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Specialty Box Office: ‘Mandela,’ ‘Philomena’ Holiday Pushes Pay Off For TWC; Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ Bombs (UPDATED)

By Deadline’s Brian Brooks and Jen Yamato.

Specialty Box Office Mandela OldboyThanksgiving weekend yielded a box office bounty for The Weinstein Co. and a turkey for FilmDistrict and Spike Lee in a holiday weekend with slim competition from indie comers. TWC made a pair of bold moves, opening awards hopeful Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom on 4 screens to a strong $100,306 take averaging $25,076 per screen; the drama starring Idris Elba as South African president Nelson Mandela built up word of mouth on the fest circuit at Toronto, Mill Valley, The Hamptons, Chicago, and AFI Fest. TWC also seized the chance to bump last week’s Judi Dench-starrer Philomena from 4 theaters to 835 theaters and the pic subsequently broke into the Top 10 with a $4,538 average and a $3.789M weekend. Dench stars alongside Steve Coogan in the true story of a woman searching for the son she gave up for adoption decades earlier, Spike Lee Oldboy Bomba heartwarming family tale that was primed for holiday viewing. Alas, Thanksgiving weekend wasn’t quite so kind to FilmDistrict’s Oldboy which in its own bloody way is also about the ties that bind. Spike Lee‘s remake of the brutally violent Korean thriller from Park Chan-Wook, stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sharlto Copley in a vengeance saga with extreme twists and turns not for the faint of heart. It took in a paltry $850K on the weekend, averaging $1,458 in 583 theaters.

In other openers this weekend, IFC Films’ doc The Punk Singer bowed to a $24K gross in three locations from Friday to Sunday. The company noted that the doc “sold out multiple shows in New York and LA for its debut. The documentary on punk singer icon Kathleen Hanna will roll out to the top 10 markets in December. And Vitagraph opened Caught In The Web in one location. It was a slow start with a $330 gross.

IFC Films added three additional theaters for Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? in its second frame, grossing just under $20K for a $3,390 PSA. The feature averaged $10,620 in its opening last weekend in a trio of locations. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom’, ‘Oldboy’, ‘The Punk Singer’

By | Wednesday November 27, 2013 @ 8:11pm PST

boxoffice-specialty__111212022432-200x150 (1)There’s a parade in New York that might get weathered out. Disney’s Frozen is icing up across the country and even TWC’s Philomena is nearly wide. Good, here are some alternatives. TWC likely has this weekend’s obvious choice among the Specialties with film festival favorite Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. By the way, this won’t be the last film-going aficionados will see of the South African icon. South African filmmaker Khalo Matabane’s A Letter To Nelson Mandela debuted at IDFA (International Documentary Film Festival Amsterdam), the world’s biggest doc fest. Just saying — no doubt there will be a lot said about one of the biggest historical figures in recent decades. Also this weekend, FilmDistrict is launching Oldboy, the American remake courtesy of Spike Lee. Originally made in movie form by Korean director Park Chan-wook (2003) this Oldboy stars a good plethora of starrage from Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson and more. On the doc front, IFC Films will open a SXSW premiere, The Punk Singer in limited release theatrically in NYC and LA (along with that ever elusive VOD/digital). The distributor says it expects it to do well across all platforms.

Mandela: Long Walk To Freedommandela
Director: Justin Chadwick
Writer: William Nicholson
Cast: Idris Elba, Naomie Harris, Terry Pheto, Tony Kgoroge, Riaad Moosa, Simo Mogwaza
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

South Africa’s maverick anti-Apartheid leader turned President Nelson Mandela has been the focus of worldwide reverence for years and it has more recently gone into full throttle as the now 95 year-old leader’s health deteriorates. Based on the 1994 autobiography of the same name, the Toronto/Mill Valley/Hamptons/Chicago/AFI Fest (and more) bio-drama Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom chronicles the near saintly figure’s journey from his childhood in rural South Africa, activism and long imprisonment on Robben Island through to his inauguration as the first democratically elected President of South Africa. Read More »

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FilmDistrict Shifts ‘Oldboy’ Release To Thanksgiving Weekend

By | Monday July 29, 2013 @ 4:29pm PDT

FilmDistrict is moving Oldboy‘s release to a crowded Thanksgiving Eve, November 27, about a month later than its initial October 25 date. The Spike Lee-directed film now will go up against two Weinstein Company pics: Grace Of Monaco and Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom. Also set for release that weekend are Fox Searchlight’s musical Black Nativity, Buena Vista’s animated Frozen, Open Road’s Homefront and the Relativity thriller Out Of The Furnace.

