Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
UPDATED: Spike Jonze’s New York Film Festival world premiere Her will finally hit theaters this weekend in limited release. Jonze has long had “indie” cred and this film will likely find a core of fans among Specialty audiences though the Warner Bros release will go wide in January. “The movie has all these high-concept ideas, but it is nevertheless mostly a relationship movie. It’s about love and our need to connect and our [method] of connecting. But, at its heart, it is a relationship movie,” Jonze said ahead of its NYFF debut. The Specialty b.o. will likely note the film’s opening this weekend as it sits on the cusp of what defines a “Specialty.” Newcomers that are more squarely in that area also taking their bows this weekend include Oscar-winner Asghar Farhadi’s first non-Iranian-set film The Past, which will platform this weekend before Christmas via Sony Classics. Joe Swanberg‘s All The Light In The Sky (Factory 25) is headed out after an Ultra-VOD run. Swanberg hinted that his film Drinking Buddies (out last summer) had a similar Ultra-VOD run and gave some hint at its non-theatrical exclusive, which suggests the power of such releases for at least certain titles. Yash Raj Films will open Dhoom 3, the largest Bollywood title to hit theaters in North America to date, while IFC Films will open Cannes pickup The Selfish Giant at two NYC locations. First Run will take a different approach to its releases of its doc Maidentrip this weekend. And boutique distrib China Lion releases comedy Personal Tailor in seven U.S. markets.
The Past (Le passé)
Director-writer Asghar Farhadi
Writer: Massoumeh Lahidji (adaptation)
Cast: Bérénice Bejo, Tahar Rahim, Ali Mosaffa, Pauline Burlet, Elyes Aguis, Jeanne Jestin, Sabrina Ouazani, Babak Karimi
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Iranian filmmaker Asghar Farhadi’s The Past is his first film outside his home country and the follow-up to his 2012 Oscar-winner for Best Foreign Language Film, A Separation. Shot over several months in Paris, The Past centers on an Iranian man who deserts his French wife and two children to return to his homeland. While away, his wife embarks on a new relationship, a twist her husband must confront when she asks him for a divorce. “I didn’t have problems finishing the film and worked in a very calm environment,” said Farhadi. “But the big challenge was the French language and culture.” One challenge Farhadi did face was a an actor change in the lead role of Marie. Oscar-winner Marion Cotillard initially had the part, but a scheduling conflict forced her to leave the project. Bérénice Bejo was tapped for the part. Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster arrives in North America re-worked to appeal to audiences here and faith that it will appeal to both art house and broader audiences alike. The lauded Hong Kong director has received critical and box office success with In The Mood For Love and perhaps to a lesser degree with My Blueberry Nights and 2046, and distributor TWC is looking to turn out ticket buyers who are loyal to the filmmaker or fans of martial arts. Former mumblecore filmmaker Joe Swanberg steps up his game with his comedy Drinking Buddies, parlaying into a production that did not follow DIY orthodoxy. The film has already been a big moneymaker on VOD, so theatrical will likely be icing on the cake. Short Term 12 has won awards from SXSW to Locarno. The film, which Cinedigm is opening in limited release will try and replicate that success theatrically. Cannes ’12 closer Thérèse hits theaters as well. Starring Audrey Tautou, the film is the final feature from the late Claude Miller. Vertical Entertainment is banking on its thriller Scenic Route starring Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler to bring out genre fans. The film has also tested positively with women. Una Noche takes on the phenomenon of Cuban immigration. The title played at a festival in Havana before finally being banned there. And Ketchup Entertainment is skirting the usual L.A./New York roll out for the Southeast where its latest, Savannah starring Jaimie Alexander and Jim Caviezel finds its base.
