Ned Benson‘s directorial debut The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby received a 10-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere in May. The version that played was Them, the film that Benson cut to tell a straight narrative story after two versions, Him and Her, debuted in Toronto last fall. James McAvoy and Jessica Chastain play a married couple whose relationship disintegrates when tragedy intervenes. The Weinstein Co is releasing the combined version Stateside on September 26. Six weeks later, it will put out the two earlier takes. All told, there is expected to be a big awards-season push by TWC, and in particular for the performances of Chastain and McAvoy. Viola Davis, Bill Hader and William Hurt also star. Here’s the trailer:
Specialty Box Office: Reichardt’s ‘Night Moves’ Strong; Docs ‘Korengal’ And ‘Elena’ Bow Decently; James McAvoy Opens ‘Filth’
The first half of 2014 will not go down as memorable overall for specialties despite a weekend that boasted some star star power against Maleficent and the continuation of X-Men. Kelly Reichardt’s Night Moves opened with single runs in NYC and L.A. this weekend matching up Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard as eco-extremists in the Northwest. It came in with a decent $12,050 PTA ($24,100 gross) with sold-out showings from its bow at the Arclight. “We’re very happy with the strong opening this weekend. We anticipate continued critical acclaim and positive word of mouth fueling the expansion into both arthouses and select commercial venues across the country,” distributor Cinedigm noted Sunday. Night Moves will add theaters in Boston, San Francisco, Austin, Seattle and Portland.
Related: Box Office: Disney’s ‘Maleficent’ Casts $68M+ To $69M+ Spell; ‘A Million Ways To Die In the West’ Flatlines; ‘X-Men’ Falls About 64%
Magnolia Pictures opened two films this weekend. James McAvoy starrer Filth and festival favorite We Are The Best! opened in limited runs with slow results. Filth bowed in a pair of theaters grossing $7,500 ($3,750 PTA) while Swedish feature We Are The Best! actually did better with a $21K gross ($7K average). Magnolia was refreshingly honest Sunday and found a silver-lining for Best: “We were disappointed in the opening day’s gross, but we always knew this was an underdog film and very difficult to market. We also knew audiences loved it and it’s gotten some of the best reviews we’ve received in our company’s history. We had an enormous 125% jump Friday over Saturday and we think that the word of mouth is going to keep this film rolling all through the summer.”
Cannes: Harvey Weinstein Plans Big Oscar Push For ‘Eleanor Rigby’, Jessica Chastain And James McAvoy
After a 10-minute standing ovation at its Cannes premiere this week, Harvey Weinstein is going to make a big awards-season push on The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby, and in particular the performances of Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. Following that thunderous ovation and glowing reviews, Weinstein told his marketing team it has been a long time since he’d seen performances like these, and that they were to start working on the Oscar campaign strategy and go for it.
The new strategy will be to release the Ned Benson-directed film on September 26 at the start of awards-season films. I mean Them, the version that played Cannes, the one that Benson cut to tell a straight narrative story. Some six weeks later into Oscar season, TWC will release Him and Her, the two versions of the love story that played to acclaim at Toronto last fall. I saw Them at its later premiere screening, and came away feeling that Weinstein has a lot to work with. It is a moving story of a married couple on the rocks which showed sides of Chastain and McAvoy I hadn’t seen before. I came away actually wanting to see the other two versions, something I never expected.
One of the most interesting occurrences of the festival is how some of the best reviewed films here found their groove, something my colleague Pete Hammond has been chronicling all week. It’s clear that Bennett Miller was smart to avoid the last Oscar season so that he could take the time to make Foxcatcher as good as he could, a move done in concert with Sony Pictures Classics and producer/financier Megan Ellison. That movie also played like gangbusters here and will be right there in the Oscar mix.
Magnolia Pictures acquired North American rights to Filth, the adaptation of Trainspotting author Irvine Welsh’s equally unsettling and rude black comedy that stars James McAvoy as a copper looking for a promotion and willing to go to any lengths to get it. The film is the second highest grossing R-rated film in the UK this year, and it also stars Jamie Bell, Imogen Poots, Eddie Marsan, Shirley Henderson, and Jim Broadbent. Jon S. Baird wrote the script and directed it and produces through his Logie Pictures banner with Ken Marshall for Steel Mill Pictures, Trudie Styler and Celine Rattray for Maven Pictures, McAvoy, Christian Angermayer and Jens Meurer for Film House Germany, Mark Amin and Will Clarke.
The deal was negotiated by Magnolia Director of Acquisitions John Von Thaden, with CAA and UTA on behalf of the filmmakers. Magnolia is eyeing a theatrical release in the spring of 2014.
