OPENING: X-Men: Days of Future Past (FOX), bows spectacularly in 118 markets at $172M and No. 1 in every market; is now at $193.7M thru Monday; Blended (WB) opening in 6 markets, including the UK/Ireland and Germany; Godzilla grabs another $35M in its second weekend. Grace Of Monaco opens in Russia and Her rolls out in Korea; The Grand Budapest Hotel crosses $100M with a worldwide total of about $157M; Frozen skates into the record books again.
4th UPDATE, TUESDAY, 2:33 PM: Final and updated weekend numbers are in. Neighbors and Godzilla both did better than expected. The freshest number for Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is $193.7M through yesterday, which brings its worldwide total up to $304M. It’s on 24,378 screens and in 118 territories. Included in this write-thru are updates on X-Men, Godzilla, Grace of Monaco, Spanish Affairs — which is back in its No. 1 slot in Spain (13 weeks!) — Her and Million Dollar Arm. Just added The Other Woman, The Grand Budapest Hotel and Rio 2 to bring all numbers up to date. More updates to come throughout the evening, like Divergent Transcendence which just arrived late from Lionsgate. My colleague, Nancy Tartaglione, will be back next weekend and will do territory-by-territory breakdowns instead of picture by picture.
Related: BOX OFFICE: ‘X-Men’ $111 Opening is Top Five Best Ever Memorial Day Debuts; ‘Blended’ Softer Than Expected; ‘Godzilla’ Takes 67% Hit; ‘Neighbors’ Nears $117M
Opening Next Weekend: The Angelina Jolie-starring Disney title Maleficent day-and-date with the U.S. in 50 markets; Seth MacFarlane’s Western spoof A Million Ways To Die In The West in 22 territories, including the UK/Ireland, Germany and Australia. His previous pic, 2012′s Ted, did well in those three territories (and Japan), so it’s no wonder Uni is releasing in the same markets to kick off its international release.
3rd UPDATE, MONDAY, 12:19 PM: Warner Bros/Legendary Pictures’ Godzilla did better than expected overall, and its weekend international cume in 64 markets is now $35M. 20th Century Fox’s X-Men: Days of Future Past is now up to $302M worldwide with a four-day U.S. Memorial Day holiday estimated gross of $111M. The seventh film in the franchise had a three-day take of $91.4M which includes Thursday late night grosses (started at 7 p.m.) of $8.1M.
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Oscar-winning composer Michael Giacchino (The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Cars 2, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol, Star Trek, Super 8, Star Trek Into Darkness) has signed on to score Universal’s 2015 dino blockbuster Jurassic World.
In 2010 Giacchino added an Academy Award win for his Up score to his nomination for 2007′s Ratatouille. He’s also garnered an Emmy, a BAFTA, a Golden Globe, two Grammys, and numerous other awards over the course of a prolific career that began in video games and took off with his work on JJ Abrams‘ Alias and LOST. His all-new Jurassic World score will weave in iconic themes from John Williams’ classic Jurassic Park score, similar to what he did with the music for Abrams’ Star Trek and Star Trek: Into Darkness. Read More »
César winning French actor Omar Sy, who’s bulked up his Hollywood resumé since his star turn in French mega-hit The Intouchables, has added another high-profile title to the list. Sy is joining the cast of Universal franchise reboot Jurassic World. He tweeted this morning, both in French and in English, that he was a “fan of this saga from the beginning” and is “very proud to be part of the cast for Jurassic World.” The 3D pic is helmed by Colin Trevorrow, who also tweeted (in French) that he was “very happy to welcome” the actor. Sy’s French agent confirmed the casting, although details of his role have yet to be divulged. Jurassic World stars Chris Pratt, Bryce Dallas Howard, Vincent D’Onofrio, Jake Johnson and Irrfan Khan. Trevorrow wrote the screenplay with Derek Connolly. Steven Spielberg, Frank Marshall and Pat Crowley are producing. It’s set for release on June 12, 2015. Sy is next up in X Men: Days Of Future Past and is lined up for Stephen Gaghan’s Candy Store. He’ll be seen in the fall in Intouchables directors Eric Toledano and Olivier Nakache’s French-language Samba which Gaumont releases locally on October 22. Sy is repped by Agence Adequat in France and by CAA.
