The international trailer for Fox Searchlight‘s September 12 crime drama The Drop was released on the web. The Brooklyn-set feature stars Tom Hardy, Noomi Rapace and the late actor James Gandolfini, who passed a away a year ago yesterday. The film centers around Hardy’s Bob Saginowski, an ex-con turned bartender who finds himself at the center of a robbery gone awry, which sends a ripple effect through the neighborhood to his friends, family, and the gangsters on the block. Gandolfini plays Marv, another ex-con who is trying to go legit. Directed by Michael R. Roskam, The Drop is based on the short story Animal Rescue from author Dennis Lehane, who wrote Mystic River, Shutter Island and Gone Baby Gone.
Fox Searchlight has released the first teaser for Birdman (or The Unexpected Virtue Of Ignorance), the latest film from Babel and Biutiful helmer Alejandro González Iñárritu. The director’s first black comedy stars Michael Keaton, Edward Norton, Emma Stone, Naomi Watts, Zach Galifianakis, Amy Ryan and Andrea Riseborough. Keaton plays an actor, famous for having portrayed an iconic superhero, who struggles to mount a Broadway play. In the days leading up to opening night, he battles his ego as he attempts to recover his family, his career and himself. This was a film we had hoped to see in Cannes last month, but Fox Searchlight ultimately set an October 17 release so expect to see this bow at one of the fall festivals.
EXCLUSIVE: While there has been speculation that Fox Searchlight and director Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu would race to make the Cannes Film Festival, Fox Searchlight co-president Stephen Gilula tells Deadline that the film will open Friday, October 17. It won’t complete post production until late May or early June, meaning that it will be eyeing fall festivals.
This is his first black comedy, but Inarritu’s past films have been magnets for festivals, and he should have several choices for a festival that is compatible with the opening of Birdman, which Searchlight made with New Regency and Worldview Entertainment. Searchlight controls worldwide distribution and will release it overseas in January. So start the jockeying, Toronto, Telluride and Venice.
Fox Searchlight has debuted the trailer to Mike Cahill‘s provocative sci-fi romance feature. The film marks Cahill’s second directorial feature following Another Earth. Similar to that film three years ago, I Origins took home the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, an award that is bestowed to a film that focuses on science or technology as a theme or depicts a scientist, mathematician or engineer as a major character. Fitting the latter part of that description in I Origins is molecular biologist Dr. Ian Gray (Boardwalk Empire‘s Michael Pitt), who is pursuing his Ph.D. in eye evolution with med student Karen (Brit Marling) as his lab assistant. While Karen is set on giving non-seeing organisms (i.e. worms) a pair of eyes, Dr. Gray only has eyes for Sofi (Astrid Berges-Frisbey), a mysterious beauty who captivates his life. Years later, after her departure, Karen and Dr. Gray make a discovery that jolts their world, sending them to India to validate their theory. Archie Panjabi (The Good Wife) and Steven Yeun (The Walking Dead) also star. Searchlight, which also distributed Another Earth, acquired worldwide rights on I Origins at Sundance for about $3 million. I Origins bows July 18. Take a look:
John Madden-directed The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2 is set for a limited platform release beginning March 6, 2015, Fox Searchlight and Participant Media announced today. The cast from the 2011 film has reunited for the follow-up including Judi Dench, (Evelyn), Maggie Smith (Muriel), Bill Nighy (Douglas), Dev Patel (Sonny), Celia Imrie (Madge), Ronald Pickup (Norman), Penelope Wilton (Jean), Diana Hardcastle (Carol), Tena Desae (Sunaina) and Lillete Dubey (Mrs. Kapoor). Making their debut in the sequel are Richard Gere, David Strathairn and Tamsin Greig. This is the first ever sequel made by Fox Searchlight, and the rare adult-themed prestige film to get an encore. The first film was a surprise global hit which grossed $135 million worldwide.