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Hot Trailer: Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’

By | Wednesday July 10, 2013 @ 1:08pm PDT

Josh Brolin, Sharlto Copley, Samuel L. Jackson, and Elizabeth Olsen star in Spike Lee‘s remake of the brutal Korean pic about a man out for vengeance against the mysterious enemy who imprisoned him for 20 years. FilmDistrict will release Oldboy on October 25. Check out the redband trailer debut:

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FilmDistrict Shifts ‘Oldboy’ Release Date

By | Thursday May 23, 2013 @ 10:33am PDT

The Spike Lee-directed remake of Park Chan-wook’s cult Korean classic will now see its wide release on October 25, 2013, after FilmDistrict originally slated it for October 11. Oldboy will now bow opposite Paramount’s Paranormal Activity 5, which already had the date. Josh Brolin, Samuel L. Jackson, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley star in the revenge pic, which was originally part of Park’s Vengeance trilogy that included Lady Vengeance and Sympathy For Mister Vengeance. That latter movie is also getting a U.S. remake, with Silver Reel and Lotus Entertainment announcing in Cannes that they are partnering with di Bonaventura Pictures and CJ Entertainment for an English-language version from a script by Broken City‘s Brian Tucker.

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Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ Gets October 2013 Release Date

By | Friday October 19, 2012 @ 11:14am PDT

FilmDistrict so far has October 11, 2013 all to itself on the release schedule with Oldboy, which stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Sharlto Copley and Samuel L. Jackson in a remake of Park Chan-wook’s 2003 cult suspense thriller. Spike Lee is directing. Brolin plays an advertising executive who is kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement without any indication of his captor’s motive. When he is released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his punishment only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment. Mark Protosevich wrote the adapted screenplay and is co-producing.

FilmDistrict picked up U.S. distribution rights to Oldboy last month in Toronto. It is set as the first title from Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane’s Good Universe. Kahane produced with Vertigo Entertainment’s Roy Lee and Doug Davison, and Drake, FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel and John Middleton executive produced. The film is also a 40 Acres & A Mule production.

The original South Korean film won the Grand Prize Jury Award at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival.

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Toronto: FilmDistrict Grabs U.S. Rights To Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’

By | Friday September 7, 2012 @ 7:33am PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: FilmDistrict grabbed US distribution rights to Oldboy, the Spike Lee-directed remake of the crazy South Korean suspense film. Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, and Sharlto Copley star. Roy Lee and Doug Davison via Vertigo Entertainment and Nathan Kahane on behalf of Good Universe. FilmDistrict CEO Peter Schlessel, Joe Drake of Good Universe, and John Middleton will executive produce. Mark Protosevich wrote the adapted screenplay and is co-producing. Audrey Chon and Matt Leonetti are overseeing the film for Good Universe. The film is also a 40 Acres & A Mule production.

FilmDistrict’s Peter Schlessel stated, “Spike Lee is the right filmmaker to reimagine and put his touch onto arguably one of the most talked about thrillers in recent memory. The cast that he and producers Nathan, Joe, Roy and Doug have put together is sure to elevate the material and engage audiences. FilmDistrict is proud to be releasing one of the first films from Good Universe here in the U.S.”

Brolin plays an ad exec who is kidnapped and held hostage for 20 years in solitary confinement without any indication of his captor’s motive. When he is inexplicably released, he embarks on an obsessive mission to discover who orchestrated his bizarre and torturous punishment only to find he is still trapped in a web of conspiracy and torment. His quest for revenge leads him into an ill-fated relationship with a young social worker (Olsen) and ultimately to an odd man (Copley) who allegedly … Read More »

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Good Universe Continues Ramp-Up With Promotions

By | Monday July 23, 2012 @ 6:05pm PDT

Joe Drake Nathan Kahane Good UniverseEXCLUSIVE: Good Universe, the full-service movie financing, production and sales company launched by Joe Drake and Nathan Kahane just ahead of this year’s Cannes Film Festival, has promoted a trio of execs. Audrey Chon has been upped to VP Production, where she will continue to oversee the development of the Spike Lee remake of Oldboy, which is set to kick off production in the fall with Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen and Sharlto Copley starring. Meryl Emmerton has been promoted to VP Physical Production; she was director of physical production previously, the same title she held at Good Universe predecessor Mandate Pictures. She is working on Oldboy and Last Vegas, the buddy comedy the company is making with partner CBS Films that stars Michael Douglas, Robert De Niro, Morgan Freeman and the just-added Kevin Kline. Also promoted is onetime Mandate controllor Jeremy Needelman to VP Strategy, Finance and Accounting.