‘Gone With The Bullets’ Sets China Release Date
Jiang Wen’s Gone With The Bullets has secured a December 18 release date in China. The film is the follow-up to Jiang’s blockbuster Let The Bullets Fly, which made $140M worldwide in 2010. Based on a true story, 3D comedy Gone With The Bullets is set in 1920s Shanghai. Ma Zouri (Jiang Wen) and Xiang Feitian (Ge You) establish a notorious beauty pageant called the Flowers Competition. All of the city’s elite attend the gala event, but when an unexpected winner is crowned, it sets into motion a series of tragic events that change their destinies. Per FilmBizAsia, Jiang’s Buyilehu Film told local media that it hopes the title will represent China at the Oscars next year. The film will be handled internationally by Sony Pictures Releasing International. December is a hot time locally for Chinese films with U.S. movies often out of the frame. FBA says other films believed to be eyeing a December release include Tsui Hark’s The Taking Of Tiger Mountain, Jean-Jacques Annaud’s Wolf Totem and Chen Kaige’s Taoist Mountain. Read More »
UPDATE, 3:00 PM PT: This was a big night for Guillaume Gallienne’s Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table! The Gaumont-backed comedy led the night with 10 nominations coming in and picked up five key prizes: Best Film, Best Debut Feature, Best Actor, Best Adapted Screenplay and Best Editing. It was heavily favored, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t a bunch of surprises in the mix. Blue Is The Warmest Color walked away nearly empty-handed, taking only the Best Female Newcomer prize for Adèle Exarchopoulos. On accepting, she thanked director Abdellatif Kechiche, who was not present at the ceremony. She also called co-star Léa Seydoux, “My most beautiful love story… on film.” Seydoux ultimately lost out on the Best Actress trophy to 9 Mois Ferme‘s Sandrine Kiberlain. That film won one other prize, for director and co-star Albert Dupontel’s original screenplay. Also notable is Roman Polanski‘s win as Best Director for Venus In Fur. The helmer was visibly surprised, “I really, really didn’t expect this,” he said in his very concise thank yous.
Gallienne’s Les Garçons is a virtual one-man show that also stars and is written by the director. In the autobiographical coming-of-age tale, he plays the two lead roles — himself and his mother, a woman for whom his love is boundless and by whom he has always … Read More »
UPDATE, 3:48 AM, PST: Gaumont’s local comedy Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table!, which enjoyed a strong run at the French box office in 2013, bested all comers to lead the nominations for France’s César Awards this morning in Paris. The debut feature by Guillaume Gallienne is a virtual one-man show that also stars and is written by the helmer. In the autobiographical coming-of-age tale, he plays the two lead roles — himself and his mother, a woman for whom his love is boundless and by whom he has always been treated as the daughter she never had. It debuted in Cannes Directors’ Fortnight this year where it was a prize winner. Gallienne, who hails from the venerable Comédie Française, adapted the film (see trailer here) from his own stage show. The movie is nominated in 10 categories including Film, Director, Debut Feature, Actor and Adapted Screenplay. Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color follows with eight nominations including Best Film, Director, Actress (Léa Seydoux) and Female Newcomer (Adèle Exarchopoulos). Also scoring eight nods, including Best Film, is another Cannes entry, Stranger By The Lake, a movie that was met with controversy when it was released in France in June and saw its ad campaign pulled in two Parisian suburbs. The film is a gay-themed, sexually explicit thriller … Read More »
UPDATE: WEDNESDAY 3:58 PM: I’ve earlier reported strong international numbers for The Wolf Of Wall Street based on the several territories where Universal is handling the film with all No. 1s across the board. But this is a movie that also has a lot of independent distributors around the world. Wolf backer Red Granite now has chimed in with its latest figure for the ex-U.S. cume, including Universal’s patch, and it’s an impressive $74.7M from 52 territories (for those keeping score, that’s 1,245 times what Jonah Hill says his payday was for the film). Domestic, the movie is at about $91M and notably, Wolf‘s strongest overseas market to date by far is France. It’s released there by the Hadida brothers’ Metropolitan Filmexport. The French take according to the latest numbers I have is $21.17M. Although it opened on Christmas Day in France, it has taken more than half of its 2.4M admissions in 2014 and had a drop of only 12% in its 4th week that ended January 21. In the UK, the movie took an impressive $7.5M in its opening this past weekend; there it’s rated 18 which is basically an NC-17, and in France, where the ratings board tends to take sex scenes with less issue, it’s rated so that anyone over 12 can be admitted. That’s a lot of Leonardo DiCaprio fans. There’s for sure heat on this movie given the controversies surrounding it, but as I’m often told — and as I have experienced over 20 years here — a director’s name means a helluva a lot, and coupled with a major star, in a country of cinephiles like France it’s not surprising that they are lapping up this latest. Outside France and the strong Universal territories noted below, The Wolf Of Wall Street is also hot in Belgium ($2.49M) Holland ($3.56M) and Poland ($3.58M) as of the latest figures.