Wes Anderson topped himself with another record-breaker this weekend. After premieres at the Berlin Film Festival and last week at the Film Society of Lincoln Center, The Grand Budapest Hotel is by far the year’s biggest screen average debut and the biggest-ever opening for a live-action film. Fox Searchlight opened Budapest in four New York and Los Angeles theaters, grossing $800K for a stunning $200K screen average between Friday and Sunday. The number easily surpasses another record holder, The Master by Paul Thomas Anderson, which starred Phillip Seymour Hoffman. That film opened in September 2012 with five runs, grossing over $736K for a $142,262 PTA. This weekend’s Budapest numbers also top Anderson’s previous film, Moonrise Kingdom, which grossed nearly $523K in four theaters when it opened following its Cannes debut in May 2012. A Focus Features release, it averaged $130,749 and went on to cume more than $45.5 million in the U.S.
Last year, animated feature Frozen opened with a $243,490 PTA, but this weekend’s Budapest numbers outgross another 2013 box office juggernaut, American Hustle, which opened in six theaters in December, grossing more than $740K for a $123,409 PTA. It has grossed $148.43M to date. Budapest also debuted this weekend in the UK, Germany and Belgium. The film’s profile is sky-high in Germany and elsewhere in Europe after its world premiere as opening-night film last month in Berlin.
That’s the message seen for the past few weeks on the 12 Years A Slave billboard as you drive on to the 20th Century Fox lot. And since the film earned nine Oscar nominations it has frequently been the slogan of choice for the Fox Searchlight contender in newspaper and television ads. A highly emotional close-up of star Chiwetel Ejiofor as the man forced into slavery and just two words to accompany it: “It’s Time”.
So is it resonating with voters? Are they paying attention? And how do you interpret the message, clearly aimed at Academy voters, that the studio is trying to send for its Best Picture nominee?
It’s Time for a serious film about slavery to win Best Picture?
It’s Time for any film about the black experience to win Best Picture?
It’s Time for a film with a largely black cast, theme, black director and screenwriter to win?
It’s Time those Academy members who have resisted seeing it, because they think it’s too brutal, stick their screener in their DVD player and watch.
Whichever way you look at it, it’s an effective and simple way of getting the film’s message across. Two words, that’s all.
The ad not only can be interpreted as shining a light on a very dark period in American history, it also shines a light on the Academy’s fairly dismal record of awarding its top honor to any movie about the black experience. In fact there has been only one Best Picture winner in the 85 years the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has been handing out Oscars that even remotely qualifies in this regard. In 1968, In The Heat Of The Night , a murder mystery set against the racial divide in a small Southern town, won Best Picture and four other Oscars just a few days after the assassination of Martin Luther King (the ceremony was even postponed two days out of respect). The votes were in before the King assassination, but it seemed then that “It’s Time” would have been an appropriate way to describe that victory. However, outside of lead actor Sidney Poitier — who also co-starred in another racially themed Best Pic nominee that year, Guess Who’s Coming To Dinner — this movie featured a largely white cast, white producer, screenwriter and director (Norman Jewison).
12 Years A Slave makes a much bigger statement: The film has been honored widely with Best Picture awards from the Golden Globes, the Critics Choice Movie Awards, the Producers Guild (in a tie with Gravity), and most recently BAFTA, but the victories have been narrow (it went 1 for 7 at the Globes, 2 for 10 at BAFTA and 3 for 13 at the CCMAs). Co-producer/director Steve McQueen has made impassioned speeches at all of them, though apparently it’s not time for a black director to win as he has lost consistently to Gravity’s Alfonso Cuaron in that category at most precursor awards (ironically, there was a Picture/Director split the year of In The Heat Of The Night, with The Graduate’s Mike Nichols winning the directing awards over Heat’s Jewison).
