A recent, and unsolicited, email from a producer friend of mine demonstrates what a lot of people are saying about this year’s best picture race: “Now this is a year for film! Tremendous. Going to be a fun one, my friend.” It is going to be a fun one. Nearly every Academy member to whom I have spoken seems excited about the level of quality in this year’s race, which is a strong indication that this could be the first year 10 films are nominated since the rules changed to allow a variable number. Just consider what’s already out there in theaters or on Blu-Ray: 12 Years A Slave, Gravity, Captain Phillips, Lee Daniels’ The Butler, Dallas Buyers Club, Blue Jasmine, All Is Lost, Fruitvale Station, Prisoners, Rush, Blue Is The Warmest Color, Before Midnight, Mud and The Place Beyond The Pines.
The fact is, this is a year in which there could be room for 20 films. Consider those yet to open or just opening: Philomena, Saving Mr. Banks, Nebraska, Inside Llewyn Davis, August: Osage County, The Book Thief, Her, Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom, Lone Survivor, Labor Day and The Secret Life Of Walter Mitty. All of those films have played the fest circuit, and most pundits—including this one—already have seen them and can say definitively that it’s a formidable list. Of those yet to be seen by just about anyone outside of rarefied circles are The Wolf Of Wall Street and American Hustle, both December releases expected to be major players in several races.
Related: OSCARS: Fest Circuit A Must For Majors Chasing Award Season Gold
With this kind of lineup, it is no wonder some movies once thought to have awards aspiration—such as Foxcatcher, Grace Of Monaco, The Immigrant and George Clooney’s The Monuments Men—have all opted out. And why not? Read More »
High profile awards contenders had big expansions over the weekend, easily dwarfing the roll outs of lower profile new comers this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s big Oscar hopeful 12 Years A Slave, Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost and Focus Features’ Dallas Buyers Club headed into more theaters and markets with mostly strong results. Searchlight moved 12 Years A Slave into 1,144 theaters, an increase of 734 from the previous week. It grossed $6.6 million in its 4th week of release, averaging $5,769 and placing 7th in the overall box office.
Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost, which had its U.S. debut earlier this month at the New York Film Festival, headed into 401 runs grossing over $1.2 million and averaging $3K. Last week, it grossed nearly $600K in 131 locations. Focus added 26 theaters for Dallas Buyers Club‘s second frame. The film starring Matthew McConaughey held nicely, grossing $629K, averaging almost $18K. Focus noted the film had a 61% increase from Friday to Saturday, which the company touted Sunday morning. “This bump far exceeds the 45% to 50% bump which is the norm for a roll-out,” said a Focus spokesperson. “This big bump on Saturday shows momentum with Saturday’s habitual adult – Boomer, Gen X and sophisticated younger patrons. For the second week in a row, the film over performed on Saturday. Clearly it is connecting with the core adult audience.” Focus added that increases also took place in last week’s theaters as well.
Among newcomers, Sony Classics’ The Armstrong Lie took the weekend’s highest PSA, though from a slight threshold. The Venice and Toronto documentary grossed $30,904, averaging $6,181. This is the second film to head to theaters this year from veteran filmmaker Alex Gibney, whose late May release We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks averaged $6,922 when it bowed in 4 theaters. That film went on to gross over $166K in the U.S. SPC will expand The Armstrong Lie into several additional markets next weekend, while also adding runs in Los Angeles. Read More »
The European Film Academy has unveiled the nominees for the 26th European Film Awards. Felix van Groeningen’s Berlin and Tribeca prize-winner, The Broken Circle Breakdown, leads the pack with five nods in each of the top categories. The film is also Belgium’s entry for the Foreign Language Oscar. Paolo Sorrentino’s Cannes competitor, and Italy’s Oscar entry, The Great Beauty, has four nominations. Another film from Italy, Giuseppe Tornatore’s English-language The Best Offer starring Geoffrey Rush, also fared well with the Academy, taking three nominations. Three other films garnered three nods: François Ozon’s In The House; Jan Ole Gerster’s Oh Boy!, which won six Lolas in Germany earlier this year; and Joe Wright’s Anna Karenina. The latter film bagged acting nods for Jude Law and Keira Knightley. Blue Is The Warmest Color was mentioned twice, for Best European Film and Best European Director; although there were no citations for the film’s lead actresses. Naomi Watts also is a nominee for The Impossible. The winners will be announced in Berlin on December 7th. Following is a full list of the nominees: Read More »
Dallas Buyers Club cinched the top spot in the Specialty Box Office, grossing over $264K, averaging a strong $29K-plus in 9 theaters this weekend. The Toronto debut starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof who took on the medical establishment illegally importing promising drugs from abroad after learning he was HIV-positive.