Related: Jonah Hill Says He Was Paid Only $60,000 For ‘The Wolf Of Wall Street’
UPDATE, WEDNESDAY 9:51 AM PT: With Universal’s final figures in for The Wolf Of Wall Street overseas this past weekend, the international cume from its territories is now $28.5M. Actuals were a touch off in the UK ($7.5M vs an estimated $7.6M), but higher than expected in Germany, Spain, Austria and German-speaking Switerland. In other Universal news, 47 Ronin has been having a strong run in Russia despite its underperformance elsewhere. In its 3rd frame there this weekend, the film placed No. 3 and broke the $25M barrier. Fox’s The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty also had a better than previously estimated weekend, with an international cume to date of $106.2M. And the heavily Oscar-nominated 12 Years A Slave added $7.62M for an international take of $23.92M and a worldwide haul of $64.2M. It’s currently playing in 21 international markets with Belgium and France opening today. The first 2 PM showing in Paris this afternoon sold 2,400 tickets on 32 screens, outperforming Hayao Miyazaki’s Oscar-nominated The Wind Rises and Stallone/De Niro vehicle Grudge Match. The Martin Luther King holiday slowed the release of some final international weekend figures, but numbers have been updated as they’ve come in below: Read More »
British Film Institute Strengthening Industry’s Ties To China
In December, British Prime Minister David Cameron visited China on a mission to strengthen ties across many sectors, the film industry among them. During the trip, an agreement was made in principle to support the conclusion of a UK-China co-production treaty. The British Film Institute is now moving forward with further plans to increase its relationship with the world’s No. 2 box office market. The new initiative is going by the moniker Electric Shadows — the Chinese term for movies. The program will encompass a year of business, trade, and creative and cultural collaborations between the UK and China and is designed to grow mutual economic and cultural benefits for film from both countries. Part of the aim is to bring previously difficult-to-access Chinese cinema to UK audiences and, in turn, to make British cinema available to Chinese audiences. The moves fall in line with the BFI’s International Strategy, in which China is a key priority territory. In February, Personal Tailor and Back To 1942 director Feng Xiaogang will visit the UK to accompany a retrospective of his work, a gala screening of Back To 1942 and to be interviewed about his career at BFI Southbank. The BFI and the British Council also will work closely with the Beijing International Film Festival in April to lead a trade delegation and present British films at the event. From June through October, the BFI will stage an exploration of Chinese cinema in the UK, and in the fall, a selection of contemporary and classic British film will be shown in Beijing. Read More »
What does Wong Kar Wai have to do to get an Oscar nomination? The veteran Hong Kong filmmaker was shut out of the Foreign Language Oscar category today after reaching the shortlist for the first time with The Grandmaster. His only other shot at an Oscar came in 2000 when his haunting period love story, In The Mood For Love, was the submission from his home country. It did not advance. To be fair, Grandmaster did pick up two nods today, one for Phillipe Le Sourd’s cinematography and one for William Chang Suk Ping’s costume design. But the Academy chose to forgo the Martin Scorsese-endorsed film in a race in which it was widely expected to figure.
Related: OSCARS: Who Got Snubbed By Academy?
Indeed, people I talked to today were very surprised. When I recently spoke with Harvey Weinstein, whose Weinstein Co has the movie in several countries, I wondered if The Grandmaster‘s box office could be an issue since it was the highest-grossing film of all the contenders, and since commercial movies aren’t normally the ones the Academy sidles up to in this category. It’s familiar territory for Weinstein who was on the shortlist with French juggernaut The Intouchables last year. That film did not make the jump to a nomination and Weinstein told me in December that it had been a victim of its own success. One watcher today suggested Grandmaster may have suffered a similar fate. There was also a spot of controversy over the Chinese version being cut down for the U.S. – although the U.S. version is the same as the one submitted by Hong Kong. Weinstein told me last month that the adjustments were made to avoid confusion over some cultural elements and that Wong did them himself, rather than Weinstein and exec producer Megan Ellison as had been suggested. “People think it was us,” Weinstein said, adding, “As presumptuous as I can be, I’m not presumptuous enough to tell Kar Wai” what to do.
