Magnolia Pictures appears to have another strong documentary on its 2012 slate. The distributor bowed Kevin Macdonald’s documentary Marley at 42 locations Friday 4/20 (a coincidental date?) to impressive numbers theatrically, averaging over $6K per site and a taking a weekend gross of more than a quarter million dollars. Magnolia has also spun box office gold with doc Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, which has had a seven-week run, topping out over $1.5 million. Marley was No. 1 “in all but a handful of complexes and usually by multiples over the next highest film,” Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles told Deadline, “which is great news for expanding in the next couple of weeks. In addition, we were the number six film in all iTunes on Friday, which bodes extremely well for the digital and VOD platforms. This looks to be an extremely profitable film for us.” Marley opened as Screen Gems’ Think Like A Man became North America’s number one movie, averaging $16,377 in 2,015 theaters.
The specialty weekend’s per screen average winner, however, goes to Sony Pictures Classics’ debut of Darling Companion, which averaged $11,574 from four locations. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, Darling Companion producer Anthony Bregman told Deadline that unlike his previous baby boomer films, this one had to be made as an independent film. In other openers, Sundance Selects’ Goodbye First Love bowed more modestly also at four locations, averaging $5,300, while its sister label IFC Midnight opened The Moth Diaries in two theaters, averaging a sluggish $1,200. Entertainment One’s Jesus Henry Christ launched comparatively stronger, but nevertheless mildly, with an average just over $3K at three locations. READ MORE »
Lawrence Kasdan has done something he never dreamed of: He’s gone indie and he doesn’t think he’s going back. The four-time Oscar-nominated screenwriter of such blockbusters as The Empire Strikes Back, Return Of The Jedi, The Bodyguard and Raiders Of The Lost Ark and writer-director of such acclaimed films as Body Heat, The Big Chill, The Accidental Tourist, Silverado and Grand Canyon among others is back with Darling Companion. It’s his first new film in nine years (since 2003′s ill-fated Dreamcatcher) and the first time in a 30-plus-year career that he has worked without a net. A studio-bred filmmaker from the beginning, Kasdan says no studio would go near his latest project, co-written with wife of 40 years Meg Kasdan, and he totally gets it. That’s why at age 62 he decided he had to go it alone because Companion, aimed at older audiences the same age as its director, has got to be a true gem (considering the multi-Oscared cast) and rich, if rare, entertainment for that largely forgotten sector of the audience the industry routinely dismisses — and who can’t find anything to see starring people their own age. This kind of smart (by design), sophisticated adult comedy rarely comes along these days unless it’s got Woody Allen’s name on it, and even those are mostly populated with younger actors.
Related: Specialty B.O.: ‘Darling Companion’, ‘Downtown Express’, ‘Marley’, ‘Moth Diaries’
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Two specialty titles opening this coming weekend might have had studio backing in the past if not for the changing nature of the biz. Darling Companion and The Moth Diaries traveled a more “independent film” route on their way to the screen, bypassing controls that may have lead to very different films — if they would even have been made at all. Downtown Express used music and the backdrop of New York City to tell its story shot on a tight budget, while Kevin Macdonald’s doc Marley found non-financing challenges on its way through production. Also encountering unexpected turbulence during production, Jesus Henry Christ shot north of the border during some particularly crazy events in Toronto.
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, Meg Kasdan
Cast: Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Lawrence Kasdan’s latest returns his focus to baby boomers reminiscent of some of his past work. In this feature, he spotlights the story of a woman who loves her dog more than her husband. And naturally the situation worsens when he loses the dog. “What we were shooting for is trying to talk to that generation and about their lives as John Updike did in the Rabbit series,” Darling Companions producer Anthony Bregman told Deadline. “It’s along the lines of other [Kasdan] films that check in with that generation.” But unlike the director’s past work including The Accidental Tourist and The Big Chill, studios did not come knocking. “The industry has changed a lot since those films came out,” Bregman said, adding that studios shy away from stories like Darling Companions so the production had to take a different approach in order to get the feature completed. “This time, it was an independent production with a quicker shoot. We didn’t have the same luxuries that are typical of a studio film,” he said. “The challenge was to stick to the agenda while maintaining a high production value and ambitious casting.” Read More »
Nice to see Larry Kasdan will be back behind the camera directing Darling Companion, an indie that stars Diane Keaton as a wife who loves her dog more than her husband, and Kasdan regular Kevin Kline as the husband who … Read More »