Elaine Stritch‘s new docu opened in a pair of New York theaters this weekend to a decent crowd. The Tribeca ’13 doc opened at Lincoln Plaza and IFC Center grossing $30K. Now in a wheelchair and frail, the Tony and Emmy Award-winning actress/performer nevertheless made headlines last weekend when she delivered the F-bomb on The Today Show with Kathie Lee Gifford and Hoda Kotb, giving the film a round of publicity in the lead up to its weekend opening. Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me got off to a fantastic start as the film will roll out to the top twenty markets throughout March. “Audiences came out to see the well reviewed documentary about the legendary Emmy and Tony award winner,” noted IFC Films Sunday. It will also be available via VOD soon.
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Adopt Films opened its Foreign-Language Oscar nominee Omar in a fairly wide 51 theaters. The Palestinian feature by Hany Abu-Assad won festival accolades from Cannes, London, NYFF and AFI Fest had by far the widest opening among its fellow Oscar contenders that have opened Stateside. Tribeca Film’s Broken Circle Breakdown opened in one theater grossing $7,100 ($158 cume), while Magnolia’s The Hunt bowed in 10 theaters last July, growing $43K ($613 cume). Janus Films’ The Great Beauty is by far the box office winner among the pack, passing the $2 million cume threshold this week. It opened in one location in November, grossing $23,442. Strand’s The Missing Picture from Cambodia will open next month. Read More »
A new Oscar nominee is finally making its theatrical outing this weekend. Foreign-language contender Omar will open in over a few dozen locations, giving the director of this Palestinian feature his largest bow Stateside via Adopt Films. IFC Films will open Tribeca debut Elaine Stritch: Shoot Me in New York, capitalizing on the Tony and Emmy Award-winner’s long-time home before her recent move. Roadside Attractions will launch a pair of films, Barefoot and In Secret, though the two will have much different theatrical trajectories. Diginext will open doc The Standbys in NYC, capitalizing on its Broadway base, while Music Box Films’ genre label Doppelgänger Releasing will open Black Out in limited runs.
Director: Hany Abu-Assad
Cast: Adam Bakri, Leem Lubany, Iyad Hoorani, Essam Abu Aabed, Baher Agbariya
Distributor: Adopt Films
Combining elements of a thriller, intrigue and a love story, Oscar-nominated film (Foreign Language category) Omar had its premiere in Cannes and later screened in Toronto and at NYFF. The feature revolves around a young Palestinian fighter who agrees to work as an informant after he’s tricked into an admission of guilt by association after the killing of an Israeli soldier. “Omar showcases the human limitations of an occupied people where the collective paranoia invades the daily life of both the Israelis and Palestinians,” said Tim Grady, president of Distribution at Adopt Films, which also distributed Israeli film Bethlehem, also filmed in the West Bank. Read More »
Last year, I offered up a preview of the 15 films that had the most buzz going into the unveiling of the Foreign Language Oscar shortlist. Somehow this year, with a record 76 entries (last year it was 71), I whittled down another 15 films that have a shot at the shortlist which is expected to be finalized later this week. This was not an easy task in one of the strongest fields for foreign film in recent years. While 2012′s eventual winner Amour seemed like a foregone conclusion, this year has any number of possible outcomes. Movies that started their careers in Berlin and Cannes are represented below, but so are others that didn’t make it to those high-profile events. I spoke with the directors of each film about their inspirations and expectations, and in some cases with the U.S. distributor about what gave them the confidence to acquire. Notably, Harvey Weinstein clarifies the controversy surrounding an edit of Wong Kar Wai’s Hong Kong entry The Grandmaster. There’s also a lot more here from folks like Paolo Sorrentino, Thomas Vinterberg and Sebastian Lelio, among many others. The rules for selecting the final winner have changed this year with the entire Academy voting body able to weigh in without proving they have seen the films in a movie theater. But the regs for establishing the shortlist remain the same: The Phase I committee determines six of the nine films on the shortlist. The other three titles will be determined by the select Foreign Language Film Award Executive Committee. Those three extra titles might have international renown but been somehow overlooked by the larger committee (wink, wink City Of God, 4 Months, 3 Weeks And 2 Days and others). After that, an uber-committee of 30 higher profile members chooses the ultimate five nominees after viewing the finalists over the course of a long weekend. Below (in alphabetical order by title) are profiles of the 15 films that I believe have a shot at the first stage: Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: New York-based Adopt Films has been busy with a series of pickups this month including Israeli thriller Bethlehem, which is that country’s submission for the Foreign Language Oscar. Adopt also now has the entry from Palestine, Omar. The film, which won the Un Certain Regard Jury Prize in Cannes, is written and directed by Hany Abu-Assad. It’s the second of his features to be selected as the Palestinian Oscar representative — his 2005 Paradise Now ultimately scored a nomination. Adopt is planning a late-winter release for Omar which unspools at the New York Film Festival on October 11th. The story follows young Palestinian baker Omar (Adam Bakri), whose loyalty to family and country are complicated by his love for a beautiful young student. Adopt Films president Tim Grady said, “Hany Abu-Assad has delivered a classic story of love and betrayal. Omar is both a Shakespearean tragedy and a suspense thriller, replete with international intrigue and twists-and-turns, and double-crosses. The West Bank setting only magnifies the all-out drama and pathos of an occupied people.” Produced by co-star Waleed F. Zuaiter and David Gerson, Omar is a ZBROS Production. Grady and Adopt’s Jeff Lipsky negotiated the deal for U.S. rights with Brigitte Suarez of The Match Factory.