“The word-of-mouth is stimulating the box office momentum which we see in the big increase from Friday to Saturday,” noted Focus Sunday. “Dallas experienced a strong increase in box office on Saturday with a 71% overall bump from Friday to Saturday. Yesterday’s increase is a strong indication that the film’s popular and box office momentum is working well. Grosses in the U.S. houses are strong with Dallas the #1 ranked film in 4 of the 6 opening houses.” Focus added that “smart-house films” historically increase in the upper 40% range from Friday to Saturday.
The distributor had more flush results from The Place Beyond The Pines earlier this year, grossing over $279 in 4 theaters in April, averaging nearly $70K. Had Dallas only opened in its 6 U.S. theaters, the average would have been $35K. The film also bowed in 3 Canadian locations this weekend. The result is an auspicious send off to the “Specialty” incarnation of Focus lead by James Schamus. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Blue Is The Warmest Color has gotten the Parents Television Council steamed in all the wrong ways, so much so that the watchdog group has veered from small-screen scrutiny to take on the racy feature film. The advocacy group ripped into NYC’s IFC Center for last week’s decision to flout the MPAA’s adults-only NC-17 rating for the 2013 Palme d’Or winner and invite teenagers to view the sexual-awakening tale that charmed Cannes. “The IFC Center’s decision to usurp parental and family authority by allowing unfettered access to children of adult-rated, explicit sexual content is a direct assault on parents and families across the country,” PTC President Tim Winter thundered in a letter sent to IFC Center General Manager and SVP John Vanco. “Your selective unenforcement (sic) of the MPAA guidelines in this instances approaches industrial fraud, in that the system is intended specifically for the purpose of parental reliance, and that reliance has been obviated. We ask that you immediately reconsider this self-serving and undermining business decision, and instead do what is in the right and best interests of parents, families and children. The Parents Television Council will bring its full weight and credit to bear to make a national issue of your decision, via every available means, until it is reversed,” the letter concludes. It isn’t clear how PTC’s full weight will impact a Gotham art house theater; MPAA issues its ratings, but those classifications are voluntary, and theaters are not under any obligation to follow them.
NC-17 Import ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Scores Solid Open
‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Is Year’s Top Local Opener In France
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After the Palme d’Or, public spats and talk about “that scene,” Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color opened with solid numbers this weekend in New York and L.A. The feature grossed just over $101K in 4 theaters, for a $25,279 average – easily the highest of the weekend and one of the year’s highest for a foreign-language film.
Sundance Selects said it was “thrilled” by Blue‘s performance and that the drama about two young women who fall in love appealed across genders this weekend. “From the moment it screened in Cannes to its opening engagements here in the United States the film has received enormous publicity and critical acclaim for the film and for the lead actresses’ performances,” said IFC Films/Sundance Selects’ Mark Boxer Sunday. “Now filmgoers in New York and Los Angeles have had the opportunity to see what generated so much excitement and controversy and the turnout was quite impressive in a very crowded marketplace.”
Related: Palme d’Or Winner Ineligible For Foreign Language Category
Why Wild Bunch Wouldn’t Budge On ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Release For Oscar Eligibility
Blue opened stateside with an NC-17, though NYC’s IFC Center very publicly said it would admit high schoolers to the film. The title also trumped last year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar winner and fellow Palme d’Or winner Amour, which had a $22,755 in 3 locations last December. That film went on to gross over $6.7 million in the U.S. Read More »
Blue Is The Warmest Color has had more press, public spats, anticipation, praise and momentum than any foreign-language film in memory. The latest flap involves New York’s IFC Center deciding not to honor the NC-17 MPAA voluntary rating, allowing young people under 18 to see the film. Now the Palme d’Or winner is heading out to theaters in the U.S. courtesy of Sundance Selects. The film has already grossed nearly a cool $4.5 million in France since opening October 9. The weekend’s roster of newcomers are far fewer than previous bows this fall. Among the new Specialties hitting theaters along with Blue Friday are The Film Arcade’s Spinning Plates by Food Network host Joseph Levy as well as fellow doc Not Yet Begun To Fight by Shasta Grenier and Sabrina Lee’s, which they will self-distribute, and Cohen Media Group’s Capital. And listed in last week’s Specialty Preview is Jehane Noujaim’s Toronto and NYFF debut, The Square, which will open at Film Forum in New York.
