Magnolia Pictures appears to have another strong documentary on its 2012 slate. The distributor bowed Kevin Macdonald’s documentary Marley at 42 locations Friday 4/20 (a coincidental date?) to impressive numbers theatrically, averaging over $6K per site and a taking a weekend gross of more than a quarter million dollars. Magnolia has also spun box office gold with doc Jiro Dreams Of Sushi, which has had a seven-week run, topping out over $1.5 million. Marley was No. 1 “in all but a handful of complexes and usually by multiples over the next highest film,” Magnolia president Eamonn Bowles told Deadline, “which is great news for expanding in the next couple of weeks. In addition, we were the number six film in all iTunes on Friday, which bodes extremely well for the digital and VOD platforms. This looks to be an extremely profitable film for us.” Marley opened as Screen Gems’ Think Like A Man became North America’s number one movie, averaging $16,377 in 2,015 theaters.
The specialty weekend’s per screen average winner, however, goes to Sony Pictures Classics’ debut of Darling Companion, which averaged $11,574 from four locations. Directed by Lawrence Kasdan, Darling Companion producer Anthony Bregman told Deadline that unlike his previous baby boomer films, this one had to be made as an independent film. In other openers, Sundance Selects’ Goodbye First Love bowed more modestly also at four locations, averaging $5,300, while its sister label IFC Midnight opened The Moth Diaries in two theaters, averaging a sluggish $1,200. Entertainment One’s Jesus Henry Christ launched comparatively stronger, but nevertheless mildly, with an average just over $3K at three locations. Read More »
Two specialty titles opening this coming weekend might have had studio backing in the past if not for the changing nature of the biz. Darling Companion and The Moth Diaries traveled a more “independent film” route on their way to the screen, bypassing controls that may have lead to very different films — if they would even have been made at all. Downtown Express used music and the backdrop of New York City to tell its story shot on a tight budget, while Kevin Macdonald’s doc Marley found non-financing challenges on its way through production. Also encountering unexpected turbulence during production, Jesus Henry Christ shot north of the border during some particularly crazy events in Toronto.
Director: Lawrence Kasdan
Writers: Lawrence Kasdan, Meg Kasdan
Cast: Diane Keaton, Kevin Kline, Dianne Wiest
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics Lawrence Kasdan’s latest returns his focus to baby boomers reminiscent of some of his past work. In this feature, he spotlights the story of a woman who loves her dog more than her husband. And naturally the situation worsens when he loses the dog. “What we were shooting for is trying to talk to that generation and about their lives as John Updike did in the Rabbit series,” Darling Companions producer Anthony Bregman told Deadline. “It’s along the lines of other [Kasdan] films that check in with that generation.” But unlike the director’s past work including The Accidental Tourist and The Big Chill, studios did not come knocking. “The industry has changed a lot since those films came out,” Bregman said, adding that studios shy away from stories like Darling Companions so the production had to take a different approach in order to get the feature completed. “This time, it was an independent production with a quicker shoot. We didn’t have the same luxuries that are typical of a studio film,” he said. “The challenge was to stick to the agenda while maintaining a high production value and ambitious casting.” Read More »
Magnolia Pictures had already picked up U.S. rights to the Kevin Macdonald documentary about the reggae legend. The pic made its world premiere last weekend at the Berlin festival, where it sold a slew of territories. Magnolia has set an April 20 release for North America, and it is timed to roll out worldwide throughout the summer to coincide with the 50th anniversary of Jamaican Independence. Here’s the trailer, which promises new tracks and never-before-seen footage.
Universal Pictures Intl. Entertainment has just acquired the Bob Marley documentary Marley, for all rights within the UK and Scandinavia. Lucky Red has picked up rights for Italy and Avalon Distribution has Spain. Magnolia Pictures previously acquired U.S. rights to the Shangri-La Entertainment/Tuff Gong Pictures production. Directed by Kevin Macdonald, the film is scheduled for theatrical release in North America and the UK on April 20th, then will roll out worldwide throughout the summer to coincide with the 50th anniversary year of Jamaican Independence. Macdonald, Rohan Marley and longtime Bob Marley collaborator Neville Garrick will be in Berlin to present the film on February 12th. Filming took place in Ghana, Japan and the UK as well as in Jamaica and the U.S. It’s the first time Marley’s family has authorized use of their private archives. Directors of photography include Alwin Kuchler and Mike Eley. The editor is Dan Glendenning.
Fortissimo Films has also sold South Africa (Nu Metro), Portugal (Lusomundo / Film & TV House), Germany & Austria (Studio Canal Germany), Poland (Best Film), France (Wild Side Films), Latin America (HBO Latin America Pan Regional Pay TV), Australia & New Zealand (Roadshow Films PTY Ltd), Benelux (E1), Middle East (Front Row) and Switzerland (Elite Film A.G.).
Reggae guru Bob Marley will hit the big screen April 20th via Magnolia Pictures in addition to day-and-date on VOD and digital platforms. Directed by Kevin Macdonald (The Last King Of Scotland), the documentary will have its world premiere at the upcoming Berlin International Film Festival, followed by a North American debut in March at SXSW. Made with support from the Marley family, the feature chronicles the singer’s early days through to his rise to stardom. VH1 is set to license the first TV window of the film as part of the network’s VH1 Rock Doc franchise. Steve Bing of Shangri-La Entertainment and Charles Steel produced Marley, which is executive produced by the musician’s son Ziggy Marley and Island Records founder Chris Blackwell. The deal was negotiated for Magnolia by SVP Acquisitions Dori Begley and Head of Business Affairs Chris Matson, for VH1 by Ben Zurier and Brad Abramson, and with Liesl Copland of WME Global on behalf of the filmmakers.