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 Box Office: Holdovers ‘Amour’, ‘Quartet’ Flourish In Expansions

By | Sunday January 20, 2013 @ 10:34am PST

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

The specialty universe was focused on Sundance this weekend, catching first glimpses of some of the newest content likely to make its way to theaters or other platforms this year, but newcomers … Read More »

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Specialty Box Office Preview: Bruno Dumont’s ‘Hors Satan’, ‘Luv’

By | Thursday January 17, 2013 @ 10:46pm PST

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

The third full weekend of January is relatively quiet for newcomers in the specialty market. Two features are among the titles hitting a limited number of theaters including New Yorker Films’ Cannes 2011 title Hors Satan by French filmmaker Bruno Dumont. The distributor admitted that finding exhibitors was a challenge and illustrated how art house cinema has changed. Also headed to theaters is Sheldon Candis’ Luv via Indomina which is partnering with AMC Independent for its limited theatrical run.

Aside from those newcomers, the Weinstein Company is capitalizing on its eight Oscar nominations including Best Picture and Director for Silver Linings Playbook this weekend. TWC’s decision to open more slowly than originally planned for David O. Russell’s film appears to have paid off. Read More »

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Gersh Signs TV/Film Star Dennis Haysbert

By | Friday March 23, 2012 @ 11:19am PDT
Mike Fleming

Dennis Haysbert Gersh AgencyEXCLUSIVE: Dennis Haysbert has signed with Bob Gersh at the Gersh Agency. Haysbert, who starred in the series The Unit and films like Michael Mann’s Heat, has become most identified with his role as the Allstate spokesman. … Read More »

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Sundance ‘LUV’ Duo Lands At Gersh

By | Monday February 27, 2012 @ 11:35am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Gersh has signed Sheldon Candis and Justin Wilson. They co-wrote and Candis made his directorial debut on LUV, which premiered at Sundance in the US Dramatic Competition and was acquired by Indomina and BET in a 7-figure deal for … Read More »

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TOLDJA! Indomina-BET Buy Sundance ‘LUV’

By | Saturday February 11, 2012 @ 6:37am PST
Mike Fleming

Deadline revealed exclusively Wednesday that Indomina acquired North American theatrical distribution rights to LUV. And that a significant TV component was part of the deal 7-figure deal brokered by ICM and Cinetic. BET is the TV piece. The film is now being screened for international buyers at EFM in … Read More »

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Indomina Buying 2012 Sundance Film ‘LUV’

By | Wednesday February 8, 2012 @ 4:02pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: I’m told that Indomina Entertainment is making a distribution deal on LUV, the Sheldon Candis-directed film that premiered January 23 at the Eccles Theatre. The deal will be in the low seven-figures and includes a TV component. This comes … Read More »

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2012 Sundance Film Festival Sets Competition Slate

Mike Fleming

BREAKING: The Sundance Institute has unveiled the U.S. and World Cinema Dramatic and Documentary competition slate for the 2012 Sundance Film Festival that runs January 19-29. There is a total of 110 features. At the Gotham Awards earlier this week, both agents and distributors felt there would a bounty of promising films with no distribution. That could make for a lot of dealmaking, which is certainly the way it went down last January in Park City.

Here are the selections in all categories:

U.S. DRAMATIC COMPETITION
The world premieres of 16 American narrative feature films.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild / U.S.A. (Director: Benh Zeitlin, Screenwriters: Benh Zeitlin, Lucy Alibar) — Waters gonna rise up, wild animals gonna rerun from the grave, and everything south of the levee is goin’ under, in this tale of a six year old named Hushpuppy, who lives with her daddy at the edge of the world. Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry.

The Comedy / U.S.A. (Director: Rick Alverson, Screenwriters: Rick Alverson, Robert Donne, Colm O’Leary) — Indifferent even to the prospects of inheriting his father’s estate, Swanson whiles away his days with a group of aging Brooklyn hipsters, engaging in small acts of recreational cruelty and pacified boredom. Cast: Tim Heidecker, Eric Wareheim, Kate Lyn Sheil, Alexia Rassmusen, Gregg Turkington.

The End Of Love / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Mark Webber) — A young father unravels following the loss of the mother of his child. Cast: Mark Webber, Shannyn Sossamon, Michael Cera, Jason Ritter, Amanda Seyfried, Frankie Shaw.

Filly Brown / U.S.A. (Directors: Youssef Delara, Michael D. Olmos, Screenwriter: Youssef Delara) — A Hip Hop-driven drama about a Mexican girl who rises to fame and consciousness as she copes with the incarceration of her mother through music. Cast: Lou Diamond Phillips, Gina Rodriguez, Jenni Rivera, Edward James Olmos.

The First Time / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Jonathan Kasdan) — Two high schoolers meet at a party. Over the course of a weekend, things turn magical, romantic, complicated and funny, as they discover what it’s like to fall in love for the first time. Cast: Brittany Robertson, Dylan O’Brien, Craig Roberts, James Frecheville, Victoria Justice.

For Ellen / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: So Yong Kim) — A struggling musician takes an overnight long-distance drive in order to fight his estranged wife for custody of their young daughter. Cast: Paul Dano, Jon Heder, Jena Malone, Margarita Levieva, Shay Mandigo.

Hello I Must Be Going / U.S.A. (Director: Todd Louiso, Screenwriter: Sarah Koskoff) — Divorced, childless, demoralized and condemned to move back in with her parents at the age of 35, Amy Minsky’s prospects look bleak – until the unexpected attention of a teenage boy changes everything. Cast: Melanie Lynskey, Blythe Danner, Christopher Abbott, John Rubinstein, Julie White. DAY ONE FILM

Keep The Lights On / U.S.A. (Director: Ira Sachs, Screenwriters: Ira Sachs, Mauricio Zacharias) — An autobiographically inspired story of a passionate long-term relationship between two men driven by addiction and secrets but bound by love and hopefulness. Cast: Thure Lindhardt, Zachary Booth, Julianne Nicholson, Souleymane Sy Savane, Paprika Steen.

LUV / U.S.A. (Director: Sheldon Candis, Screenwriters: Sheldon Candis, Justin Wilson) — An orphaned 11-year-old boy is forced to face the unpleasant truth about his beloved uncle during one harrowing day in the streets of Baltimore. Cast: Common, Michael Rainey Jr., Dennis Haysbert, Danny Glover, Charles S. Dutton.

Middle Of Nowhere / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ava DuVernay) — When her husband is incarcerated, an African-American woman struggles to maintain her marriage and her identity. Cast: Emayatzy Corinealdi, David Oyelowo, Omari Hardwick, Lorraine Touissant, Edwina Findley.

Nobody Walks / U.S.A. (Director: Ry Russo-Young, Screenwriters: Lena Dunham, Ry Russo-Young) — Martine, a young artist from New York, is invited into the home of a hip, liberal LA family for a week. Her presence unravels the family’s carefully maintained status quo, and a mess of sexual and emotional entanglements ensues. Cast: John Krasinski, Olivia Thirlby, Rosemarie DeWitt, India Ennenga, Justin Kirk.

Safety Not Guaranteed / U.S.A. (Director: Colin Trevorrow, Screenwriter: Derek Connolly) — A trio of magazine employees investigate a classified ad seeking a partner for time travel. One employee develops feelings for the paranoid but compelling loner and seeks to discover what he’s really up to. Cast: Aubrey Plaza, Mark Duplass, Jake Johnson, Karan Soni.

Save The Date / U.S.A. (Director: Michael Mohan, Screenwriters: Jeffrey Brown, Egan Reich, Michael Mohan) — As her sister Beth prepares to get married, Sarah finds herself caught up in an intense post-breakup rebound. The two fumble through the redefined emotional landscape of modern day relationships, forced to relearn how to love and be loved. Cast: Lizzy Caplan, Alison Brie, Martin Starr, Geoffrey Arend, Mark Webber.

Simon Killer / France, U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Antonio Campos) — A recent college graduate goes to Paris after breaking up with his girlfriend of 5 years. Once there, he falls in love with a young prostitute and their fateful journey begins. Cast: Brady Corbet, Mati Diop, Constance Rousseau, Michael Abiteboul, Solo.

Smashed / U.S.A. (Director: James Ponsoldt, Screenwriters: Susan Burke, James Ponsoldt) — Kate and Charlie are a young married couple whose bond is built on a mutual love of music, laughter and… drinking. When Kate decides to get sober, her new lifestyle brings troubling issues to the surface and calls into question her relationship with Charlie. Cast: Mary Elizabeth Winstead, Aaron Paul, Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, Megan Mullally.

The Surrogate / U.S.A. (Director and screenwriter: Ben Lewin) — Mark O’Brien, a 36-year-old poet and journalist with an iron lung, decides he no longer wishes to be a virgin. With the help of his therapist and the guidance of his priest, he contacts a professional sex surrogate to take him on a journey to manhood. Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy. Read More »

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