Blue Is The Warmest Color
Director-writer: Abdellatif Kechiche
Writers: Julie Maroh (story), Galia Lacroix (adaptation)
Cast: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux, Salim Kechiouche, Aurélien Recoing, Catherine Salée, Benjamin Siksou
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Much has been talked about the 2013 Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Blue Is The Warmest Color. The festival, lead by festival juror Steven Spielberg even gave recognition to the film’s two leads, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux with special Palme d’Ors of their own. The film centers on Adèle, a young woman who meets Emma, with whom she falls in love with as the pair embark on a passionate relationship.
Related: ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Is France’s Top Local Opener Of The Year
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Looks like an unwavering release strategy for Blue Is The Warmest Color has paid off for French distributor Wild Bunch. The Cannes Palme d’Or-winning love story went out yesterday in France and landed atop the Paris … Read More »
The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences has just released the list of a record-setting 76 contenders for the 2013 Best Foreign Language Film category and members start viewing them in a two-month process that begins Friday night. But in a year that has produced any number of eye opening choices and omissions, there may be changes in store for next time that could significantly alter the process as it has been played for decades. One change could involve eligibility dates. Rules now state a country can’t enter a film unless it has opened in that country by September 30th of the qualifying year. That rule eliminated the high profile Cannes Festival Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color which doesn’t open in France until Wednesday, nine days after the cutoff date. It’s a rule that doesn’t really reflect the realities of international distribution these days as some American distributors have recently complained. The Academy has maintained it is necessary just so all the films can be screened in time before nominations have to be announced in January.
Related: OSCARS: 76 Countries Competing In Foreign Language Film Category
Also, continuing controversies due to the increasing politicization of the selection process of Foreign Language film entries in their individual countries could lead to what returning Foreign Language Committee Chairman Mark Johnson termed “radical” changes in the process and rules leading to the choice of the final five nominees.
Related: Another Film Ruled Out Of Foreign Language Race
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Listen to (and share) Episode 7 of Deadline’s audio podcast Global Showbiz Watch, With Nancy Tartaglione. Deadline’s international editor talks with host David Bloom about why the distributors of Blue Is The Warmest Color are seeing red over Oscar foreign-language film rules; the first Saudi Arabian film ever submitted for the Oscars; J.K. Rowling spinning off a screenplay in Harry Potter land and a Potter producer taking on Paddington bear; and why Vivendi is considering a spinoff of its own.
Deadline Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 7 (MP3 format)
Deadline Global Showbiz Watch, Episode 7 (MP4a format) 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 »
With Abdellatif Kechiche’s Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color ineligible for submission as France’s entry for the Foreign Language Film Oscar race, the local committee has turned to a decidedly different type … Read More »
When it comes to this year’s Foreign Language Film Oscar race, it seems Sundance Selects just can’t catch a break. Coming out of Cannes, the company headed by Jonathan Sehring — who also runs IFC — looked like it easily could have two of the five nominees in the category, especially after its acquisitions took two of the top three prizes at Cannes. The French sensation Blue Is The Warmest Color won the coveted Palme d’Or (usually a key factor in considering a film for Oscar submission), while the Jury Prize (essentially third place) went to Japan’s moving and extremely well-received Like Father, Like Son, which so infatuated Cannes Jury President Steven Spielberg that his DreamWorks is negotiating for an English-language remake.
