three new core consumer brands propositions – spanning the genres of premium factual, factual entertainment and drama — and a greater focus on digital innovation to extend the company’s reach and routes to market. “BBC Worldwide has a good track record of taking British content to the world, benefiting international audiences, license fee payers and the wider industry alike,” he said. “But the time has come for a step-change, reflecting the rapid development in our markets.”
UK Culture Secretary Spends The Week Meeting With U.S. Showbiz Execs
During a visit to the U.S. this week, UK Culture Secretary Maria Miller met with senior executives at Disney, Warner Bros and other showbiz companies to discuss collaboration and hear suggestions on how UK filming conditions could be made more attractive to American productions. She also sought reaction to the UK’s recent extension of tax credits and talked with HBO about its Game of Thrones production model and with Lucasfilm about its plan to shoot the new Star Wars film in the UK and whether there could be other ways to help support the local film industry. Read More »
Turkish Game Show Host Fired For ‘Unacceptable’ Cleavage
A popular TV host in Turkey has been fired for showing too much cleavage on the air. Gözde Kansu donned a revealing black top during a recent episode of music game show Velaiht, and the ruling Justice and Development Party was unamused. “We don’t intervene against anyone, but this is too much,” said Hüseyin Çelik, a spokesman for the socially conservative party. ”It is unacceptable.” He didn’t mention Kansu by name, but his subject soon became clear and she dismissed soon after.
DistribFilms Picks Up U.S. Rights To French Rom-Com ‘Just A Sigh’
DistribFilms said Wednesday that it has acquired U.S. rights to the French romantic drama Just a Sigh, starring Gabriel Byrne and Emmanuelle Devos. Writer-director Jérôme Bonnell’s film follows an actress who meets a mysterious Irishman on a Paris-bound train. She then follows him and falls in love with him, before facing what could be a new life. The film has played festivals including Tribeca and Karlovy Vary and will unspool at the Chicago Film Festival next week. The deal was negotiated by Scippa-Kohn and Camille Neel, head of international sales at Le Pacte, on behalf of the filmmakers. Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
It was all about Fox Searchlight’s Enough Said in the Specialty Box Office. The feature directed by Nicole Holofcener starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus and the late James Gandolfini easily scored the weekend’s highest numbers, taking in $240K in 4 theaters for a $60K average. That is one of the highest PSAs of the year among limited-release titles and a career high for Holofcener. Her previous film, Please Give, opened in April 2010 in 5 theaters, averaging $23,625, while Friends With Money (April 2006) had a $21,047 PSA though that film bowed with 28 runs. It went on to cume over $13.3 million.
The average gives Enough Said bragging rights as one of the year’s best specialty openers, though the likes of Blue Jasmine ($102K average in 6 theaters), Spring Breakers ($87,667 in three theaters) and The Place Beyond The Pines ($69,864 in 4 theaters) remain at the top in terms of opening-weekend averages. Searchlight was naturally happy with the weekend results, noting the film has a 93% on Rotten Tomatoes and heaped praise on the filmmaker and cast. “Audiences have been waiting for a well-written film for adults, and besides Nicole’s core audience, she seems to be reaching a new set of moviegoers who are discovering and appreciating her work,” the distributor said. “We are very happy with the outstanding opening weekend grosses, and while we knew all along that we would do well at the box office, these figures are beyond our wildest expectations.” The company will expand Enough Said to 65 new markets on Friday, while widening in NY and LA. It will head to 180-220 locations.
Roadside/Lionsgate’s Thanks For Sharing had the weekend’s biggest release, opening in 269 theaters and capitalizing on the film’s cast of recognizable names including Mark Ruffalo, Gwyneth Paltrow, Pink and Tim Robbins. The offering proved less than addictive, however, with a $2,255 average and a weekend gross over $607K. Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
While the weekend’s higher profile directors tanked at the indie box office with new pics, several smaller films opened in one theater and the tactic appears to have mostly worked in their favor. Oscilloscope bowed Andrew Dosunmu’s Mother Of George in one theater, handily scoring the weekend’s top PSA with $22,456. The film about a Nigerian couple living in Brooklyn lured packed crowds. “[Mother Of George] played to sold out shows throughout the weekend and drew an extremely diverse crowd on the heels of unanimously positive reviews,” said an O-scope spokesperson Sunday about the film which picked up a Cinematography prize at Sundance in January. “We look forward to expanding over the coming weeks.”
Sundance Selects‘ Blue Caprice, which bowed at Sundance and New Directors/New Films earlier this year and stars Isaiah Washington, opened IFC Center in New York, taking the weekend’s second highest PSA with $15,200. The distributor plans a slow roll out for the film which recalls the shooting spree in and around Washington, D.C. in 2002. Sundance Selects said it will expand Blue Caprice to the top 15 markets throughout September.