Related: Foreign Language Preview: A Long List Of Contenders For Such A Short List Read More »
UPDATED Monday, 4:15 PM: Most grosses have been updated below as distributors have been reporting new numbers today. We’ll be updating as we receive them.
There were a handful of milestones at the international box office this weekend amongst studio pics, although total overseas grosses were down around 21% on the comparable year-ago frame when Life Of Pi was the top film. This year, Warner Bros‘ The Hobbit: The Desolation Of Smaug crossed the $500M mark internationally, adding $58.2M in 62 markets, on par with the first Hobbit in terms of weekend take. Smaug has been the top movie overseas since release and has an estimated overseas cume of $527M with continued No. 1s in Germany, Australia and the UK. Its domestic take is $229M for a total of about $766M worldwide. Two big markets to come for the film are China on February 21st and Japan on February 28th, although the latter is showing weaker returns for Hollywood fare overall. Disney‘s Frozen surpassed $600M globally this weekend to make it the highest-grossing Disney Animation release of all time behind The Lion King. Frozen added $55.7M and now has an international cume of $343.9M. Combined with the domestic gross, its estimated global cume is $639.6M. In another watershed, Lionsgate‘s The Escape Plan … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: A week before Sundance, Tom Ortenberg’s Open Road Films is strengthening its film acquisition team by hiring Peter Lawson and giving him the newly created title of executive vice president of Productions and Acquisitions. Lawson is a top-flight acquisitions exec who served stints most recently at The Weinstein Company and before that Miramax. He left to get a taste of production experience in big-sized studio films by joining Basil Iwanyk’s Thunder Road as production president.
After two years, I’m hearing that he has shaken up his career GPS and is taking the exit from Thunder Road onto Open Road. Before he left TWC, Lawson worked on such films as the John Hillcoat-directed Lawless, The Iron Lady, The Company Men, Blue Valentine, The Intouchables and the docus Undefeated, Bully and The Tillman Story. At Miramax, his acquisition deals included The Diving Bell And The Butterfly. Before that at First Look Pictures, he bought Chopper and Hillcoat’s The Proposition.
Lawson takes the job after wrapping the Keanu Reeves-starrer John Wick, on which he is exec producer for Thunder Road. There, he set up remakes of the French organized crime thriller Gang Story, the French crime thriller 36 and an Arash Amel-scripted film about Marie Colvin based on the Marie Brenner Vanity Fair article. Awaiting confirmation from Open Road but expect Lawson to once again be a familiar face in Park City.
The UK emerged in 2013 as an increasingly attractive location destination with new and expanded tax credits – but can it stand the bulge? Hollywood has cozied up to Britain, not only bringing its films there to shoot, but now its TV programs while it also continues to plumb it as a source of original drama to be remade in the U.S. Across the Channel, after a wake-up call in the waning days of 2012 by France‘s influential Vincent Maraval of Wild Bunch, the local industry spent 2013 debating its rich subsidy system that’s spent big (too big?) on talent. Germany‘s local share of the box office is expected to be down for 2013, only slightly, but it’s been fertile ground for the studios working in local language. Meanwhile, Olympics host Russia is seeing its star rise while Italy and Spain are still undergoing financial woes. And yet, nothing seems rotten in the state of Denmark where the box office is top heavy with local films and a new drama series could be the Danes’ answer to Downton Abbey. Here’s a look back at 2013 and some glimpses of what 2014 may hold:
The British government has strongly backed the film and television business by increasing tax breaks this year. But in so doing, has it backed the industry into a corner? Arguably one of the biggest stories out of the UK in … Read More »
Last year, I offered up a preview of the 15 films that had the most buzz going into the unveiling of the Foreign Language Oscar shortlist. Somehow this year, with a record 76 entries (last year it was 71), I whittled down another 15 films that have a shot at the shortlist which is expected to be finalized later this week. This was not an easy task in one of the strongest fields for foreign film in recent years. While 2012′s eventual winner Amour seemed like a foregone conclusion, this year has any number of possible outcomes. Movies that started their careers in Berlin and Cannes are represented below, but so are others that didn’t make it to those high-profile events. I spoke with the directors of each film about their inspirations and expectations, and in some cases with the U.S. distributor about what gave them the confidence to acquire. Notably, Harvey Weinstein clarifies the controversy surrounding an edit of Wong Kar Wai’s Hong Kong entry The Grandmaster. There’s also a lot more here from folks like Paolo Sorrentino, Thomas Vinterberg and Sebastian Lelio, among many others. The rules for selecting the final winner have changed this year with the entire Academy voting body able to weigh in without proving they have seen the films in a movie theater. But the regs for establishing the shortlist remain the same: The Phase I committee determines six of the nine films on the shortlist. The other three titles will be determined by the select Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee. Those three extra titles might have international renown but been somehow overlooked by the larger committee (wink, wink City Of God, 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days and others). After that, an uber-committee of 30 higher profile members chooses the ultimate five nominees after viewing the finalists over the course of a long weekend. Below (in alphabetical order by title) are profiles of the 15 films that I believe have a shot at the first stage: Read More »
UPDATE: TUESDAY PM: Welcome to Deadline’s first dedicated international box office round-up, with me as your host. After last night’s snapshot (below), here’s a look at the past weekend and an overview of what’s going on at the turnstiles in various overseas territories. Feedback, as always, is appreciated:
Internationally, this weekend was down on the comparable frame last year when films like Skyfall, Rise Of The Guardians and The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 2 were in the mix. The top 10 titles this weekend saw a drop to about $118M from the Thanksgiving period that scored abroad with $182.7M, according to industry data. The actual holiday isn’t a factor overseas, but it does bring big movies to market. Overall, some European territories are off – to varying degrees – versus the first 11 months of 2012, while Latin America and Asia remain hot spots. This weekend’s big pictures overseas continued to be Lionsgate’s The Hunger Games: Catching Fire which added $42.9M for a $340.6M cume and Disney’s animated Frozen which added an estimated $30.6M for an international total of $55.9M.
The place that’s highest on execs’ minds is China where “we’re all looking forward to a boom,” one tells me. Catching Fire and Warner Bros’ Gravity are still playing on the Mainland with respective cumes of $26.8M and $63.7M. But both films will taper off as the local industry ramps up a series of homegrown movies for the remainder of December. With quotas filled for 2013, Hollywood will wait until 2014 for the next debut which will be Universal’s Despicable Me 2 on January 10th. As the Chinese box office rolls along on its way to a potential $3.5B tally for 2013, the current top film is local 2D action-road trip pic No Man’s Land. Co-produced by DMG, it opened at No. 1 on December 3rd and won the week with $23.7M through Monday. It came just ahead of another local hit, The Four 2. The rest of the year will see a big push for local films as the territory continues an aim to up its local market share, which is currently at 55%.
Elsewhere in Asia, romantic comedy About Time had a strong No. 1 opening in Korea this weekend with $4M at 289 dates and 28% of the market. Director Richard Curtis has said this would be the last film he helms. It comes squarely 10 years after the movie he’s perhaps most associated with directing, Love Actually. About Time’s opening in Korea is double what that film did there. The low-budget time travel romcom with Rachel McAdams, Domnhall Gleeson and Bill Nighy has had pretty significant legs for Universal. It was first released in the UK in September and now has a cume of $48.3M. Summit’s Escape Plan – the actioner that teams Sylvester Stallone and Arnold Schwarzenegger – has now muscled its way into 41 international markets, adding Korea this weekend for $925K and a No. 5 slot on 287 screens. Its international total is now $95.9M out of a worldwide gross of $120.5M. This was a slow weekend for local films in Korea despite the territory’s overall strength. Its box office growth in the first 11 months of the year is understood to be at about 7.6% and I’m told the homegrown market share could top out at 60%. Read More »
There was a helping of good news for the French box office on Wednesday when local comedy Les Garçons Et Guillaume, A Table! (Me, Myself And Mum) sold 69,342 tickets to become the strongest debut of the week. It also had the fifth best opening (79,636 admissions including previews) of any French film in 2013. The French box office has had a rough year of it so far: Overall admissions are down 5.5% and French market share has dropped from 42.9% to 32.3%, according to the latest figures from local watchdog the CNC. It looks likely that when January 1st rolls around, there will be only one French film (comedy Les Profs) amongst the top 10 of the past 12 months. That’s a rare occurrence indeed after 2012 closed with three French titles in the top 10 and 2011 boasted not only the No. 1 and No. 2 overall films – The Intouchables and Rien A Déclarer – but also the Oscar-winning The Artist. This year, Intouchables studio Gaumont has Les Garçons, giving it something to crow about after the disappointment of Jean-Pierre Jeunet’s The Young And Prodigious Mr Spivet. Les Garçons is a virtual one-man show that is written and directed by Guillaume Gallienne in his helming debut. He also plays the two lead roles. It debuted in Cannes’ Directors’ Fortnight this year where it was a prize winner. Gallienne, who hails from … Read More »