Related: Hammond On Cannes: ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’
It seemed at the time that both would be a cinch as their respective countries’ entry in the race, and Sundance Selects was riding high. But as Deadline reported in July, a quirky Academy rule that requires a foreign entry to have opened by September 30 in its country of origin KO’d Warmest Color’s chances, despite Sehring’s best efforts to turn it around. Unfortunately Wild Bunch, the film’s French distributor, was dead set on releasing it October 9, and a qualifying run was ruled out. Now, in what for me is an even more stunning setback, the seven-member Japan Movie Producers Association ignored its country’s high-profile Cannes winner and instead chose a more obscure film, The Great Passage (Fune O Amu) from 30-year-old director Yuya Ishii, the youngest ever to represent Japan in the Oscar contest. That film was released in April — doing nice, if unremarkable, business at the box office. Like Father, Like Son is scheduled for a September 28 release in Japan, a date presumably chosen to make it eligible for the Oscar race. But it’s not to be. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Abdellatif Kechiche, who is here in Toronto with Blue Is The Warmest Color. That film won the Palme d’Or and FIPRESCI prize at the Cannes Film Festival, taking the top honor in a … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: CAA has signed Adéle Exarchopoulos, the 19-year old actress who stars with Lea Seydoux in Blue Is The Warmest Color (La Vie D’Adele). That film won the Palme d’Or at Cannes in May, and for … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: When controversial French sensation Blue Is The Warmest Color won the Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or, it was expected to be a major player in the upcoming Oscar race for Best Foreign Language Film. Now it’s ineligible to compete and not even impassioned pleas from Sundance Selects, its American distributor, have done the trick. This unexpected development as first reported on Deadline is due to its October 9th French opening. Local distributor Wild Bunch will not change the date in order to comply with an arcane Academy rule that says each film must have opened in the country of origin by the end of September. Now Sundance Selects/IFC Films President Jonathan Sehring who picked up the U.S. rights to Blue in Cannes is very disappointed that this decision appears irreversible. “I talked to them about it and said it was a missed opportunity if you don’t qualify it. So they actually were going to do a qualification run in the town where it was shot in Northern France,” Sehring tells me. “But ultimately the French governing body said no. It had to be a wide release in order for it to qualify and so [Wild Bunch] called and said ‘We don’t want to move off our date. We have a great date.’ It’s unfortunate.”
Although it won’t help Blue this year, Sehring hopes the Academy will deep-six the September 30th eligibility date and change it in the future to be more reflective of the realities of the international film industry. “It’s a global business right now and [it's not good] to hold the Foreign Language titles to a September 30th date. This present Academy administration has been really great about re-visiting things that don’t really make sense and I’m just hoping that will happen.” However as a distributor he does fully understand the Wild Bunch decision and its box office potential in France. “What could be better than that for them? If the French want to choose it as next year’s title I can always hope there, but unfortunately it didn’t work out in terms of qualification,” he said.
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This is the first in a planned series of reports on the people, projects and polemics that have folks buzzing in various overseas territories.
Each year following the Cannes Film Festival the French film industry falls into semi-hibernation as execs recover from months of build-up, the box office gives way to Hollywood tentpoles and attention turns to tennis and weeks-long vacations. Some years, it seems like the industry doesn’t even really wake up again until the fall festivals hit. But in this past month since Cannes ended, there’s been quite a bit keeping the industry buzzing. Among the issues are what France’s Oscar entry will be, vagaries at the local ratings board, a renewed push to allow film advertising on television and the fight to preserve the Cultural Exception. France led the charge on the latter, winning in its bid on June 14 to keep the audiovisual business out of a negotiation mandate for trade talks between the U.S. and Europe. This was a fight that got a lot of traction in Cannes with even Harvey Weinstein and Steven Spielberg coming out in favor of the Cultural Exception as a means to maintain the diversity of European cinema.
Meanwhile, the jury that Spielberg chaired in Cannes gave its top honor to a coming-of-age love story between two women, Blue Is The Warmest Color. Many people have posited that Blue will be France’s Oscar entry this year, but I’m told that it will not. It’s generally accepted that films that win the Palme d’Or end up representing their country — the last time a French film won, The Class, it indeed was the submission.
Despite the difficulties of trying to woo some Academy voters with a lesbian love story with explicit sex scenes like Blue, the main reason I’m told it won’t make the cut is because French distributor, Wild Bunch, is not releasing it in time. The Oscar rep selection committee at French film body the CNC requires that a film go out nationally in France before September 30 and Wild Bunch has set an October release. Wild Bunch’s Vincent Maraval calls the rule “stupid” but tells me they believe October is best for the picture. It’s my understanding that Sundance Selects will release Blue unrated later this year in the U.S. Blue is expected to get a French rating that bars only kids under 12 because, Maraval says, “There are only positive values and love in the film, no violence or drugs.” When I asked him if he thought drugs were regarded more damaging than sex by the ratings board at the CNC, he said “Well, I hope sex is less serious than drugs, no?” Read More »
Listen to (and share) episode 28 of our audio podcast Deadline Awards Watch With Pete Hammond a special wrap-up episode from the just-concluded Cannes Film Festival. Deadline’s Awards Columnist talks with host David Bloom about the festival’s winners, led by Blue Is The Warmest Color, a three-hour lesbian love story that captured the Palme D’Or. They also talk about Jerry Lewis’ return to the Cannes spotlight 18 years after his last film, and this week’s notable releases, including the indie coming-of-age tale The Kings Of Summer and the magicians caper movie Now You See Me.
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 28 (MP3 format)
Deadline Awards Watch, Episode 28, MP4a format) Read More »