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IFP Gotham Award Noms: ‘Bernie,’ ‘Loneliest Planet,’ ‘The Master,’ ‘Middle Of Nowhere’ And ‘Moonrise Kingdom’ Up For Best Picture

By | Thursday October 18, 2012 @ 7:02am PDT
Mike Fleming

New York, NY (October 18, 2012) – The Independent Filmmaker Project (IFP), the nation’s oldest and largest organization of independent filmmakers announced today the nominees for the Gotham Independent Film Awards™. Signaling the kick-off to the film awards season, IFP’s Gotham Independent Film Awards™ nominations were given to a total of 26 films across six competitive categories for Best Feature, Best Documentary, Breakthrough Director, Breakthrough Actor, Best Ensemble Performance, and Best Film Not Playing at a Theater Near You.

The Gotham Awards ceremony will be held on Monday, November 26th at Cipriani Wall Street. In addition to the competitive awards, actors Marion Cotillard and Matt Damon, director David O. Russell, and Participant Media founder Jeff Skoll will each be presented with a career tribute.

As the first major awards ceremony of the film season, the Gotham Independent Film Awards™ provide critical early recognition and media attention to worthy independent films. Previous winners for Best Feature and Best Documentary include BEGINNERS (2011), THE TREE OF LIFE (2011), BETTER THIS WORLD (2011), WINTER’S BONE (2010), THE OATH (2010), THE HURT LOCKER (2009), and FOOD, INC. (2009). The awards are also unique for their ability to assist in catapulting award recipients prominently into national awards season attention, including recent winners and ultimate Oscar® contenders: feature winners BEGINNERS (2011), TREE OF LIFE (2011), WINTER’S BONE (2010) and THE HURT LOCKER (2009); Breakthrough Actors Melissa Leo (2008), Ellen Page (2007), Rinko Kikuchi (2006) and Amy Adams (2005).

The nominations for the 2012 Gotham Independent Film Awards are:

Best Feature

Bernie, Richard Linklater, director; Richard Linklater, Ginger Sledge, Celine Rattray, Martin Shafer, Liz Glotzer, Matt Williams, David McFadzean, Judd Payne, Dete Meserve, producers (Millennium Entertainment)

The Loneliest Planet, Julia Loktev, director; Jay Van Hoy, Lars Knudsen, Helge Albers, Marie Therese Guirgis, producers (Sundance Selects)

The Master, Paul Thomas Anderson, director; Joanne Sellar, Daniel Lupi, Paul Thomas Anderson, Megan Ellison, producers (The Weinstein Company)

Middle of Nowhere, Ava DuVernay, director; Howard Barish, Ava DuVernay, Paul Garnes, producers (AFFRM and Participant Media)

Moonrise Kingdom, Wes Anderson, director; Wes Anderson, Scott Rudin, Steven Rales, Jeremy Dawson, producers (Focus Features)

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Marigold’, ‘Bernie’ Shine As Newcomers Disappoint

By | Sunday May 20, 2012 @ 10:55am PDT

Weekend openers in the specialty arena did not impress once again, taking an unfortunate cue from their studio brethren apart from The Avengers juggernaut. Even so, some holdovers including The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel and Bernie undoubtedly received a champagne santé by their execs today at the (very wet) Cannes Film Festival.

Among specialty newbies, Zeitgeist Films’ Elena led the per-theater race, although it opened at just one location, taking in over $9K. Sony ClassicsHysteria bowed in five theaters, averaging just over $8K, nabbing the second best of the newcomers. More disappointing were Sundance SelectsPolisse, which rolled into three theaters, averaging under $6K, while eOne’s Virginia squeaked out a $1,262 average from five locations.

Pantelion/Lionsgate’s Girl In Progress grossed $460K in its second weekend, down steeply from its debut of $1.35 million in its opener, a gross decline of 67%, while the number of theaters held at 322. Girl averaged $1,429 ($4,193 last week) and has cumed just over $2.1 million. Also in its second weekend, Where Do We Go Now? added nine locations, averaging $2,174 from a $26K gross. In its debut, the film averaged $5,592 from three theaters.

The Best Exotic Marigold HotelNow in its third weekend, Fox Searchlight’s Best Exotic Marigold Hotel took the No. 6 spot in the overall national box office — pretty impressive considering it’s in only 354 theaters. By comparison, The Hunger Games, which is in seventh place (although it’s been in release awhile) remained in 2,064 theaters. With a weekend gross of $3.25 million, Marigold has now cumed $8.2 million. By comparison, last year’s Midnight In Paris had taken in just under $7 million at the same point in release. “Best Exotic Marigold Hotel has started to draw from a wider audience who are interested in a film with interesting characters, a great story, and lots of laughter,” said Frank Rodriguez, Fox Searchlight’s SVP of Distribution. Searchlight will expand the film into 1,100 theaters heading into Memorial Day weekend. Also impressive is Millennium’s Bernie which had a 133% increase in gross over the previous weekend after adding 59 locations. The Richard Linklater-directed feature grossed $511K, averaging $5,380 vs last weekend’s $6,014.


1. Hysteria (Sony Pictures Classics) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $40,829, Average $8,166

2. Polisse (Sundance Selects) NEW [3 Theaters] Weekend $17,680, Average $5,893

3. Elena (Zeitgeist Films) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $9,393

4. Virginia (Entertainment One) NEW [5 Theaters] Weekend $6,311, Average $1,262

5. American Animal (Screen Media) NEW [1 Theaters] Weekend $6K
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Specialty Box Office: ‘Marigold’ Blossoms; ‘Bernie’, ‘Headhunters’ 2nd Weekend Solid

By | Sunday May 6, 2012 @ 1:49pm PDT

And here’s the specialty box office… Congratulations Marvel’s The Avengers, you win. But some people did break away from the mobs to see something different. The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel did a fine job launching in 27 theaters, grossing $750K for a $27,789 average. Pretty darned good all things considered, and only a tad shy of last weekend’s $30K per-theater average for Richard Linklater’s Bernie. The people behind it weren’t shy singing its praises. “Bernie! is a potential crossover hit  best reviews of [Jack] Black’s career. His audience could show up big,” Cinetic’s John Sloss told us. His The Best Exotic Marigold Hotelcompany sold the film to Millennium back in July and he’s still looking out for it on a sunny Sunday. “We’re exceptionally pleased with Bernie’s numbers this second week.” Added Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee, “It’s proving to be a true sleeper hit and continues to sell out a significant number of shows. We grossed more this weekend then we did all of last week by adding only three Texas towns. With the film’s unique sensibility and powerhouse performances we know that audiences will continue to discover Bernie as we expand it across country.”

Sundance Selects threw a nice party Friday night for its dance doc First Position — ahem — and some company execs were outside the Film Society of Lincoln Center’s Elinor Brunin Munroe Theater asking folks what they thought of the film sort of anonymously. Reactions to the movie and they kept looking over to see who might be buying tickets for the next showing (“are they seeing Marley or First?” someone not necessarily from IFC rhetorically asked.) So, it did pretty well, averaging $10,200. Not a shock, the Lincoln Center screenings were pretty packed, downtown not so much but not bad.
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Specialty Box Office: ‘Bernie’ Bows Hot; Others Not So Much; Holdovers OK

Millennium Entertainment scored one of the highest limited release debuts of 2012 in terms of per screen average over the weekend with director Richard Linklater‘s latest feature. Starring Jack Black, Matthew McConaughey and Shirley MacLaine, Bernie bowed with a spectacular $30K average from three locations in New York, Los Angeles and Austin in the final weekend of April. Bernie‘s initial triumph comes as the overall box office plummeted over the weekend. Millennium gushed that the right combination of marketing, publicity and audience approval worked in the film’s favor. “Word of mouth is our friend here, which is the best friend you can have in the movie business,” Millennium’s Andy Gruenberg told Deadline this morning.

“Almost dollar for dollar, New York, Austin and LA were identical. This is an American picture that is an audience pleaser. It’s one of a kind. Jack Black did a tremendous amount of publicity.” The distributor will open Bernie in additional cities in Texas and expand its presence in NYC and L.A. next weekend. The feature, which opened last year’s Los Angeles Film Festival, will jump into the top 20 markets May 18th.

