Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Canadian filmmaker/actress Sarah Polley‘s documentary Stories We Tell is leading the pack of specialty releases among titles reporting early Sunday afternoon ET. The Venice/Telluride/Toronto ’12 debut, which headed into release with strong word of mouth and festival acclaim, grossed a solid $31K in two locations and saw its grosses shoot up Friday to Saturday by a spectacular 172%. The feature, which is a personal account of Polley’s family, received a 92 score on Metacritic and 94% fresh on Rotten Tomatoes.
“The opening is in the range of openings of last year’s doc hits Searching For Sugar Man from SPC ($9153 a screen opening on 3 screens in NY/LA, $3,657,684 final gross) and Queen Of Versailles from Magnolia ($17,109 a screen opening on 3 screens in NY/LA, $2,401,999 final gross), which is right where we want to be,” said Roadside Attractions Sunday.
The film will head into 20 runs in the top 7 markets next weekend.
Also opening with decent numbers is Zeitgeist’s doc One Track Heart: The Story Of Krishna Das, which took in $7,500 in one Manhattan theater. IFC Films’ comedy/thriller hybrid Sightseers languished with a $4,200 average in its debut in two runs, while Anchor Bay’s No One Lives opened in an ambitious 53 theaters but only scraped together an $866 average.
READ MORE »
UPDATE: Took awhile, but I’ve gotten clarity on this Jeff Nichols Warner Bros project, and it was worth the wait. Michael Shannon, the Boardwalk Empire star who turned in a powerhouse performance in Nichols’ Take Shelter and appeared more recently in Mud, will star in Midnight Special, which Nichols wrote and will direct at Warners. Described to me as a contemporary science fiction chase film, the pic will be produced by Sarah Green and Brian Kavanaugh-Jones, with Glen Basner and Christos V. Konstantakopoulos the exec producers. Shannon just played a hitman in The Iceman, and he plays General Zod in the Superman reboot Man Of Steel, so he is absolutely on the Warner Bros radar. Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Mud kicked up the dirt in the specialty realm with a hefty opening and some decent audiences to boot. The Roadside Attractions release directed by Jeff Nichols and starring Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon bowed with $2.185 million in a release strategy Roadside says is the new path for certain indie/specialties featuring named talent. The Weinstein Company launched Kon-Tiki in one theater each in NYC and LA, taking the weekend’s highest per screen average with $11,167 among limited releases. Another big specialty release, Arthur Newman, however, tanked with a $435 average in 248 theaters. The weekend happened to coincide with the most beautiful weather in New York City in what seems like years. It was a crowded space with many new specialty releases and the lure of staying outside. But roll out they did. Sony Classics’ At Any Price had a slight opening in four theaters, IFC Films fared better with Venice opener The Reluctant Fundamentalist in three theaters, and Paladin/108 Media’s Salman Rushdie-written Midnight’s Children opened with $12,200 in two theaters. Meanwhile one film, which almost didn’t have formal distribution at all — An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty — scored a solid opening with no stars.
Roadside Attractions has verbally called out the traditional NY/LA two-to-four (or so) platform release strategy that has been the norm for many-a-specialty release. Believing it can capitalize on a blitz of media, when the film has at least one star, and a flurry of social media, the distributor has forgone the traditional limited release roll out and opened — at least in indie world numbers — fairly widely. Mud had a $6,022 average. Not gargantuan, but it debuted in 363 theaters. McConaughey and Witherspoon star in the pic, which factored into Roadside’s strategy. For comparison’s sake, Roadside’s Emperor with Tommy Lee Jones opened March 8th in 260 theaters with just over $1 million. That was nearly one-third of its come, which has topped out at a bit under $3.3 million to date. “The world moves fast. Emperor frankly didn’t have amazing reviews but had a million dollar opening,” said Roadside chief Howard Cohen. “I think the old model has come outdated especially when the PR is front loaded.” Cohen noted that their strategy with a release like Mud works when the film includes named talent. The traditional mode is still a good one theatrically when there isn’t”.
Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
This weekend boasts a big number of Specialty Releases ranging from star-powered features to smaller offerings with non-pro actors. Jeff Nichols’ Mud with Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon opens in over 300 theaters courtesy of Roadside Attractions, while Cinedigm’s Arthur Newman stars Emily Blunt, Colin Firth and Anne Heche. Sony Classics will platform release At Any Price, which stars Dennis Quaid, Kim Dickens, Zac Efron as well. The Weinstein Company with its Pacific adventure, Kon-Tiki. Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist with Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber and Kiefer Sutherland had a wild ride before it finally opened the Venice Film Festival last August and Terence Nance’s An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty received new life after winning a Gotham Award. Joining the fray this weekend are Torch Films’ Aquí Y Allá and Factory 25′s Sun Don’t Shine which will open in L.A. and New York respectively.
Director-writer: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Writer-director Jeff Nichols had the idea for Mud back in college during the ’90s. The film follows two teenage boys who encounter a fugitive (McConaughey) and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love. “I was thinking who I’d like to hang out with on an island on the Mississippi River and that was Matthew McConaughey”, joked Nichols who spoke at the Apple Store in SoHo last weekend in New York. “And I liked him in Lone Star”. “He is the DNA of the project”, said McConaughey. “I’ve done over 40 films and I’ve never done one in which we stayed so closely to the script as on this film”. The Cinema Society hosted the New York premiere of Mud last Sunday and Nichols and McConaughey were joined by Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Paulson at the event and party at nightspot Harlow. Witherspoon did not join the Apple store conversation and she also notably cancelled scheduled appearances on GMA and Fallon following her recent arrest in Georgia. Asked if he thought Witherspoon’s turn from the public eye might affect the film’s opening weekend, Roadside Attractions chief Howard Cohen sounded upbeat. “We’re doing a big television buy and we have Matthew out everywhere”, he said. “We’re totally focused on the great things we’ve done and she’s great in the movie. It happened and it’s played out, but she’s great and did a ton of press ahead of time and she also attended the premiere and I don’t think it will have an impact”. Read More »
Sundance London, the film and music festival whose sophomore edition kicks off next month, has added three features to its roster. Stuart Zicherman’s A.C.O.D. starring Adam Scott, Richard Jenkins, Catherine O’Hara, Amy Poehler, Mary Elizabeth Winstead and Clark … Read More »
Writer-director Jeff Nichols’ third feature is screening at Sundance starting tomorrow. The tale which debuted last May at Cannes involves a pair of teenage boys who discover a boat wedged in a tree on an island in the Mississippi River. A drifter played by Matthew McConaughey intrudes and complications … Read More »
Jeff Nichols‘ Mud premiered in competition at the Cannes Film Festival last year. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions later jointly acquired it for the U.S. with a release coming this spring. Before that, it will premiere Stateside as part of the Spotlight section of … Read More »
Deadline Awards Columnist Pete Hammond hopped off his flight from France and immediately (well, after a coffee) sat down with ENTV to break down the just-completed Cannes Film Festival. Pete was in the crowd Sunday when Michael Haneke’s drama Amour was awarded the coveted Palme d’Or and says the film’s … Read More »
Judging from the bad buzz that has haunted it since a 2PM buyers screening on May 16, the first day of the 65th Cannes Film Festival, you might have thought FilmNation’s and Everest Entertainment’s Mud was as appealing at its … Read More »