Director-writer: Wong Kar-wai
Writers: Zou Jingzhi, Xu Haofeng
Cast: Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Zhang Jin, Song Hye-kyo, Le Cung, Leung Siu-Lung, Chang Chen
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai’s latest has undergone an evolution since opening in China earlier this year, coming in at 130 minutes. By the time it screened as the Berlinale opener, it came in at 122 minutes and it will land at 108 minutes when it hits screens this weekend. The feature centers on martial arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee. “We test screened it and there were some confusions in the storyline that make it hard to follow for some people, but there are no significant changes to the storyline,” said TWC president of Theatrical Distribution, Erik Lomis. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight has picked up a high-concept feature comedy pitch that will be written and directed Joe Swanberg, who is coming off Drinking Buddies. Shawn Levy will produce through his 21 Laps banner with Alicia Van Couvering and 21 Laps executives Billy Rosenberg and Dan Cohen. They are keeping the logline under wraps, but it’s described to me as a thematic continuation of Swanberg’s films that tackle the complex romantic relationships between people struggling with commitment. Levy just produced The Spectacular Now, the James Ponsoldt-directed arthouse hit that premiered last Sundance. CAA reps Swanberg.
Two couples. Multiple attractions. Plenty of beer. What could go possibly wrong? The relationship comedy Drinking Buddies follows a pair of Chicago craft brewery co-workers (Jake Johnson and Olivia Wilde) whose best-friends status veers toward flirtation as another pair (Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston) complicates things. Writer-director Joe Swanberg’s film will be available July 25 on iTunes, followed by an August 23 theatrical release via Magnolia Pictures, which acquired the pic after its SXSW bow in March. Watch the trailer here:
Director Joe Swanberg brought his most accessible film yet to SXSW this year, with name actors Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston starring in the relationship comedy about a pair of Chicago craft brewery co-workers whose platonic friendship veers toward flirtation. Magnolia Pictures has taken notice, acquiring North American distribution rights today. Drinking Buddies has a more traditional look than Swanberg’s previous mumblecore releases, with Beasts Of The Southern Wild DP Ben Richardson doing the lensing. The pic was entirely improvised as the cast worked from Swanberg’s outline. Here’s today’s release announcing the deal, which will see the pic hit theaters sometime this year:
New York, NY (March 19, 2013) – The Wagner/Cuban Company’s Magnolia Pictures announced today that they have acquired North American distribution rights to writer-director Joe Swanberg’s DRINKING BUDDIES, starring Olivia Wilde, Jake Johnson, Anna Kendrick and Ron Livingston. Produced by Dark Arts’ Alicia Van Couvering and Andrea Roa; Burn Later’s Paul M. Bernon and Sam Slater; and Swanberg, the film premiered this month at the 2013 SXSW Film Festival. The film was executive produced by Mike Witherill, Ashley Bernon, Jessica Klapman, David Kaplan, Anish Savjani, and Wilde. Magnolia Pictures is planning a theatrical release for later this year.
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Back at SXSW to premiere his 14th feature, Drinking Buddies writer-director Joe Swanberg brought something new to the festival: A movie with name stars, a polished look, and mainstream sales potential. The relationship comedy stars Tron: Legacy‘s Olivia Wilde and New Girl‘s Jake Johnson as a pair of Chicagoan craft brewery co-workers whose platonic friendship veers toward flirtation. Ron Livingston and Anna Kendrick co-star as their respective significant others in the pic which marks Swanberg’s first modestly-budgeted (vs. micro-budgeted) feature.
Drinking Buddies has a more traditional look than Swanberg’s previous mumblecore releases thanks to Beasts Of The Southern Wild DP Ben Richardson. It was entirely improvised as the cast worked from Swanberg’s outline. “Putting dialogue in somebody else’s mouth has always seemed strange to me. The writing process shifted to the editing, so that’s when the script gets written”, Swanberg explained after Saturday’s premiere. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: The actress has signed up for a lead role in the indie comedy. Anna Kendrick will start shooting Drinking Buddies in Chicago later this month. Joe Swanberg is directing. Andrea Roa, Anish Savajani and Alica van Couvering are producing. The Up In The Air star has a slew of films coming out soon. Kendrick is one of the voices, along with Casey Affleck and Leslie Mann, in the stop motion animated ParaNorman, out in August. She also stars in the David Ayer-directed cop drama End of Watch, with Jake Gyllenhaal and Michael Pena, as well as the musical Pitch Perfect and the Robert Redford-directed political thriller The Company You Keep. Kendrick is repped by CAA and lawyer Todd Rubenstein.