Kirsten Dunst and Jim Sturgess are star-crossed lovers separated by class, wealth, and a pair of side by side planets whose gravities are mutually incompatible in Upside Down, the second feature from French-Argentinian director Juan Diego Solanas. More than two years after wrapping in late 2010, the ambitious science fantasy romance, made for only $50M, will finally get a limited North American platform release beginning March 15. A dual production by Studio 37 and Onyx Films, Upside Down is distributed by Millennium Entertainment.
UPDATED: Lars von Trier’s Melancholia is the big winner as the National Society of Film Critics unveiled its awards today. The film took best picture honors, and star Kirsten Dunst was selected best actress as she was at the Cannes Film Festival. The drama beat out Terrence Malick’s The Tree Of Life for the top honor, according to the group’s vote total, followed by the Iranian film A Separation; Malick did win best director. Brad Pitt was voted best actor for Moneyball and Tree Of Life. Here’s the full list of winners:
*1. Brad Pitt – 35 (Moneyball, The Tree Of Life)
2. Gary Oldman – 22 (Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy)
3. Jean Dujardin – 19 (The Artist)
*1. Kirsten Dunst – 39 (Melancholia)
2. Yun Jung-hee – 25 (Poetry)
3. Meryl Streep – 20 (The Iron Lady)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTOR
*1. Albert Brooks – 38 (Drive)
2. Christopher Plummer – 24 (Beginners)
3. Patton Oswalt – 19 (Young Adult)
BEST SUPPORTING ACTRESS
*1. Jessica Chastain – 30 (The Tree Of Life, Take Shelter, The Help)
2. Jeannie Berlin – 19 (Margaret)
3. Shailene Woodley – 17 (The Descendants)
*1. Melancholia – 29 (Lars von Trier)
2. The Tree Of Life – 28 (Terrence Malick)
3. A Separation – 20 (Asghar Farhadi)
*1. Terrence Malick – 31 (The Tree Of Life)
2. Martin Scorsese – 29 (Hugo)
3. Lars von Trier – 23 (Melancholia)
Toronto: As Magnolia Turns 10, Owner Todd Wagner Says It’s Not For Sale And That VOD Strategy Is Thriving
EXCLUSIVE: Along with everything else about the 2001 Toronto Film Festival, the launch of Magnolia Pictures was quickly forgotten on September 11, as co-founder Eamonn Bowles and other indie film execs scrambled to find ways to get home. Magnolia marked its 10th anniversary at 2011 Toronto. While the company still doesn’t carry the profile of some other indie distributors, Bowles and co-owner Todd Wagner said their model — mixing traditional indie theatrical distribution with emerging digital technology — has made them distinctive and profitable. VOD revenues now often outpace theatrical for Magnolia films, and they return profit to filmmakers because of low P&A spends. Bowles and Wagner have been honing the VOD model since they were branded charlatans by theater chains in 2005 when Steven Soderbergh’s micro-budget film Bubble was released simultaneously on movie screens, VOD and DVD. Wagner and partner Mark Cuban put Magnolia and other film assets under the 2929 Entertainment banner on the selling block earlier this year, but pulled them back when they didn’t get a high price. Wagner said he’s staying.
Magnolia releases 35-40 films each year now, with upcoming releases that include the 2011 Toronto title Melancholia (which got Lars von Trier banned by Cannes for making dumb pro-Nazi comments). Some Magnolia efforts follow a theatrical release cycle, others go direct to DVD. But VOD has increasingly become the distributor’s calling card and Wagner said proof of its viability came when Harvey Weinstein poached Magnolia execs Tom Quinn and Jason Janego to start a VOD venture for The Weinstein Company.
“Harvey’s been in the industry forever, and he thought it was a good enough model to hire some of our folks away,” Wagner told me. “I’m flattered. There are other people doing this now, from IFC to John Sloss. To me, it’s validation that we’ve hit on something. But we’ve got an advantage, a unique collection of assets in the Landmark Theater chain, a home video division, and HDNet. The big theater chains still absolutely won’t play Ultra VOD titles, so having a theater chain is helpful. As is having the television network for the relationships it has made us with all the MSO’s. These synergies allow us to be freewheeling in how we license content. And producers are coming back to us with films because we are cutting them checks. That rarely happens elsewhere because of all the P&A that stands in front of them.”
EXCLUSIVE: Adam Scott has been set to star in A.C.O.D., with Stuart Zicherman making his directorial debut on a script he wrote with Ben Karlin. The project is being financed and produced by Black Bear Pictures, which is currently in production with an untitled Ramin Bahrani-directed pic that stars Zac Efron and Dennis Quaid.
The title, A.C.O.D., is an acronym for Adult Children of Divorce, and Scott plays a thirty-ish man who was forced at an early age to be the adult of his family when his parents split bitterly. Fed up dealing with his parents’ long running feud, he must get his folks together once more time and keep from blowing a gasket after his younger brother unexpectedly decides to get married. Black Bear’s Teddy Schwarzman is producing with Karlin (who co-created The Colbert Report) and Tim Perell. The film will shoot in March, and Scott will work it into his schedule starring in the NBC sitcom Parks and Rec.
Here’s a video look at Melancholia director Lars von Trier trying to be humorous during the press conference with some of the comments that got him banned from the Cannes Film Festival this morning. Poor Kirsten Dunst looks like she wants to melt through the floorboards as von Trier …
CANNES UPDATE: Lars Von Trier Apologizes After Saying During Press Conference That He’s A Nazi And Sympathizes With Hitler “A Bit”
UPDATE: 9:30 AM: Now director Lars von Trier has issued an apology: “If I have hurt someone this morning by the words I said at the press conference, I sincerely apologize. I am not anti-semitic or racially prejudiced in any way, nor am I a Nazi.”
PREVIOUS, 9:05 AM: The Cannes Film Festival has just issued a press release saying it was disturbed by von Trier’s comments and asked for an explanation from the Danish director, who it said has apologized.
The Festival de Cannes was disturbed about the statements made by Lars von Trier in his press conference this morning in Cannes. Therefore the Festival asked him to provide an explanation for his comments.
The director states that he let himself be egged on by a provocation. He presents his apology.
The direction of the Festival acknowledges this and is passing on Lars von Trier’s apology. The Festival is adamant that it would never allow the event to become the forum for such pronouncements on such subjects.
PREVIOUS, 6:31 AM: As usual, you can leave it to Danish director Lars von Trier to make waves. But now enough may be enough. Participating in the Cannes Film Festival for the 11th time,
the controversial helmer set more than a few mouths agape at a press conference following the 8:30 AM press screening of his latest opus, Melancholia. Because, asked at one point about his German roots — though he was actually born in Copenhagen in 1956 — he jumped right in with the kind of “Is he putting us on or what?” abandon he is known for:
“For a long time I was a Jew and I was happy to be a Jew, then I met Susanne Bier [fellow Danish director and this year's Oscar winner for Best Foreign Language Film] and I wasn’t so happy. But then I found out I was actually a Nazi. My family was German. That also gave me pleasure. What can I say? I understand Hitler. I sympathize with him a bit.”
Then, in the spirit of Mel Gibson, who wisely skipped The Beaver press conference yesterday, thereby dodging bullets of this type that come up from a room full of international press, von Trier kept on going:
“I don’t mean I’m in favor of World War II and I’m not against Jews, not even Susanne Bier. In fact I’m very much in favor of them. All Jews. Well, Israel is a pain in the ass [pause] … How can I get out of this sentence? OK, I’m a Nazi.”