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Specialty B.O.: ‘John Dies At The End’, ‘Happy People’, ‘Yossi’ Bow So-So, Holdovers ‘Amour’, ‘Quartet’ Solid

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

Marquee specialty newcomers were at a minimum this weekend, continuing a pattern that began with the New Year. Among the limited release debuts reporting Sunday, both Happy People: A Year In The Taiga from Werner Herzog and Israeli director Eytan Fox’s Yossi reported fair openings, while Magnolia Pictures’ John Dies At The End showed more momentum in its LA debut at one location with $13,500 making it the top opener among the specialties. Music Box Films’ Happy People opened at IFC Center in New York, grossing $9,882, while Strand Releasing’s Yossi bowed in two cinemas, taking in $13,208 for a $6,604 average. Among holdovers, Indomina’s LUV subtracted 24 theaters in the film’s second weekend, grossing $18K for a slight $857 average. Oscar hopeful Amour meanwhile held solid in another expansion and TWC’s Quartet also held robust numbers after adding 131 theaters. IFC Films’ Knife Fight, starring Rob Lowe as a poltical strategist, split $1,200 for the weekend between two theaters in LA and New York.

Siberian-set documentary Happy People: A Year In The Taiga bowed at NYC’s IFC Center with a so-so $9,882 that single location. Werner Herzog is a giant among documentary filmmakers, but the film, which premiered at the Telluride Film Festival in 2010, opened theatrically over the weekend in the shadow of the Oscar-nominated filmmaker’s 2011 release Cave Of Forgotten Dreams, which opened with an average of $27,820 in five theaters, though his Into The Abyss – also a 2011 release — only totaled $223,880 domestically. Music Box Films will add six markets including Los Angeles on February 15th and will expand to Chicago, the San Francisco Bay Area, Washington, D.C., and San Diego on February 22.  Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Knife Fight,’ ‘John Dies At The End’, ‘Happy People’, ‘Yossi,’

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

A sprinkling of familiar actors appear in this weekend’s new specialty releases. A fan of director Don Coscarelli’s work, Paul Giamatti joined the filmmaker’s latest, John Dies At The End. Rob Lowe stars as a political strategist who must confront his career path in Knife Fight. A star in the non-fiction world, Werner Herzog, returns to the big screen with a look at a Siberian community in Happy People: A Year In The Taiga. And one of Israel’s biggest directors, Eytan Fox, returns Stateside with a sequel to his 2002 feature Yossi & Jagger titled simply Yossi.

Knife Fight
Director, co-writer: Bill Guttentag
Co-writer: Chris Lehane
Cast: Rob Lowe, Jamie Chung, Julie Bowen, Jennifer Morrison, Carrie-Anne Moss
Distributor: IFC Films

IFC Films picked up rights to Knife Fight after it debuted last year at the Tribeca Film Festival. The distributor kept its festival run limited, following up Tribeca only with the Stockholm International Film Festival in November. “We are marketing the film as a smart political satire,” said IFC Films’ Ryan Werner. “Rob Lowe has been very supportive in doing press and also promoting the film for the VOD component of the release.” The feature centers on a political strategist who is juggling three clients and confronts whether or not to take the high road as the ugly side of his work begins to take its toll. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘John Dies At The End’

By | Tuesday October 30, 2012 @ 9:30pm PDT

Here’s a trailer for the sci-fi/horror film John Dies At The End, which was directed, produced and written by cult legend Don Coscarelli. Paul Giamatti stars (and is exec producer) as a shadowy figure investigating a street drug known as Soy Sauce, which promises an out-of-body experience with each hit, causing users to drift across time and dimensions with sometimes unwanted side effects. Magnolia’s Magnet Releasing picked up the film in August and will release it via its Ultra VOD program in December.

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Magnet Takes ‘John Dies At The End,’ Indican Acquires Ernest Borgnine’s Final Pic

Mike Fleming

In a couple of distribution deals that were just announced, the Magnolia Pictures’ genre arm Magnet Releasing has acquired worldwide rights to John Dies At The End, described as a “phantasmagoric new sci-fi/horror film” directed, produced and written for the screen by auteur and cult legend Don Coscarelli (Bubba Ho-Tep, the Phantasm series). Paul Giamatti stars (and is exec producer) with Chase Williamson, Rob Mayes, Clancy Brown, Glynn Turman and Doug Jones. The film is produced by M3 Creative’s Brad Baruh, Andy Meyers and Roman Perez, and based on the bestselling book by David Wong. Giamatti plays a shadowy figure investigating a street drug known as Soy Sauce, which promises an out-of-body experience with each hit, causing users to drift across time and dimensions.

Unfortunately, some return as no longer human. The film premiered as a work in progress at Sundance and SXSW and will be in the Midnight Madness section of Toronto before Magnet releases in late December through its Ultra VOD program.

Meanwhile, Indican Pictures has acquired North American rights to the late Ernest Borgnine’s final film, The Man Who Shook The Hand Of Vicente Fernández.  The pic will be released theatrically in Los Angeles this October, with additional select cities to follow, and will launch an awards campaign centered on Borgnine’s final performance, which won an … Read More »

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