Magnolia Pictures opened crime thriller Headhunters at four theaters, grossing a decent $45K ($11,250 average) while Kino Lorber debuted two films, Elles and Whores’ Glory with more modest results. Elles averaged $4,880 from five locations and Whores’ Glory scraped by with $4,800 from two locations. Fox Searchlight’s … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Jack Black Pic ‘Bernie’ Acquired By Millennium Entertainment

Mike Fleming

Deadline revealed in July that Millennium Entertainment was buying U.S. distribution rights to the Los Angeles Film Festival’s opening film Bernie, the Richard Linklater-directed movie that stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey, for a low-seven-figure minimum guarantee and $1 million P&A commitment. Millennium has finally confirmed the deal. Here’s the official announcement: Read More »

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Millennium Buying ‘Bernie’ With Jack Black

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: A deal is near for Millennium Entertainment to acquire U.S. distribution rights to the Los Angeles Film Festival opening-night pic Bernie. I’m told that it will be the first significant grab for former Film Department co-head Mark Gill since he took the reins of Avi Lerner’s company (UPDATE: reps for the company claim Gill was not involved, though he released Linklater’s Before Sunrise while running Warner Independent, and those reps said the deal was made by  Millennium Entertainment’s Bill Lee and Vincent Scordino). The minimum guarantee will be around $2 million with a P&A commitment of around $1 million and the deal should be done by Monday.

Inspired by a true story, the film stars Jack Black as the title character, an amiable funeral director who kills a rich widow (Shirley MacLaine) and creates a ruse that she’s still alive. Matthew McConaughey also stars in a film that’s directed by Richard Linklater. He directed Black in School of Rock and McConaughey in Dazed and Confused. Pic’s a coproduction between Mandalay Vision and Wind Dancer. Cinetic’s John Sloss and WME Global’s Graham Taylor are making the deal. Another deal is in the offing for Canada, putting the North American rights in the $3 million range. The deal certainly helps the LAFF as a showcase for acquisitions, which always helps a festival seem viable.

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HAMMOND On L.A. Film Festival Opening: Can It Ever Challenge Toronto Or Telluride?

Pete Hammond

Although the Cannes Film Festival just ended three weeks ago, there’s always another film fest around the corner trying to steal its thunder and become part of the cinematic conversation. On Thursday night, the Los Angeles Film Festival, now in its 17th year, opened with the world premiere of the Richard Linklater (School of Rock, Dazed and Confused) comedy Bernie, with stars Jack Black, Shirley MacLaine and Matthew McConaughey joining its writer-director in introducing the film at downtown L.A.’s LA Live Regal Cinemas, where the fest moved last year. Not that it’s easy navigating the Los Angeles freeways at rush hour to get downtown, an off-the-beaten track place to premiere your movie, but the unapologetic black comedy and true-life tale of a small-town undertaker who caters to the much-hated Texas town’s matron until he reaches for a gun was worth the herculean effort navigating the annoying traffic jams and $25 parking fee (I didn’t read the signs carefully) just to see this splendid trio of actors deliver terrific performances backed by a great supporting group of locals who won big laughs throughout.

Bernie is an acquistion title and likely will be snapped up immediately by some enterprising distributor even though it’s not an obvious commercial hit. It is Black’s best work in some time. It could develop a following on the indie circuit though, and it certainly had the crowd (which included well-wishers like Linklater friend Steven Soderbergh and wife Jules Asner) buzzing at the crowded after-party on the L.A. Live parking garage rooftop.

Film Independent (which runs the fest as well as the Spirit Awards) board members I spoke to at the premiere are hopeful Bernie could become the fest’s first big breakout acquisition title, and reps from many indie distribs were in attendance. In fact, the fest delayed announcement of its opening film until after the Cannes festival was over because producers did not want to be inundated with calls about acquiring the film during that market and wanted to wait until it could premiere cold in L.A., a big tribute to the growing clout of LAFF. Read More »

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