Wes Anderson’s The Grand Budapest Hotel screened for the press here in Berlin this afternoon before officially opening the event tonight in competition. Reactions were greatly positive — one journalist at the film’s press conference looked about to cry over its beauty — although official reviews won’t appear until later this evening. Stars Ralph Fiennes, Tony Revolori, Willem Dafoe, Jeff Goldblum, Bill Murray, Edward Norton, Saoirse Ronan and Tilda Swinton attended the press conference to talk about the movie that follows the adventures of a legendary concierge at a famous European hotel between the wars, and the lobby boy who becomes his most trusted friend. The nostalgic Euro caper involves the theft and recovery of a priceless Renaissance painting and the battle for an enormous family fortune.
UPDATE, 12:50 PM: Fox Searchlight has confirmed a deal for rights in the U.S. and select overseas territories for the black comedy/drama and plans a 2014 release. Check out the release after the main break.
PREVIOUS BREAKING, 10:29 AM: I’m hearing from the airport here that Calvary has sold to Fox Searchlight for $2.5 million. The Irish-UK pic starring Brendan Gleeson and directed by John Michael McDonagh co-stars Chris O’Dowd, Kelly Reilly, and Aidan Gillen. It screened Sunday in Park City in the fest’s Premieres section. The pic centers on a priest (Gleeson) who one day is told by an unseen man that he’s going to kill him precisely because he’s done nothing wrong. Given a week to make his peace with God, the priest ministers to sundry lost souls — visits that double as a guided tour of suspects. His preparation for death is further complicated by the arrival of his daughter, who has recently attempted suicide. It recently was added to the Panorama sidebar at Berlin and will screen there next month.
UPDATE, 2 PM: Fox Searchlight just confirmed it has acquired worldwide rights to I Origins. Full release follows after the original break.
PREVIOUS, EXCLUSIVE, 9:30 AM: I hear Fox Searchlight is the frontrunner to make a world rights deal on I, Origins, the science fiction film written and directed by Mike Cahill. I’m hearing the deal closed at around $3 million, but I’m waiting to confirm. The film premiered Saturday at the Eccles Theater; it will be released domestically by Fox Searchlight. It stars Michael Pitt and Brit Marling, and Cahill and Pitt produced it with Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky. It focuses on a group of biologists who make a discovery that has far-reaching consequences. Fox Searchlight did the domestic on Cahill’s last film with Marling, Another Earth, and Fox released in some foreign territories. WME Global brokered the deal.
PARK CITY, UT January 20, 2014 – Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company has acquired worldwide rights to the existential drama I ORIGINS. Directed and written by Mike Cahill, I ORIGINS is his second feature following ANOTHER EARTH which Fox Searchlight acquired at Sundance in 2011. The film stars Michael Pitt, Brit Marling, Astrid Bergès-Frisbey, Steven Yeun and Archie Panjabi with Cahill, Hunter Gray and Alex Orlovsky serving as producers. The film is scheduled to be released in 2014.
Art House Exhibs Asking For ‘12 Years A Slave’ After Globes Best Picture Win; Fox Searchlight Adding Hundreds Of Theaters
EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight plans to add about 500 theaters this weekend for director Steve McQueen’s 12 Years A Slave after last night’s Best Picture Drama win at the Golden Globes with a goal of reaching 1,000 runs in the next two weeks. Expect a lot of art house locales as big theaters are very packed with holdover holiday fare. After getting such nods from the Globes and Oscar nominations, a studio often ups its runs of the film when it can using those awards and nominations as a marketing tool. New ads touting the nominations and wins are traditionally done and then blasted out into the marketplace. Award nominations and wins, especially for the Oscars, means cash at the box office. For instance, Argo, which was still in theaters, had grossed $110M before Oscar nominations and then grossed another $19M after. Between the time from the nominations to the Academy Award ceremony, the Warner Bros drama got a 14% bump at the box office and then another 5% bump after its win for Best Picture. (What was interesting is that Argo was on DVD at the time but still playing in theaters). Sony has previously stated that it plans to re-release Captain Phillips on Wednesday, the day before the Academy Award nominations are announced, and hopes to expand the film to 1,000 screens. The studio’s American Hustle, which won the other Best Picture Golden Globe (for Comedy or Musical) is already in the marketplace in over 2,500 theaters. Conversely, Slave is playing in only 114 theaters.
