Sundance Selects scored in the specialty arena this weekend, opening Gimme The Loot at its IFC Center in Greenwich Village with a solid $23,400. The movie, which IFC Films’ Sundance Selects label picked up last year out of the SXSW Film Festival, reported sold-out screenings Friday and Saturday nights, boosted by Q&As with former The Daily Show personality Wyatt Cenac. It premiered at MoMA on Tuesday with Sofia Coppola, Mike Birbiglia , Elizabeth Olsen, and Josh Safdie among the attendees. Loot next weekend will head to Chicago’s Music Box, L.A.’s NuArt and the Jacob Burns Center in Upstate New York. The Weinstein Company launched Cannes 2012 entrant The Sapphires in 4 NYC/LA theaters with a decent $10,232 average. Among other openers, Paladin debuted My Brother The Devil with two runs, averaging just over $6K. Starbuck is an original that DreamWorks Sudios is adapting to star Vince Vaughn. It was a hit at home north of the border, but opened comparatively quietly here, averaging $5,482 in three theaters. Next month, distributor eOne will take it to the top 30 to 50 markets. Archstone’s A Resurrection took in $7,250 at a single cinema. Read More »
Only a handful of new specialty movies opened during the early part of 2013, but spring has brought an onslaught of indies and foreign titles. The Weinstein Company opens the Cannes debut The Sapphires this weekend, while two titles from last year’s SXSW, Hunky Dory starring Minnie Driver and Gimme The Loot from Sundance Selects, bow in select locations. Thriller Come Out And Play makes its way to theaters after a very unconventional production. Paladin’s My Brother The Devil enjoyed the support of Sundance but faced riots during its filming in London. Entertainment One brings a French-Canadian comedy that has already landed an English-language remake deal, and Well Go USA will launch New World, hoping once again to capitalize on past successes with Korean thrillers.
Director: Wayne Blair
Writers: Tony Briggs, Keith Thompson
Cast: Chris O’Dowd, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens, Miranda Tapsell
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
TWC picked up the biographical comedy/drama ahead of its Cannes Film Festival premiere in the Official Selection last year, picking up U.S. rights and other territories for low seven figures. “It’s a really, really strong film with great performances,” said TWC president of theatrical distribution & home entertainment Erik Lomis. “Chris O Dowd is terrific”, said Lomis. Set against a backdrop of racial strife in Australia in the late ’60s, the film centers on four Australian Aboriginal girls who form a group and head out to entertain U.S. troops in Vietnam, escaping the tensions and limitations of their rural community. “It plays well to an audience and hopefully will crack the formula,” said Lomis. “It’s not a four-quadrant movie, but it’s has appeal across the spectrum. It’s an audience pleaser and it has scored through the roof.”
TWC tested the feature in New York and in the Midwest where Lomis said audiences in both regions responded well. “The trick is getting them in,” he noted. “We’re hoping word-of-mouth will propel its theatrical run.” The Sapphires will have a traditional first weekend opening in New York and LA, playing at two locations in each city before expanding. Read More »
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney
Nominated for 12 Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, The Sapphires won six gongs at a ceremony hosted by Russell Crowe in Sydney on Wednesday night. The musical drama about four Aboriginal girls who formed a singing group in the 1960s won best director (Wayne Blair), lead actress (Deborah Mailman), lead actor (Chris O’Dowd), supporting actress (Jessica Mauboy) and adapted screenplay (Keith Thompson, Tony Briggs). That’s in addition to five craft awards presented on Monday. The Weinstein Co. will release the film in the U.S. on March 22. Thriller Wish You Were Here took the AACTA original screenplay award for husband-and-wife creative team Kieran Darcy-Smith and Felicity Price, and supporting actor for Antony Starr. German actress Saskia Rosendahl received the best young actor trophy for Cate Shortland’s Lore, which was Australia’s entry for the foreign language Oscar. The Byron Kennedy Award, named for George Miller’s late producing partner, went to director/animator Sarah Watt (Look Both Ways, My Year Without Sex), who died of cancer in 2011. John Edwards’ Puberty Blues, which was inspired by Bruce Beresford’s 1981 film, was named best TV drama series. Presenters included AACTA president Geoffrey Rush, Cate Blanchett, Nicole Kidman and Hansel & Gretel: Witch Hunters leads Jeremy Renner and Gemma Arterton. It was the second annual ACTAA awards, the successor to the Australian Film Institute’s awards. The complete list of winners follows: Read More »
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
