Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.
The specialty arena this weekend offers Summit Entertainment’s platform debut of popular Sundance narrative entry The Perks Of Being A Wallflower. Summit hopes word-of-mouth will lure art house crowds as well as heavily courted MTVers. Documentaries flesh out the rest of the new titles. Samuel Goldwyn Films opens Diana Vreeland: The Eye Has To Travel after picking up the title out of last year’s Telluride Film Festival. Variance Films’ Head Games came together under a tight schedule due to the narrow window of availability for its veteran filmmaker, who is now tackling a project with Martin Scorsese. How To Survive A Plague bravely ventures into the market with a powerfully emotional doc that illuminates one of the lesser-remembered stories about the AIDS crisis.
Summit financed The Perks Of Being A Wallflower after acquiring the book, written by Stephen Chbosky who also adapted it to a screenplay and then took on directorial duties. “I’ve never worked on a film with the same person directing and writing from a book he wrote,” said Summit’s president of marketing, Nancy Kirkpatrick. “The cast was Stephen’s choice. There were characters he wanted from day one and he was lucky enough to get them.” Summit warmed to the project because the book has been a favorite for a couple of generations of readers. The film was shot last year and premiered at the recent Toronto International Film Festival. Fans of the book are an obvious target for Summit, which has partnered with MTV to promote the movie. The film’s trailer launched on MTV and became a huge download. Kirkpatrick believes the art house crowd is an obvious draw because “it’s a sparkling jewel of a film that has gotten great reviews.”