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Sharlto Copley Cast in ‘Open Grave,’ Confirmed For Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’

By | Tuesday May 1, 2012 @ 1:27pm PDT

Sharlto Copely OldboyEXCLUSIVE: Sharlto Copley is heading to Hungary to begin shooting Gonzalo Lopez-Gallego’s Open Grave, and he has closed his deal to play the villain in Spike Lee’s Oldboy, a remake of the cult 2003 Korean revenge thriller from Park Chan-wook. The actor, who made his mark with his starring role in the Oscar-nominated District 9 followed by The A-Team, will play the lead character in Lopez-Gallego’s follow-up to Apollo 18. Copley’s character wakes up in the pit full of rotting bodies with no idea how he got there, begins to have flashbacks of himself murdering people and stars to believe he’s the killer. Charles Roven’s Atlas Independent is producing. Copley has also been confirmed to play the villain Adrian Pryce in Oldboy. Pryce is a mysterious billionaire trying to destroy the life of Joe Douchett (Josh Brolin). The new Oldboy begins shooting in late September from a script adapted by Mark Protosevich, who will co-produce. Roy Lee and Doug Davison produce via Vertigo Entertainment with Lee’s 40 Acres & A Mule. Mandate president Nathan Kahane executive produces.

Copley, repped by WME, just wrapped filming District 9 filmmaker Neill Blomkamp’s Elysium opposite Matt Damon and Jodie Foster for MRC; it will be released in March 2013.

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Josh Brolin To Star In Spike Lee’s ‘Oldboy’ Redo For Mandate

By | Monday August 29, 2011 @ 12:24pm PDT
Mike Fleming

BREAKING: Josh Brolin was rumored to be on the short list to star in Spike Lee’s Oldboy, a remake of the cult 2003 Korean revenge thriller from Park Chan-wook. Now it’s official: Brolin will topline the Mandate Pictures redo, which begins production in March. Brolin, who just wrapped Men in Black 3 with Will Smith, next begins work on Warner Bros’ Gangster Squad. It looks like he’ll squeeze in Oldboy before shooting Jason Reitman’s Labor Day opposite Kate Winslet; that movie is set to begin production in June.

The new Oldboy has script adapted by Mark Protosevich, who will co-produce. Roy Lee and Doug Davison will produce via Vertigo Entertainment with Lee’s 40 Acres & A Mule. Mandate president Nathan Kahane will executive produce. Originally, DreamWorks was looking to pick up remake rights in 2008, with the idea that Steven Spielberg would direct Smith. The story centers on a man who is kidnapped on his daughter’s birthday and held for 15 years in solitary confinement without explanation. He is eventually released and sets out on a path to take revenge on those who destroyed his life.

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Spike Lee To Direct ‘Oldboy’ For Mandate

By | Monday July 11, 2011 @ 11:42am PDT

Mandate Pictures just announced that Spike Lee will direct Oldboy, a remake of the cult 2003 South Korean film directed by Park Chan-wook that won the Grand Jury Prize at the 2004 Cannes Film Festival. Mark Protosevich has adapted the screenplay and will co-produce; Roy Lee and Doug Davison will produce via Vertigo Entertainment with Lee’s 40 Acres & A Mule. Mandate president Nathan Kahane will executive produce. Lee and Protosevich are repped by CAA. Dan Freedman, SVP business affairs, negotiated the deals for Mandate. This is the project that Steven Spielberg and Will Smith were looking to collaborate on back in 2008, with DreamWorks seeking the remake rights at the time. The film originally was set up at Universal before Mandate took over. The story centers on a man who is kidnapped on his daughter’s birthday and held for 15 years in solitary confinement without explanation. He is eventually released and sets out on a path to take revenge on those who destroyed his life.

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