EXCLUSIVE: Fox‘s search for the right actor to play Victor Von Frankenstein alongside Daniel Radliffe’s Igor in the Paul McGuigan-directed film has ended. The studio has chosen its X-Men: First Class star James McAvoy and the dealmaking is underway. This was a coveted role, and the studio recently tested actors that included Boardwalk Empire‘s Jack Huston, and Toby Kebbell, whose breakout was the Guy Ritchie-directed RocknRolla. John Davis’ Davis Entertainment is producing.
While Marvel’s Hall H Comic-Con panel is always the one to beat, McAvoy was part of a Fox panel that preceded it and might well have upstaged the day when, after Hugh Jackman and James Mangold talked about The Wolverine, Jackman brought out Bryan Singer and the entire cast of X-Men: Days Of Future Past. McAvoy most recently appeared in the Danny Boyle-directed Trance, and wrapped Filth and The Disappearance Of Eleanor Rigby: Him And Her. He is repped by UTA and United Agents.
Sierra/Affinity has released the international trailer for the dark comedy Filth starring James McAvoy. Jon S. Baird directed and also produced the pic that’s based on Irvine Welsh’s 1998 novel. The Trainspotting author also exec produces. Filth features McAvoy as a bigoted and corrupt cop who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, Joanne Froggatt, Eddie Marsan and Jim Broadbent also star. The film releases in the UK in September. Check it out:
Lionsgate UK has released the first trailer for Filth, the Jon S. Baird-directed film that’s based on Irvine Welsh’s 1998 novel. The Trainspotting author also exec produces the pic that stars James McAvoy as a bigoted and corrupt cop who will stop at nothing to get what he wants. Enlisted to solve a brutal murder and threatened by the aspirations of his colleagues, he sets about ensuring their ruin but starts to lose himself in a web of deceit that he can no longer control. Imogen Poots, Jamie Bell, Joanne Froggatt, Eddie Marsan and Jim Broadbent also star. The film releases in the UK in September. Check out the NSFW trailer below:
Nominees for the 2013 Olivier Awards, Britain’s answer to the Tonys, include a host of well-known names. Helen Mirren is nominated for Best Actress for playing Queen Elizabeth II in Stephen Daldry’s The Audience. No stranger to the role, Mirren won an Oscar for her portrayal of Elizabeth in Stephen Frears’ 2006 feature The Queen. And just to keep things in the family, Oscar-nominated Queen scribe Peter Morgan also scripted Audience. James McAvoy, tackling Macbeth for the first time, is nominated for Best Actor in his well-reviewed turn. Also among the nominees are Rupert Everett as Best Actor in The Judas Kiss; Kristin Scott Thomas as Best Actress for Old Times; and Imelda Staunton as Best Actress in a Musical for Sweeney Todd. The National Theatre’s production of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Night-Time leads all nominations with eight, followed by Top Hat with seven and Sweeney Todd with six. The prizes will be handed out April 28 at London’s Royal Opera House. Click over for a full list of nominees:
Eran Creevy’s UK thriller Welcome To The Punch is exec produced by Ridley Scott and stars James McAvoy and Mark Strong as a detective and a former criminal forced to work together when they discover a conspiracy. Andrea Riseborough also stars in the film that eOne released last Friday in the UK. IFC Films goes out with it in the U.S. on March 27. Here’s the trailer:
The first trailer for Danny Boyle‘s psychological thriller Trance has dropped. The film stars James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson and follows a fine art auctioneer mixed up with a criminal gang who joins forces with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting. The Pathé, Fox Searchlight, Film4 presentation of a Cloud Eight/Decibel Films production releases in the UK on March 27. A U.S. release has not been set. Boyle, who masterminded the London Olympics Opening Ceremony, recently said: “After a mad summer with London 2012, it’s great to get back to the day job; treachery and intrigue on the screen rather than behind-the-scenes!”
Welcome To The Punch producers Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh have hooked up with agents Josh Varney and Kate Buckley to hang management and production shingle, 42. The UK-based company will rep talent and develop projects across film and television. Varney and Buckley are exiting UK agency Independent Talent Group where they’ve been for 9 and 12 years, respectively, but say they will continue to share clients including Michael Caine, John Hurt, Rhys Ifans, Rupert Friend, Paul Bettany, Christopher Lee, Nicholas Hoult, Clemence Poesy, Emily Mortimer, Tom Hollander, Jonny Lee Miller, William Monahan, Peter Cattaneo, Terry George and Eran Creevy. Aitken and Pugh set up their production company, Between The Eyes, in 2005, making commercials for clients including Nike and Sony. They then produced Creevy’s Shifty in 2008 and his Welcome To The Punch followed. It stars James McAvoy and Andrea Riseborough and will be released in the U.S. and the UK in March. Between The Eyes will continue to produce as a label under the 42 banner. The company has also added Mady Niel as a literary manager.
