FilmDistrict scored on the specialty side this weekend with a solid $11K-plus average with Safety Not Guaranteed. The movie grossed $100K across 9 locations. FilmDistrict distribution president Jim Orr said, “Safety Not Guaranteed opened very close to what we expected, though the increase on Saturday from Friday was higher than we anticipated which we think reflects the great word of mouth that this picture will enjoy. We expand Safety into a total of 17 markets and close to 50 theater on the 15th, then expand into a total of 37 markets on the 22nd and roughly 120 theaters.”
Related: HOT WEEKEND! Both ‘Madagascar 3′ And ‘Prometheus’ On Fire For $59.6M/$49.5M
Todd Solondz has long been a favorite of a certain kind of movie lover. His last film, Life During Wartime opened in one theater with just over $30K its opening weekend in 2010 and for comparison sake, Palindromes (2005) averaged a bit over $8K in its opener in seven theaters. His latest, Dark Horse, came in ‘asi-asi’, or just fine for the uninitiated, with $15K in one location. “We are extremely proud of the weekend numbers for Dark Horse,” said Ruth Vitale, who is spearheading Brainstorm Media’s entry into theatrical. “Todd Solondz is one of the definitive voices in independent cinema, and the combined teams of Brainstorm, Double Hope Films, and Vitagraph have all contributed to his latest film’s success.”
Focus Features added 80 locations for their Wes Anderson-directed Moonrise Kingdom in its third weekend, the Cannes 2012 opener grossed just under $1.6M for a $16,443 average. And even better is the fact that the feature landed in the big box office top 10. Read More »
Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions grabbed North American rights to Bel Ami, the Protagonist Pictures drama that stars Robert Pattinson, Uma Thurman, Kristin Scott Thomas and Christina Ricci. Pattinson plays penniless ex-soldier Georges Duroy, who rises to power in Paris with ambition, power and seduction. Rachel Bennett adapted the Guy de Maupassant novel and Declan Donnellan and Nick Ormerod directed. Uberto Pasolini produced and Simon Fuller is exec producer.
Total amount spent on UK feature films fell to £643 million (982 million) in the first six months of 2010. This compares with £726 million between January and June last year. The £643 million figure is still the second highest on record after 2009 though, driven mainly by Hollywood movies shooting over here. Big-budget movies using British studios included the latest Harry Potter and Pirates franchises, plus John Carter of Mars.
Production volume fell by 15% overall in the first six months, with 51 movies shooting (60 in first-half 2009). And indigenous production has been badly hit, down 22%. Twenty nine home-grown productions have cranked up so far in 2010 compared with 37 in 2009. Total UK independent investment (including co-pros) has fallen by 21% to £80 million. Indie British films that have shot so far in 2010 include Burke & Hare, The Great Ghost Rescue and Bel Ami.
The amount spent on home-grown UK films also fell by 18% last year to £169.2 million, according to the latest UK Film Council figures. But that was counterbalanced by some big Hollywood movies shooting in Britain, including the next Harry Potter and Inception. Inward investment more than doubled last year to £753 million. Co-production investment fell by 28% to £35 million. Overall total UK production spend was £957 million compared with £613 million in 2008 – a rise of 56%.
Domestic production volume fell slightly from 77 to 71 features last year. The number of … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The sales agent has closed a multi-million dollar facility it wants to use for bigger films. Protagonist can use the money for either minimum guarantees or development funding. It’s already eyeing one ambitious yet-to-be-announced Film4 project. Protagonist was set up in January 2008 to sell films backed by Film4, Vertigo Films and financier Ingenious.
Broadly speaking, Protagonist handles two or three films a year from Film4. At the moment it is selling Submarine, currently in post-production, and Tyrannosaur, the directorial debut of actor Paddy Considine.
Its slate includes Bel Ami, starring Robert Pattinson, which came through its relationship with Ingenious and executive producer American Idol creator Simon Fuller. Bel Ami has sold everywhere apart from North America, Spain and Japan. Ingenious, co-financier of Avatar, is financing fewer independent films these days. Partly this is because the way UK tax rules work means that investors have to spend a minimum 10 hours a week producing projects. Roberts says Protagonist can still take films to Ingenious to cash-flow pre-sales though.
And it has just taken on Snowtown, the grisly true story of a serial killing family, which starts filming in Australia this summer. This is a co-production between Warp X Australia – the Oz offshoot of the UK label — and Screen Australia.
Roberts says: “There are too many sales agents chasing too few projects. The hardest thing about establishing a new company such as Protagonist is establishing your reputation with banks.”
On the Vertigo side, it is starting pre-sales on its Streetdance 3D sequel. The … Read More »