Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Terrence Malick is always an anticipated name among cineastes and his latest, To The Wonder, will undoubtedly be a tour de force among Specialty Releases this weekend. Magnolia Pictures will open the film, which stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem in limited runs. LD Entertainment will bow Disconnect, starring Jason Bateman and Hope Davis, lending more star power to this weekend’s limited release newcomers. Brandon Cronenberg rolls out his directorial debut in Antiviral starring Caleb Landry Jones. The film had its world premiere in Cannes last year. The Angels’ Share, starring newcomer Paul Brannigan, is also set to bow. And Norwegian filmmaker Petter Naess’ Into The White recalls a peculiarity of WWII when British and German military had to fight together for survival in the wilderness.
Terrence Malick’s 2011 release, The Tree Of Life grossed one of the highest opening averages of the year when it bowed in four theaters grossing $372,920 ($93,230 average). The film, however, only went on to make $13.3 million domestically. His latest film, To The Wonder has been called by some as the auteur’s “most accessible” to date. Like Tree Of Life, which had Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain, his latest also boasts star pedigree in the form of Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams. And it has generated excitement among Malick’s legion of cineaste fans. “I think this film fits right in with The Tree Of Life, [though] I think there was a bit of backlash from that one,” Magnolia exec Matt Cowal said. “There was overwhelming critical response, so it [garnered] a backlash. So we wanted to give To The Wonder a bit of time.” Magnolia saw the film out of Toronto where it had its North American debut (following Venice). The distributor decided to give some buffer between the film’s festival appearances and its theatrical start. “I think it’s better outside a festival context and works better on its own,” added Cowal. “It’s sparking an incredible dialog. You can’t expect it to be liked by everyone. Some hate it, some adore it. And that’s expected in a work of art – it’s fascinating.”