The Sapphires nabbed five Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards in craft categories presented Monday in Sydney local time. The drama, which TWC opens March 22 in the U.S., was prized for cinematography, editing, production design, costume design and sound. The major awards will be handed out Wednesday night, hosted by Russell Crowe. Iron Sky took the visual effects award, Storm Surfers 3D was named best feature documentary and Then The Wind Changed, which chronicled a community’s struggle to rebuild following the 2009 Victorian bushfires, was best docu under one hour. In TV, tabloid newspaper satire Lowdown – Season 2 was declared best comedy series, Agony Aunts picked up the light entertainment series gong and The Adventures of Figaro Pho, all from the ABC, won the children’s series award. Multicultural broadcaster SBS’s Go Back To Where You Came From was judged best documentary series. Patrick Brammall won best performance in a TV comedy for the ABC’s A Moody Christmas. Julian, which looks at a day in the life of a fearless nine-year-old schoolboy, was feted as best short fiction film and The Hunter was best animated short. The Raymond Longford Award for lifetime achievement was bestowed on producer Al Clark, whose credits include The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert, Chopper, Blessed, Red Hill and upcoming musical Goddess.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
The Weinstein Co. has confirmed The Sapphires will open March 22 in the U.S. TWC bought multi-territory rights for the musical drama at last year’s Cannes festival. Director Wayne Blair’s film based on the real-life story of an Aboriginal singing group that shot to fame in the 1960s was the top-grossing Australian film in 2012 with $A14.4 million ($14.9 million). Pic has 12 nominations for the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts Awards, including best film, direction, actress (Deborah Mailman), actor (Chris O’Dowd) and supporting actress (Jessica Mauboy). The major awards will be presented Wednesday night in Sydney, hosted by Russell Crowe.
Australia’s The Sapphires directed by Wayne Blair was named best narrative feature today as the 24th Annual Palm Springs International Film Festival winds down. The movie that also screened in Cannes last year is based on the real-life story of an all-female Aboriginal singing group that transitioned from folk to soul with unanticipated success in the 1960s. Best documentary feature was Don’t Stop Believin’: Everyman’s Journey, directed by Ramona Diaz. It’s about the rock band Journey’s search for a replacement lead singer after Steve Perry quit. The fest which began January 3 and officially concludes tomorrow screened 182 films from 68 countries, including 42 of the 71 foreign language entries for this year’s Academy Awards. A complete list of winners follows: Read More »
Wayne Blair’s Cannes crowd pleaser The Sapphires leads the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts feature film nominations for 2012 with 12 nods including picture, director, actor and actress. A close second is Jonathan Teplitzky’s Burning Man with 10, followed by PJ Hogan’s Mental, Kieran Darcy-Smith’s Wish You Were Here and Cate Shortland’s Lore at 8 apiece. Lore is Australia’s entry for the foreign language Oscar. AACTA held its inaugural prize ceremony earlier this year, acting as a continuum of the Australian Film Institute Awards which were established in 1958. Considered Oz’s equivalent to the Oscars, the second annual AACTA awards will be handed out in late January in Sydney. Following is the list of feature nominees: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: UTA has just signed Wayne Blair, who made his feature directorial debut with The Sapphires. It’s the first U.S. representation for the Australian filmmaker whose musical premiered at Cannes. The Weinstein Company bought U.S. distribution and select worldwide rights from the producers, Goalpost Pictures, shortly before that festival opened. The film just played Telluride and will screen at Toronto tomorrow. Based on a true story, The Sapphires follows four singers from the Australian Outback who are brought to Vietnam by their manager (Chris O’Dowd) to perform for U.S. troops in 1968.
The film is already a box office hit in Australia, grossing over $10 million so far. Blair, who began his career as an actor and theatre director, continues to be represented by his long-time Australian agent Jean Mostyn of The Yellow Agency and UK-based agents Duncan Heath and Roxana Adle of Independent.
Here’s the Toronto International Film Festival trailer for The Weinstein Company’s Cannes pickup The Sapphires. The movie about an Aboriginal girl group stars Chris O’Dowd as an unlikely talent scout, Deborah Mailman, Jessica Mauboy, Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell. Screenplay is by playwright Tony Briggs, whose mother and family members were part of the original Sapphires, and Keith Thompson. Directed by actor and theater director Wayne Blair, The Sapphires is also screening this weekend in Telluride.
Don Groves is a Deadline contributor based in Sydney.