‘Intouchables’ Helmers Set To Begin Production On ‘Samba’
The Intouchables helmers Eric Tolédano and Olivier Nakache will begin shooting their next film, Samba, at the end of October. Omar Sy, Best Actor César winner for Intouchables, stars in the social comedy alongside Charlotte Gainsbourg (Nymphomaniac, Melancholia), Tahar Rahim (The Past, A Prophet) and Izya Higelin. French major Gaumont is co-producing with Intouchables‘ Quad Productions. Gaumont will handle French distribution and sell the film internationally as it did with Tolédano and Nakache’s 2011 mega box office hit. Delivery is expected at the end of 2014. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The Emmys aren’t even over yet, but the race to be the first movie awards DVD screener of 2013 to land in Oscar voters’ mailboxes is over. And the winner is…..Mud. The Roadside Attractions (with Lionsgate) late April release starring Matthew McConaughey has been sent to all Academy members with some reporting they received it yesterday. The Blu-Ray/DVD came out in early August and at that time Roadside sent it to some bloggers who confused the issue by saying it was then the first Oscar screener to be sent. Of course Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences rules are very clear in this regard and commercial Blu Ray/DVDs cannot be sent to Academy members as part of a campaign. It must be special, generally very plain, packaging without review quotes etc. That is what Academy members are receiving this weekend.
The Jeff Nichols-directed movie is one of the top independent releases of 2013 earning over $21 million at the box office. In fact until Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine surpassed it recently, it was the number one indie. Roadside picked up the film in August 2012 but held it for a Spring launch rather than rushing it out to compete in last year’s Oscar race. The distributor hopes Oscar voters will remember the film, which played in the 2012 Cannes Official Competition, and by getting the screener out first knows it is already on top of the pile of one for voters who have yet to see it. Being first is a mixed bag as far as ultimate results go. Last year The Weinstein Company sent its French import The Intouchables out as the first screener in Mid-October but it failed to land any nominations. In 2011 Summit won the screener race with an early September mailing of A Better Life and was rewarded for its efforts with a Best Actor nod for Demian Bichir, considered a long shot at the time (Roadside virtually tied for first out that year too with The Music Never Stopped, but it came up empty). Read More »
Yesterday’s announcement that Gilles Bourdos’ period drama Renoir would be France’s entry for the Foreign-Language Oscar race was a bit of a head-scratcher. Once it became clear a few months ago that Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color (aka Adèle: Chapters 1&2) would not be eligible, other possible titles were floated including previous Oscar winner Asghar Farhadi’s The Past. But Renoir was not really on the radar — not the least because it had debuted in a Cannes sidebar in 2012. Academy Foreign Language rules stipulate that a film must be released domestically between October 1st and September 30th and Renoir was a fit because it went out in January this year in France. Blue, however, is not releasing until October 9th, meaning it misses the cut-off. Many have wondered why Wild Bunch, which is distributing Blue in France, would not change the October 9th date to qualify. Company co-founder Vincent Maraval tells me today, “There was never any question for us to modify in any way our release strategy to legitimize the stupidity of the Oscar rules. Should we risk our strategy for France for a Foreign Language Film Oscar which doesn’t add anything to a Palme d’Or?” He contends that the Foreign Language Oscar “no longer means anything for a film that was crowned in Cannes” and says the rules are “unique, specific and make no sense. At the same time, no one cares about this category. We’re aiming for (Blue) in all categories, the only ones that count.”
Related: OSCARS: Cannes Palme d’Or Winner Ineligible For Foreign Language Category
Of Renoir, which Wild Bunch sold internationally, Maraval says it’s “a perfect film for the Academy: classic, esthetic and cultural in the same vein as (1994 Foreign Language Oscar winner) Belle Epoque or (1991 winner) Mediterraneo. It got rave reviews from U.S. critics and it’s the highest-grossing French film in the U.S. this year with $2.2M. Objectively, it’s the most legitimate candidate.” Read More »