As Deadline was the first to reveal last fall, Richard Gere is starring in The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel 2, which Fox Searchlight has announced is beginning production in India with John Madden at the helm. Gere, David Strathairn and Tamsin Greig join returning stars Judi Dench, Maggie Smith, Bill Nighy, Dev Patel and the rest of the cast. This is the first ever sequel made by Fox Searchlight, and the rare adult-themed prestige film to get an encore. The first film was a surprise global hit which grossed $135 million worldwide.
Fox Searchlight‘s 12 Years A Slave will get a limited re-release at the height of voting season, coming out in select cities on January 17. The acclaimed film established itself as the early Oscar frontrunner following its release in mid-October. We have seen films like The Social Network get off to a rousing start but then fade toward the end. While 12 Years A Slave had a good prestige film run with a $36 million domestic gross, the extra release for the Steve McQueen-directed film can serve as a reminder. Here’s the release:
Fox Searchlight Pictures Presidents Stephen Gilula and Nancy Utley announced today that the company will re-release director Steve McQueen’s Golden Globe Award nominated film 12 YEARS A SLAVE in select cities for a special return engagement on Friday, January 17.
The most-nominated film of the year, 12 YEARS A SLAVE has already garnered over 20 major nominations from groups including The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (Nominated for 7 Golden Globes including Best Picture), Screen Actors Guild (Nominated for 4 SAG Awards including Best Ensemble), FILM Independent (Nominated for 7 Spirit Awards including Best Feature), and has earned numerous Critics Groups accolades including Best Picture from Washington DC Area Film Critics and New York Film Critics Online. After winning the Audience Award at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Mill Valley Film Festival, 12 YEARS A SLAVE opened domestically on October 18 and has
Over six months after the potentially industry game changing June 11 ruling that unpaid interns on the Darren Aronofsky-directed Black Swan were really employees, Fox Searchlight today were handed an opportunity to turn things around. The Second Circuit Court of Appeals granted the label and the Fox Entertainment Group their request to appeal vital aspects of District Judge William Paley III’s ruling from earlier this summer (read it here). The Appeal court gave Fox Searchlight the right to appeal the class certification of former interns Alex Footman and Eric Glatt’s case. The court also granted the Foxes an appeal on the summary judgment in the former interns’ favor that they were treated as Fox employees in their internship under the definitions of the Fair Labor Standards Act and New York Labor Law. Needless to say, even with a couple of other legal wins under its belt in this case since June, Fox Searchlight felt Thanksgiving came a little early this year. “We believe the District Court’s rulings are erroneous. We are pleased that the Second Circuit has granted our petitions to review those rulings at this time,” a studio spokesperson told me today. Fox first sought the Second Circuit’s involvement in Judge Paley’s order back in late August. Today’s ruling also links the appeals with an intern case moving through the courts involving the Hearst Corporation. Fox opposed consolidating the Hearst case with their appeal and were granted that too but both appeals will proceed in tandem.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight has picked up Zak Olkewicz‘s Elimination, a horror pitch to be produced by Shawn Levy through his 21 Laps banner. This marks the second studio sale this year for Olkewicz, who made a Dimension deal last spring on Ink And Bone, a script which topped the 2013 Blood List which ranks genre scripts. This pitch is described as a high concept horror film involving a cerebral game of cat and mouse. They are keeping the logline under wraps as high concepts are easy to rip off. DanTram Nguyen will oversee for Searchlight and Dan Cohen for 21 Laps, the label which produced The Spectacular Now and wrapped Alexander And The Terrible Horrible No Good Very Bad Day at Disney. Levy as director wrapped This Is Where I Leave You for Warner Bros, and he is prepping Night At The Museum 3 at Fox. Levy’s repped by WME, Olkewicz by WME and Caliber Media.