Australian musical The Sapphires rang up $A2.3M ($2.4M) in its debut Down Under this weekend, ranking 2nd behind the The Dark Knight Rises in its 4th frame and ahead of the opening of The Campaign. The film’s four-day tally bodes well for the feel-good pic which The Weinstein Co. acquired on the eve of the Cannes Film Festival in May. Last year’s Oz-made hit, Red Dog, took $1.8M in its first weekend and went on to be the biggest local picture of 2011. It was also crowned Best Film by the Australian Academy. Although The Sapphires is a sort of Aboriginal Dreamgirls that could tune up awards heat, Harvey Weinstein told Deadline’s Pete Hammond in Cannes that he doesn’t see it following in the Oscar dancesteps of The Artist. Rather, he said the film was an entertaining comedy-musical he hopes will draw good word of mouth and turn out to be a sleeper hit. Directed by Wayne Blair, it’s based on the true story of four singers from the Outback who entertained U.S. troops in Vietnam in 1968. Chris O’Dowd co-stars. The Weinstein Co. acquired worldwide rights to The Sapphires, with the exclusion of the UK & Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, Israel, and Portugal. There’s no date yet for the U.S.
Here’s a clip from The Sapphires, the Australian movie to which The Weinstein Company acquired global distribution rights (except for a handful of territories) as the Cannes Film Festival got under way:
May 15, 2012 – New York, NY – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that they have acquired from Goalpost Film worldwide rights, with the exception of the UK & Ireland, Australia, New Zealand, France, Canada, Israel, Portugal and airlines, to THE SAPPHIRES. The film, directed by acclaimed Aboriginal actor and theater director Wayne Blair, stars funnyman Chris O’Dowd (BRIDESMAIDS, FRIENDS WITH KIDS), Deborah Mailman (RADIANCE, OFFSPRING), who was the first Aboriginal actress to win the AFI Award for Best Actress, Jessica Mauboy (BRAN NUE DAE), an Australian pop artist who was the runner-up on Australian Idol in 2006 and breakout stars Shari Sebbens and Miranda Tapsell. The screenplay was written by Aboriginal playwright Tony Briggs, whose mother and family members were part of The Sapphires group, and Keith Thompson. Warwick Thornton, previous winner of the Camera d’Or at the Cannes Film Festival for SAMSON AND DELILAH, is the film’s Director of Photography. The announcement was made today by TWC Co-Chairman Harvey Weinstein, COO David Glasser, and Co-SVPs of Acquisitions Negeen Yazdi and Dan Guando.
BEVERLY HILLS, CA — Seventy-five songs from eligible feature-length motion pictures released in 2013 are in contention for nominations in the Original Song category for the 86th Oscars®, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today.
The original songs, along with the motion picture in which each song is featured, are listed below in alphabetical order by film title and song title:
James Franco and Chris O’Dowd have signed on to make their Broadway debuts in Of Mice And Men, the first new production of the John Steinbeck novel in 40 years. It will be directed by Anna D. Shapiro, who won the Tony for August: Osage County. Franco, who has now tried just about every outlet an actor can try, will play George, while The Sapphires star O’Dowd will play Lennie. The play will be staged at the Longacre Theatre with previews starting March 19. It officially opens April 16 and will run through July 27. They’ll start selling tickets January 11. David Binder is producing Of Mice And Men with Darren Bagert, Kate Lear and Barbara Whitman.
Joss Whedon‘s Much Ado About Nothing clearly ruled the Specialty Box Office this weekend. Opening in 5 theaters, the Roadside/Lionsgate release gave the 4-century-old play some 21st century adulation, grossing over $183K in 5 theaters for a $36,680 average. Whedon broke box office records last year with The Avengers and will likely do so again with his second round with the franchise, but the versatile filmmaker has clearly shown his filmmaking chops outside the big summer tentpole. Sundance Selects debuted its timely Dirty Wars in 4 runs, also opening solid. The distributor said it played sold out shows in all venues and called the launch a “promising start.” This weekend’s limited release newcomers were plentiful, though most others opened soft at best. Oz pic Wish You Were Here bowed in 11 theaters, averaging $2,338, while Kino Lorber’s You Ain’t Seen Nothin’ Yet opened in two locations, averaging $3,500. Cinedigm’s Violet & Daisy, meanwhile, debuted in 17 locations, with a very slight $602 average, taking in over $10K. The film will move into the top ten markets next weekend. Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline specialty film contributor:
Zeitgeist Films’ Hannah Arendt and Fox Searchlight’s The East bowed strong over the weekend, reigning atop a half dozen newcomers among the Specialties. In one theater, Arendt grossed a hefty $31K, bringing its five day take to $45,502 (the film opened Wednesday), while Searchlight opened The East in four locations, taking in $75,628 for a $18,907 PSA. Also opening with some gusto was CBS Films’ The Kings Of Summer. The Sundance debut features a little-known cast, but managed a $58K weekend gross for a $14,500 average. Magnolia’s Shadow Dancer opened comparatively more mild with $10,200 in a pair of locations, while Variance’s The History Of Future Folk took in $6,100 from one run. Related:Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The East’, ‘The History Of Future Folk’, ‘Hannah Arendt’, ‘The Kings Of Summer’
NEW Axe Giant: The Wrath Of Paul Bunyan (Cinema Purgatorio) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $770 The East (Fox Searchlight) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $75,628, Average $18,907 Hannah Arendt (Zeitgeist Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $31K, Cume $45,502 (Wed Opening) The History Of Future Folk (Variance Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $6,100 The Kings Of Summer (CBS Films) NEW [4 Theaters] Weekend $58K, Average $14,500 Shadow Dancer (Magnolia Pictures) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $10,200, Average $5,100
Returning / 2nd Weekend Before Midnight (Sony Classics) Week 2 [5 Theaters] Wkd $430,542, … Read More »
UPDATE 2:00 PM:Sony Pictures Classics‘ Before Midnight has struck box office gold Memorial Day weekend. The start of the summer 2013 blockbuster season will be for Fast & Furious 6 to celebrate, but Midnight clearly resonated with audiences searching for an alternative. The film, directed by Richard Linklater, opened in 5 theaters grossing $321,914 and averaging $64,383. In 2004, Warner Independent debuted Before Sunset in 20 theaters, averaging $10,971. That film went on to gross $5.82 million domestically. “We think the reputation of this film stands on its own whether you’ve seen those or not,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker. “So it has the benefit of being related to those films, but it also has the benefit of being the finest of the three.” SPC will take Before Midnight wide June 14th. In other openers, Sony Classics also opened Fill The Void in three locations. That film took in $79,164, averaging a solid $26,388.
Last weekend’s specialty box office winnerFrances Ha held steady in its second weekend. IFC Films added 56 theaters in its second weekend of release, grossing $708,000 for a $11,800 average. Noted IFC Films: “Frances Ha expanded to the top 20 markets to fantastic results this Memorial Day weekend. Initial runs remained very strong with minimal drops signifying the comedy’s positive word of mouth. The new markets were also excellent buoyed by phenomenal reviews (93% on Rotten Tomatoes) and an extensive advanced screening program. Frances Ha will continue its aggressive platform release as the film will open the top 50 markets this weekend.” Read More »
With the market officially wrapped, the deal pace has slowed to a crawl and the focus turns back to the movies. That’s after a week of international sales on some key titles and a few high-profile domestic deals in an environment that nevertheless was marked by caution. Oftentimes as Cannes is about to start, there are splashy announcements of domestic pick-ups on fest-related movies and that helps set the pace. In 2011, The Weinstein Co. acquired The Artist before the curtain lifted. Last year, it grabbed The Sapphires and Sony Pictures Classics bought Susanne Bier’s Love Is All You Need on Day One. This year, there were no eve-of-the-fest acquisitions on titles that are in official selection (although Warner Bros. moved in on Ryan Gosling’s How To Catch A Monster which is currently shooting and Lionsgate arrived in town having taken the upcoming The Quiet Ones). Ultimately, U.S. buyers that I spoke with ahead of the fest said they would be opportunistic, but cautious. “Everyone goes in very carefully,” Sony Classics’ Tom Bernard told me. “There’s a lot of pushback in the ancillary areas so when you’re spending money, you have to spend it wisely.”
Foreign sellers say there’s a shift in the balance of key territories. China, Russia, Brazil, the Middle East and even India – which has such a massive local box office – are becoming “significant pieces of the puzzle.” Spain and Italy remain the places that make sellers misty given the economic crises there. Rai, however, did pick up The Gunman starring Sean Penn in what was a notable buy for the company. That movie virtually sold out for Studiocanal. Read More »
IFC Films‘ Frances Hahad the last laugh this weekend, opening solid in a pair of theaters each in New York and Los Angeles. The critically well-received feature directed by Noah Baumbach and starring Greta Gerwig grossed $134K, averaging $33,500. It came fairly close to his last feature, Greenberg, which averaged $39,384 when it opened in March 2010 in three locations. But that film, which also starred Gerwig, also included Ben Stiller, Jennifer Jason Leigh and Juno Temple. Frances Ha inched out Baumbach’s acclaimed 2005 Best Screenplay Oscar-nominated The Squid And The Whale in terms of first weekend PSA. That film opened in four runs, averaging $32,461. Frances Ha‘s fellow newcomers, however did not fare nearly as well. Read More »