Hey Woody Allen haters: if you were hoping his rare sojourn as strictly a hired actor in writer/director/star John Turturro‘s new comedy, Fading Gigolo, would flop due to his latest scandal and controversy you have to be sorely disappointed today. Not only did Gigolo NOT fail, it drew the second highest opening weekend gross for a 2014 indie release and reviews, though mixed for the movie are particularly good for Allen’s turn as a “pimp” for the aging lothario played by Turturro. With nearly $200,000 at just five theaters and a sterling $39,680 per screen average it came in only behind Wes Anderson’s hit, The Grand Budapest Hotel in terms of limited debuts this year. Millennium’s Bill Lee told Deadline Sunday the film was performing even better than they had hoped. It starts expanding next weekend. Now why is this significant?
Woody Allen Star Not ‘Fading’ As Moviegoers And Oscar Voters Ignored The Scandalous Headlines And Embraced The Movies – Analysis
Fading Gigolo cashed in at the box office this Easter weekend, catapulting itself to the second-highest theater average of 2014 among specialty releases. The feature directed by John Turturro and starring Turturro, Woody Allen and Sharon Stone opened in five locations in New York and LA on Friday, grossing an estimated $198,399 through Sunday for a solid $39,680 average. That outranks A24′s strong debut for Under The Skin starring Scarlett Johansson, which opened at the beginning of this month. That film, incidentally, passed the $1M cume mark this weekend, with the Jonathan Glazer-directed experimental sci-fi pic grossing $140K in four theaters for a $35K average. The top opener by far of course is Fox Searchlight’s sizzling The Grand Budapest Hotel, which bowed to a record $202K per-theater average March 9.
The opening for Fading Gigolo portends a good run for the comedy, which centers on Fioravante (Turturro), who decides to become a Don Juan as a way of making money for his cash-strapped friend Murray (Allen). Turturro told me last week the film had sold to “top notch” distributors worldwide with strong opens in some international territories ahead of its U.S. launch. “It’s a date movie and even people in their 20s like the movie,” he said. “If they like the movie, then anyone will like the movie.” Millennium Entertainment CEO Bill Lee said this morning that Fading Gigolo is performing better than even hoped. “We saw a spectacular jump from Friday to Saturday, which goes to show that audiences were craving a funny and heartfelt film,” he said. Millennium will hold in NY and LA next week expanding the film to 25 runs in both metropolitan areas. It will head to San Francisco, Dallas, Boston, Chicago, Philadelphia, Washington D.C. and Miami on May 2, then to additional markets May 9.
Under The Skin saw a sizable expansion and grossed more than $467K in 176 theaters, averaging $2,656. Last week, the film grossed over $309K from 54 runs ($5,727 PTA). Its cume now stands at $1,086,241.
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Fading Gigolo’, ‘The Final Member’, ‘Cesar’s Last Fast’, ‘That Demon Within’, ‘Tasting Menu’, ‘Small Time’
After making a mega-splash at the box office last year, Woody Allen gets some time in front of the camera with John Turturro‘s comedy Fading Gigolo, which he also stars in along with Sharon Stone. Millennium Entertainment will open the title in limited release. Two docs are among this weekend’s crop of new Specialty releases, including Sundance title Cesar’s Last Fast as well as penis documentary The Final Member from Drafthouse Films. China Lion is opening action-crime feature That Demon Within, which co-stars Nick Cheung who recently won Best Actor at the Hong Kong Film Awards for his role in Unbeatable. Magnolia is rolling out Tasting Menu, hoping to re-create a recipe of lofty box office returns from its previously released food-oriented fare. And Anchor Bay will open Small Time from first time filmmaker Joel Surnow in just over a dozen locations.
John Turturro directed Woody Allen’s one-act play Honeymoon Hotel in 2011. “I was thinking it would be interested to do something with Woody, but I didn’t know if we’d have chemistry,” said Turturro about the beginnings of what would become Fading Gigolo. The comedy centers on Fioravante who decides to become a Don Juan as a way of making money for his cash-strapped friend, Murray. The pair wind up in the sex business. “I didn’t know how I’d approach it but we exchanged notes,” said Turturro. “I did research on living that kind of life and on the Hasidic community. I wanted to make a human comedy and [Woody Allen] encouraged me to take that route.”
EXCLUSIVE: The John Turturro-directed Fading Gigolo has sold in a $3 million deal to Millennium Entertainment, I’m hearing. The deal is for U.S. rights, and another source just told me the deal will close between $2 million and $3 million. The film stars Turturro as a man who aspires to be a professional Don Juan in order to raise money to help his friend. Woody Allen plays the pal, and he effectively becomes his pimp. The film premiered Saturday evening at the Isabel Bader Theatre and it also stars Vanessa Paradis, Liev Schreiber, Sharon Stone and Sofia Vergara. QED International and ICM Partners is closing up the deal. I believe that it’s the first time that Woody has played a pimp in a feature film, so this is truly a cinematic first. Jeffrey Kusama-Hunte produced with QED’s Bill Block and Paul Hanson.
The deal will likely be the first of several over the next couple of days. It felt like all the oxygen left the room after the mammoth auctions for the Jason Bateman-directed Bad Words that was acquired by Focus and the John Carney-directed Can A Song Save Your Life?, which was acquired by The Weinstein Company after an all-night auction. A bunch of acquisition titles got good reaction, but nobody seems in that much of a hurry to close. Maybe a deal like this will get things moving.
Here is the Fading Gigolo trailer: