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Specialty Box Office: ‘Dallas Buyers Club’ Reigns In “Smart-House” Debut; Controversial ‘Blue’ Loses Steam

Indie FilmsDallas Buyers Club cinched the top spot in the Specialty Box Office, grossing over $264K, averaging a strong $29K-plus in 9 theaters this weekend. The Toronto debut starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof who took on the medical establishment illegally importing promising drugs from abroad after learning he was HIV-positive.

“The word-of-mouth is stimulating the box office momentum which we see in the big increase from Friday to Saturday,” noted Focus Sunday. “Dallas experienced a strong increase in box office on Saturday with a 71% overall bump from Friday to Saturday. Yesterday’s increase is a strong indication that the film’s popular and box office momentum is working well. Grosses in the U.S. houses are strong with Dallas the #1 ranked film in 4 of the 6 opening houses.” Focus added that “smart-house films” historically increase in the upper 40% range from Friday to Saturday.

The distributor had more flush results from The Place Beyond The Pines earlier this year, grossing over $279 in 4 theaters in April, averaging nearly $70K. Had Dallas only opened in its 6 U.S. theaters, the average would have been $35K. The film also bowed in 3 Canadian locations this weekend. The result is an auspicious send off to the “Specialty” incarnation of Focus lead by James Schamus. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Dallas Buyers Club,’ ‘Man Of Tai Chi,’ ‘Broken Circle Breakdown,’ ‘Casting By,’ ‘Mr. Nobody,’ ‘The Visitor,’ ‘Big Sur,’ ‘The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology,’ ‘These Birds Walk’

By | Saturday November 2, 2013 @ 4:30pm PDT

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

After tapering off the last couple of weeks, a new surge of specialty films are hitting theaters. In one of Focus Features‘ final releases spearheaded by James Schamus and Andrew Karpen, Québécois director Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club begins its theatrical run this weekend. The film starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto had a two decade sojourn first as a studio property, then as an indie before finally making it to the big screen. RADiUS-TWC’s Man Of Tai Chi opens as the weekend’s widest indie title in over 100 theaters after a one month stint in Ultra-VOD. The company, meanwhile said that its income disparity doc Inequality For All by Jacob Kornbluth passed the $1 million mark this weekend and is continuing its theatrical run. Tribeca Film is opening Belgium’s Oscar contender Broken Circle Breakdown, which hopes its powerful bluegrass soundtrack will help extend its theatrical life. Submarine Deluxe’s doc Casting By includes a bounty of A-listers spotlighting the often sidelined role of the casting director. Leto stars in a second opener this weekend as Magnolia rolls out Mr. Nobody in regional markets, while Ketchup Entertainment joins the weekend debuts with Big Sur. Jean Marc-Barr, Kate Bosworth, Balthazar Getty, Josh Lucas and writer/director Michael Polish were joined by a cadre of guests for its New York premiere this week at the Sunshine Landmark Theater. Zeitgeist Films is opening The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology, a follow-up of sorts to The Pervert’s Guide To Cinema seven years ago. And Oscilloscope has These Birds Walk in a limited run.

Dallas Buyers Club
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writers: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn
Distributor: Focus Features

Dallas Buyers Club has roots tracing back to the ’90s when writer Craig Borten met with Ron Woodroof, the real-life personality behind Matthew McConaughey’s starring role in the film about a rough Texas electrician who finds out he’s HIV-positive in 1986 and takes on the medical establishment in order to have access and distribute potentially life preserving medication from abroad. “Craig Borten is a good friend of mine. He heard about Ron and met with him in Texas,” said producer Robbie Brenner who worked at Miramax by the time the first draft of the film was available in ’96. “I fell in love with it. At that juncture there were other people involved.” Borten solicited Brenner’s help. In one of its early stages Brad Pitt and Universal were involved with the project, though it languished at the studio for seven years before the company ultimately decided against it. Read More »

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RADiUS-TWC Reports Keanu Reeves Pic ‘Man Of Tai Chi’ Grossed $1.5 Million VOD

By | Friday November 1, 2013 @ 4:09pm PDT

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

EXCLUSIVE: Days after John Sloss began reporting real-time VOD grosses for the Disney-shot indie Escape From Tomorrow and challenged his peers to do the same, RADiUS-TWC co-heads Tom Quinn and Jason Janego have become the latest distributors to go the transparency route. Quinn and Janego have told me that their Keanu Reeves-directed martial arts film Man Of Tai Chi has grossed $1.5 million across digital, satellite and cable platforms ahead of today’s theatrical rollout.

The film began its Ultra-VOD window September 27, and Quinn and Janego were pleased with the results, while noting the film was not available on all satellite services or in hotels. “I’m pleased with that number out of the gate,” Quinn said. “I’m happy we’re able to make this film as widely available theatrically as possible and without VOD frankly we couldn’t do that. It just wouldn’t make sense financially.”

Related: Hot Trailer: Keanu Reeves’ ‘Man Of Tai Chi’

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Hot Trailer: Keanu Reeves’ ‘Man Of Tai Chi’

By | Wednesday September 4, 2013 @ 7:09pm PDT

Keanu Reeves makes his directorial debut with this drama set in modern Beijing. Man Of Tai Chi follows a young martial artist (Tiger Chen) who must compete in an underground fight club to protect his way of life. Reeves also stars along with Karen Mok in the Michael G. Cooney-penned pic. After its U.S. premiere at Fantastic Fest in Austin later this month, Tai Chi goes to VOD  on September 27 and hits theaters November 1 via Radius and The Weinstein Company. Check out the trailer:

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Keanu Reeves’ ‘Man Of Tai Chi’ Sets Fantastic Fest US Premiere

By | Wednesday July 24, 2013 @ 11:02am PDT

Keanu Reeves will trek to Austin’s Fantastic Fest for the US premiere of his directorial debut, Man of Tai Chi. The pic sold out of Cannes to Radius-TWC with designs on a late 2013 release. Reeves also stars in the pic opposite Tiger Chen, who plays a martial artist lured into an underground fighting circuit. Also in the initial lineup for the annual genre festival held September 19-26 are SXSW award winner Cheap Thrills and Erik Matti’s Filipino crime pic On The Job. As previously announced, Robert Rodriguez’s Machete Kills will open the fest. Scroll down for more just-announced titles. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Man Of Tai Chi’

By | Wednesday June 12, 2013 @ 7:30pm PDT

Keanu Reeves‘ directorial debut made a hot sale out of Cannes to Radius-TWC, which will release Man Of Tai Chi stateside later this year. Here’s the pic’s international trailer offering a peek at Reeves as the impresario of a Beijing underground fight club who taps a skilled tai chi practitioner (Tiger Hu Chen, Reeves’ Matrix stuntman and trainer) to battle on his deadly martial arts circuit:

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Cannes: Radius-TWC Buys Keanu Reeves’ Helming Debut ‘Man Of Tai Chi’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: In its second significant deal at Cannes, Radius-TWC acquired North American rights to Keanu Reeves‘ directorial debut Man Of Tai Chi in a low seven-figure minimum guarantee. The film is set in modern Beijing and follows the spiritual journey of a young martial artist (Tiger Hu Chen) whose unparalleled tai chi skills land him in a highly lucrative underworld fight club. As the fights grow tougher, he must compromise his own beliefs in order to survive. This is the second deal for Radius, which on Saturday acquired the Directors Fornight film Blue Ruin. TWC-Radius also has the Nicolas Winding Refn-directed Only God Forgives playing here at Cannes, with Ryan Gosling and Kristin Scott Thomas starring.

Related: Hammond: A New Day As HBO and VOD Movies Compete For Palme d’Or

Reeves, who also stars in the film, met Chen during The Matrix, where Chen was a stuntman and a trainer for Reeves. It’s Chen’s first lead role, and the film also stars international action fixtures like The Raid’s Iko Uwais and Jeremy Marinas. Michael G. Cooney wrote the script and Man Of Tai Chi is a co-production between China Film Group, Wanda Media, Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and Universal Pictures. Lemore Syvan is the producer. Radius will release the film in the fourth quarter of 2013.

Related: Cannes: Reeves Presents ‘Man Of Tai Chi’ Read More »

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Cannes: Keanu Reeves Presents Directorial Debut & China Co-Production ‘Man Of Tai Chi’

A representative of China Film Group today called Keanu Reeves’ upcoming Man Of Tai Chi “the most important co-production” for the company this year. Reeves makes his directorial debut with the kung-fu film that is a co-production from CFG, Wanda Media, Village Roadshow Pictures Asia and Universal Pictures. At a gathering to introduce clips from the film, Reeves said he shot for more than 105 days in Beijing and Hong Kong, where the crew was at one point locked on a set because of a severe typhoon. He chose this movie to make his helming debut because it was “the story I felt I could tell and wanted to tell and didn’t want anybody else to tell.”

Man Of Tai Chi focuses on a young, innocent martial artist who struggles to maintain his values amid the pressures of contemporary society. Tiger Chen plays the man who is lured into the underground boxing world where Reeves plays the man out to manipulate him. Reeves and Chen worked together on the Matrix movies where Chen taught Reeves about “wires and kicks and punches.” The pair became friends and over five years developed the story. Reeves says it was just about “four or five years ago that I started to think about directing. But I always said I would only direct if I had a story to tell.”

Giving himself an extra challenge, the story is told in Mandarin, Cantonese and English. Reeves says, “I had to listen. The process was very collaborative. I had great support in terms of translators, casting or working on a scene… As an actor, you’re part of telling a story and as a director you’re responsible for it, but you can’t do it yourself so the collaboration was the gift.” Read More »

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