Pathé and 20th Century Fox have set a March 27 UK debut for Danny Boyle‘s Trance, the director’s first feature since 2010′s 127 Hours. Boyle, who most recently masterminded the London Olympics Opening Ceremony, said today: “After a mad summer with London 2012, it’s great to get back to the day job; treachery and intrigue on the screen rather than behind-the-scenes!” The psychological thriller stars James McAvoy, Vincent Cassel and Rosario Dawson and follows a fine art auctioneer mixed up with a criminal gang who joins forces with a hypnotherapist to recover a lost painting. Joe Ahearne, on whose BBC telefilm of the same name Boyle’s feature is based, wrote the screenplay with John Hodge (Trainspotting, Shallow Grave). Slumdog Millionaire‘s Christian Colson is producer. Pathé has UK and French rights and Fox has the rest of the world on the Pathé, Fox Searchlight, Film4 presentation of a Cloud Eight/Decibel Films production. A U.S. release has not been set.
Next season on London’s West End is shaping up to be a who’s who of British talent. Helen Mirren, Judi Dench, Daniel Radcliffe, Ben Whishaw and Jude Law are all starring in plays and Whishaw and Dench’s Skyfall director Sam Mendes is prepping a musical production of Charlie And The Chocolate Factory. James McAvoy is the latest to commit to walking the boards, taking on the title role in Macbeth which veteran theater director Jamie Lloyd is mounting as part of the Trafalgar Transformed season. McAvoy has played Macbeth before, albeit in a modernized BBC version in which the Scottish lord was transformed into a top chef. He was last on stage in 2009′s Three Days Of Rain, which Lloyd also directed. He’ll next be seen on screen in Danny Boyle’s Trance and is reprising his role of a young Charles Xavier in Bryan Singer’s X-Men: Days Of Future Past. In a growing trend to reach out to wider audiences,
James McAvoy is deep in negotiations to join DreamWorks’ WikiLeaks film, Deadline has confirmed. “It’s close to being done,” an insider said today. McAvoy would play Daniel Domscheit-Berg, the right-hand man to WikiLeaks boss Julian Assange. Domscheit-Berg’s book Inside WikiLeaks: My Time With Julian Assange At The World’s Most Dangerous Website is partially the basis for the film. The Twilight Saga’s Bill Condon will direct. DreamWorks also acquired WikiLeaks: Inside Julian Assange’s War On Secrecy, by David Leigh and Luke Harding, for the film. Josh Singer wrote the script. Benedict Cumberbatch will play Assange in the as-yet-untitled film. And there is no shortage of WikiLeaks and Assange films on the horizon: Universal and Marc Shmuger have an Alex Gibney-directed documentary, while HBO, Universal and Megan Ellison are also working on WikiLeaks films. McAvoy is repped by UTA and United Agents.
IFC Films has acquired U.S. rights to Welcome To The Punch, the British thriller written and directed by Eran Creevy. Mark Strong stars as a former criminal forced to return to the underworld, and James McAvoy is a detective who been on his trail for a long time. The duo discovers a conspiracy that forces them to work together. IFC bought the rights from Worldview Entertainment; the deal was negotiated by Sundance Selects/IFC Films’ Jeff Deutchman with CAA on behalf of Worldview. IM Global has international rights. Rory Aitken and Ben Pugh of Between the Eyes and Brian Kavanaugh Jones of Automatik produced. Worldview’s Christopher Woodrow, Molly Conners, Maria Cestone and Sarah Johnson Redlich executive produced with Ridley Scott and Liza Marshall of Scott Free Productions, Xavier Marchand of Momentum Pictures, and Stuart Ford of IM Global.
Tuesday, May 22, 2012…Cannes…. Golden Globe®-nominee James McAvoy (Atonement, X-Men First Class) will star opposite Academy® Award-nominee Jessica Chastain (The Help, The Tree of Life) in the double-feature film project for Myriad Pictures, The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Him and The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby: Her.
Ned Benson (In Defiance of Gravity) wrote the two scripts and will direct both films.
The love story explores how a married couple in New York City deals with an emotional, life-altering experience, from the two different perspectives of the husband, Conor, (McAvoy), a restaurant owner, and of the wife, Eleanor, (Chastain), who goes back to college. Cassandra Kulukundis (A Late Quartet, In Defiance of Gravity) is producing. Kulukundis is also casting director (There Will Be Blood, Shattered Glass).