Also doing solid business in one run was Submarine Deluxe‘s documentary GMO OMG, reporting a $15,121 weekend gross. Read More »
Cohen Media Group has acquired North American distribution on The Last Of The Unjust, the documentary that’s playing Toronto and will follow with a New York Film Festival berth. The film is directed by Shoah helmer Claude Lanzmann and will be released theatrically next year after a qualifying run for the Oscars. The film reveals a little-known yet fundamental aspect of the Holocaust, and sheds light on the origins of the “Final Solution.” Lanzmann tells the story of the Theresienstadt concentration camp (located in what is now the Czech Republic), where tens of thousands died and many more were held before being sent to their deaths at Treblinka, Auschwitz and other camps.
The central figure in the film is Benjamin Murmelstein, the last president of the Theresienstadt Jewish Council, a fallen hero condemned to exile. He was forced to negotiate day after day from 1938 until the end of the war with Nazi official Adolf Eichmann, who considered Theresienstadt a “model” camp. The director got the idea after interviewing Lanzmann for the 1985 pic Shoah, but didn’t have room for it in that movie. Here, Murmelstein explains his actions and defines his paradoxical role in history. Read More »
My Old Lady has a new distributor, a new backer and a new cast member. NYC-based Cohen Media Group has picked up all U.S. and Canadian rights to the comedy-drama directed and adapted by Israel Horovitz from his play. CMG EVP Gary Rubin and Cinetic Media’s John Sloss and Steven Farneth negotiated the deal on behalf of the producers. Distributed internationally by Protagonist Pictures, the film now has the unspecified financial backing of BBC Films. Rachael Horovitz and Gary Foster are producing with Nitsa Benchetrit and David Barrot. Co-producing are David Atrakchi, Boris Mendza and Gael Cabouat for Fulldawa Films. Charles Cohen and Daniel Battsek will exec produce for CMG, while BBC Films’ Joe Oppenheimer and Christine Langan will exec produce for BBC Films. Rounding out the My Old Lady news, Kristin Scott Thomas has joined Maggie Smith, Kevin Kline, and Dominique Pinon in the movie. Kline plays a down-and-out New Yorker who travels to Paris to liquidate a huge apartment he’s inherited. But when he gets there, he learns he can’t take possession until the old woman who’s living in the apartment dies. Taking up the role that Jane Birkin was originally set in, Scott Thomas will play Chloe, daughter of Smith’s Mathilde character. My Old Lady starts shooting in Paris this month. Scott Thomas is repped by CAA and by Independent Talent Group in the UK.
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
UPDATE, 11:50 AM: Lionsgate/Pantelion’s Instructions Not Included scored a Spanish-language first, shattering the Specialty Box Office with a $10 million gross in 347 theaters. The comedy-drama directed by Eugenio Derbez handily won the holiday weekend’s numbers among limited releases, including a spectacular $28,818 average. It placed fifth in the overall box office chart.
Film Arcade‘s Afternoon Delight also proved to have newcomer seduction, grossing just over $37K over the holiday weekend with a four-day PSA of $18,504. Noted Film Arcade this weekend: “We’re thrilled with the opening of Afternoon Delight and are particularly excited about the fantastic reception the film is getting from women. Jill Soloway directed a provocative film and following this strong start we’ll be aggressively expanding the release throughout the country.” Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The Grandmaster battled its way to the top of the Specialty Box Office in its first weekend, targeting the art house crowd though the film by celebrated Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai is headed for a wider release next week. The martial arts feature starring Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi grossed over $132K, averaging $18,894, making it the weekend’s top PSA title and out-performing the debut of the filmmaker’s previous release, My Blueberry Nights. That film grossed over $74K in 6 theaters in April 2008, averaging just $12,357. It went on to cume just $867K domestically. But Grandmaster fell short of 2046, Wong’s 2005 feature which opened in 4 theaters also in August of that year. That film, also starring Zhang, grossed just over $113K for a $28,268 average.
The Grandmaster itself evolved since screening for hometown audiences, shaving off 22 minutes by the time it hit screens this weekend and, according to TWC, a more linear telling of the story about Ip Man, the martial artist who trained Bruce Lee. TWC is confident the feature will cross over to a wider audience and is planning a significant expansion into Labor Day weekend.
“There is substantial action that will appeal to a wider audience,” said Weinstein president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis. “It [is in] upscale theaters the first weekend and then will broaden out to suburban theaters.” The Grandmaster will head to 500 to 600 theaters next weekend, making it one of the largest foreign-language releases of the year. The film has grossed $55 million overseas to date.
SXSW Film Festival narrative winner Short Term 12 starring Brie Larson and John Gallagher bowed in 4 runs over the weekend. The film by Destin Cretton charmed audiences at SXSW, winning the Audience Award in addition to the top Jury Prize. It also received an acting award for Larson at the recent Locarno Film Festival. And in theaters, it grossed over $60K for a PSA just over $15K. Not a smash, but the film carried some momentum from its festival word of mouth. Read More »