EXCLUSIVE: John Krokidas, who made his feature directing debut with the Beat Generation poets mystery Kill Your Darlings at Sundance, has signed a pair of deals that will put him to work on the Fox lot. Krokidas has been set to helm Standard Loneliness Package, which Keith Bunin is scripting based the title short story from the Charles Yu collection Sorry Please Thank You. Temple Hill Entertainment’s Wyck Godfrey and Marty Bowen will produce. Pic is set in the near future, where a recent college graduate gets an entry-level job at a tech company where he’s paid to experience painful events in other people’s lives. He falls desperately in love with his boss, and tries to build a genuine relationship in a society that’s becoming entirely virtual and where he essentially serves as a human pain cushion.
Krokidas has separately made a deal with Fox 2000 to team with his Kill Your Darlings writing partner Austin Bunn to rewrite Highrise, which the studio acquired as a spec script by Peter Dowling (Flight Plan). It is best described as a lush 21st century thriller inspired by the 1960s classic The Collector. Jon Shestak is producing. Krokidas just helmed two episodes of the new ABC series The Black Box, which stars Kelly Reilly and Vanessa Redgrave. UTA, Circle of Confusion, and attorney Andrew Hurwitz rep Krokidas.
The race for Best Supporting Actor at the Oscars this year is shaping up to be another impossibly competitive contest. Jared Leto, Tom Hanks, Barkhad Abdi, Steve Coogan, Harrison Ford, Geoffrey Rush, Daniel Bruhl, Chris Cooper, Bradley Cooper, Jonah Hill, Casey Affleck, George Clooney and so many others already are staking a place in this crowded field. Fox Searchlight alone has viable contenders in its fall films with 12 Years A Slave’s Michael Fassbender and Enough Said’s James Gandolfini, who could grab a rare posthumous nom for one of his final film performances.
But Searchlight also has another contender who might be forgotten since his film came out way way back in June. Right. June. Can we remember back that far? When The Way Way Back was winning acclaim at the beginning of summer, the one name pundits found to ignite a nascent Oscar supporting contest was the wryly funny, smart and memorable turn from the criminally never-nominated Sam Rockwell as Owen, the wisecracking manager of Water Wizz Water Park and mentor to 14-year-old Duncan (Liam James), who has one unforgettable summer working there. Rockwell, who easily could — and should — have been nominated for last year’s Seven Psychopaths or his extraordinary work in another Searchlight film, Conviction (2010), always has been good. He’s an actor’s actor who first gained major notice after more than a decade acting in TV and films by playing game show host and CIA looney Chuck Barris in Clooney’s Confessions Of A Dangerous Mind (2002). Mainstream moviegoers probably know him best as Justin Hammer in Iron Man 2, while he has also gained a cult following for 2009′s Moon, a low-budget predecessor to Gravity (a film Rockwell says he loved). But his performance in The Way Way Back (which also deserves recognition for the sharp original screenplay from writer-directors Nat Faxon and Jim Rash of Oscar-winning Descendants fame) was a real standout — and that’s in a cast that includes fine work from Steve Carell, Toni Collette and Allison Janney, among others. No one pitched Sam Rockwell to me in this endless season of pitching. I sought him out to talk about it.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox Searchlight and director John Madden are courting Richard Gere to star in the sequel to The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, the 2011 sleeper hit that grossed $136 million worldwide on a $10 million budget. Original cast members Judi Dench, Bill Nighy, Penelope Wilton and Maggie Smith are expected to return when shooting begins early next year. Gere would play a new role. WME-repped Gere most recently starred in Arbitrage. Stay tuned, I will supply more details when I get them.