James McAvoy received a Golden Globe®-nomination for his performance opposite Kiera Knightley in the critically acclaimed film, Atonement. Other film credits include The Last King of Scotland with Forrest Whitaker, The Last Station with Helen Mirren and most recently in the box office hit X Men: First Class. He will next be seen starring in the new Danny Boyle film, Trance, in Eran Creevy’s, Welcome to the Punch and in Jon S. Baird’s, Filth. James is represented by UTA and United Agents.
Jessica Chastain was nominated for an Academy® Award for her performance in the 2011 critically-acclaimed drama The Help. The same year she appeared in The Debt, with Helen Mirren and Tom Wilkinson, and in Terence Malick’s
‘Arthur Christmas’ Slays ‘Em In The UK
Sony Pictures Animation and Aardman’s Arthur Christmas jumped to the top of the UK box office this weekend – in its fourth week of release. This bit of holiday magic came courtesy of a £1.9 million weekend take for a cume of £11.5 million. The film has been holding steady in second place since it bowed on November 11 and this weekend faced off against Happy Feet Two for the family audience. Largely positive notices and the British voice cast — including James McAvoy, Hugh Laurie, Jim Broadbent, Bill Nighy and Imelda Staunton — have no doubt been a local draw. Sony Pictures Releasing UK’s Peter Taylor said: “Opening a movie at No. 1 in such a competitive market as the UK is difficult enough, but to reach the top of the chart in the fourth week of release is almost unprecedented. We are all delighted.”
Tom Hooper Decides Against 3D For ‘Les Miserables’
Although director Tom Hooper flirted with the idea of filming the new movie version of the hit stage musical Les Miserables in 3D, the Oscar-winning helmer of The King’s Speech has decided to stick with 2D. Hooper told the BBC he had been “very tempted” to use 3D but worried that some audiences might “physically struggle” with the format. Not to worry, purists. “I can definitely announce it’s good old-fashioned 2D,” Hooper said at the British Independent Film Awards. “I wanted to make a film that would touch everyone. I believe the story is so strong, 3D is not essential.” Hooper added that the casting of Eponine and Cosette would be announced soon. “I’ve never done a film where big star actors are as obsessed with being in it as this.” Starring Hugh Jackman as Jean Valjean and Russell Crowe as Javert,
EXCLUSIVE: Rosario Dawson has won the hotly contested female lead in the Danny Boyle-directed Fox Searchlight drama Trance. She is poised to join James McAvoy and Vincent Cassel, who are both in negotiations to play the male leads in a film that will start production in September. McAvoy’s in talks to play the inside man in an art heist that goes wrong. He runs afoul of an accomplice (Cassel), and Dawson will play a woman who develops an unusual relationship with both men in a thriller that is as moderately budget and edgy as Shallow Grave and Trainspotting. Joe Ahearne and John Hodge wrote the script.
Deadline was first to reveal Trance in early May, when Boyle decided to work in a follow-up to 127 Hours even as he prepares to direct the opening ceremonies of next summer’s Olympics in London. He’s re-teaming with frequent producing collaborator Christian Colson. They will shoot the movie in the fall in London, then put it on a shelf while Boyle devotes himself to the Olympics beginning in January. When the games are over, Boyle will start cutting the film in August 2012 with the goal of having the picture ready for Fox Searchlight to release it in March 2013.
Elton John’s Rocket Pictures And Kelly Asbury Follow ‘Gnomeo’ With ‘Will Gallows And The Snake Bellied Troll’
EXCLUSIVE: Rocket Pictures is re-teaming with Gnomeo & Juliet writer/director Kelly Asbury on Will Gallows and the Snake Bellied Troll, a live-action/CGI-animated feature. Based on the first in a series of books by Derek Keilty, the film tells the story of a young cowboy who seeks justice in a world that mashes together fantasy and the Wild West. Andersen Press published the book last March. Rocket Pictures, which is Sir Elton John’s label formed to make family-themed film and TV projects, acquired the feature rights for a film that, like Gnomeo & Juliet, will have strong musical elements. Rocket Pictures’ Steve Hamilton Shaw and David Furnish will produce, and John will be executive producer.
“It’s a classic cowboy story for kids, set in an amazing world,” John said in a statement. “We think family audiences will love it.” Rocket and Asbury scored a sleeper hit with Gnomeo & Juliet, with James McAvoy and Emily Blunt the lead voices, and new songs by John. The film grossed just shy of $100 million domestically for Disney, and its worldwide gross was just over $190 million. Asbury co-directed with Andrew Adamson Shrek 2 and he also directed Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, both for DreamWorks. Both he and Rocket Pictures are repped by UTA.