Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty opened Wednesday with the highest-ever midweek per-theater debut at $24,969 and 5-theater opening-day total of $124,848 and it’s having a great pre-Christmas weekend. Sony’s decision to delay the movie’s release until after the presidential election and to go with a limited debut appears to have paid off. The controversial but critically praised heavyweight grossed a whopping $410K at only five locations and handily won the highest per screen average of any film in theatrical release with $82,000. That is just shy of Lincoln’s $85,846 average when it opened in 11 theaters in early November and it is well ahead of Bigelow’s Oscar winner The Hurt Locker‘s $36,338 average when it opened in 4 theaters in June of 2009. Named Best Picture by a slew of critics groups including The New York Film Critics Circle, Zero Dark Thirty will head to wide release January 11th, the day after Oscar nominations are announced.
Sony Pictures Classics’ Palme d’Or and LA Film Critics winner Amour bowed solidly this weekend — the only new title among specialty films to fare so well. Amour averaged $23,554 in three theaters in its platform debut. Smaller audiences went along for the ride with IFC Films’ On The Road despite its star power. Road averaged $10,800 in 4 locations. Lionsgate-Summit’s The Impossible averaged a middling $9,250 from 15 theaters, while Paramount Vantage’s Not Fade Away took an average of $6,333 in three runs.
Amour’s arrival had momentum with its Cannes Film Festival win and other accolades, but its tough subject matter – a husband and wife confronting mortality – nevertheless made it a challenge. Its weekend average topped director Michael Haneke’s previous Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon, which opened with a $19,949 average in three theaters in 2009 and far outpaced his $11,402 opening average for Cache in 2005. SPC co-president Michael Barker Read More »
Two Cannes titles finally make it to theaters this holiday weekend in the specialty arena. Palme d’Or winner Amour has picked up critical accolades although its tough subject matter may prove a challenge for audiences. IFC Films’ On The Road has some star wattage from Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Garrett Hedlund in the screen version of the 20th century American classic. Also taking on some tough subject matter is Toronto’s The Impossible starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor based on a true story of survival during the 2004 tsunami. And Not Fade Away will roll out under the Paramount Vantage label after an extensive run at festivals and word-of-mouth screenings.
On The Road
Director: Walter Salles
Writers: Jose Rivera (screenplay), Jack Kerouac (novel)
Cast: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Sturridge, Amy Adams
Distributor: IFC Films
This one has been a long time coming. Francis Ford Coppola first picked up rights to the On The Road novel in 1979 and served as executive producer on the film after asking Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles to take on the project. Salles spent a good deal of time researching the period known popularly as the Beat Generation and even filmed a documentary about On The Road before undertaking the feature. Kirsten Dunst was the first to come on board a number of years ago and Kristen Stewart actually first joined before undertaking her first Twilight Saga installment. Into The Wild director Sean Penn suggested her. The feature screened this year at the Cannes Film Festival, but IFC Films picked up the title prior to its debut there. Read More »
A new trailer went up today for the Walter Salles picture On The Road. Adapted by José Rivera from the Jack Kerouac novel, it stars Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund and Kristen Stewart plus Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss and Viggo Mortensen. The IFC Films and Sundance Selects release opens December 21st in New York City and Los Angeles and will expand nationwide in January.
Film financing group BackUp Media is joining forces with Groupe 1, the company founded in 2002 by former Studio Canal exec Daniel Marquet. The new partnership will source and represent 10-15 international projects per year with budgets up to 30M euros. The parties will look to work with independent film & TV producers to develop and structure financing for “commercially viable projects with artistic ambition,” they said today. Since its inception in 2002, BackUp has packaged the financing and distribution of dozens of films with a total aggregate budget of over 200M euros. Their recent credits include Walter Salles’ On The Road and omnibus picture 7 Days In Havana. Marquet most recently secured a significant part of the financing for Christophe Gans’ La Belle Et La Bête. His clients include Pan-Européenne, Nord-Ouest Films and Yellow Bird for which he sold the Millenium series. Read More »
The Toronto International Film Festival officially kicked off tonight with gala screenings of FilmDistrict’s time-tripping sci-fi action flickLooper starring Bruce Willis and Joseph Gordon Levitt, plus two Cannes premieres making their official North American bows. On The Road, the 1950s beat movie about Jack Keroauc, drew stars Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst and others, while French helmer Jacques Audiard’s Rust & Bone arrived with stars Marion Cotillard and Matthias Schoenaerts in tow. Cotillard, as a killer whale trainer who loses her legs in a tragic accident, delivers another show-stopping performance that seems sure to earn her a shot at a second Best Actress Oscar. She looked great after travelling from her Telluride tribute last weekend to Toronto for the big opening tonight. I told her I felt like I have been stalking her, following her from Cannes to Telluride and now Toronto. “Yes, it’s has been quite a trip, hasn’t it?” she said as she entered Michael’s restaurant (also having a Grand Opening) for the pre-screening Moet and Chandon dinner.
Co-star Schoenaerts, who made a splash last year in Belgium’s surprise Best Foreign Language Film Oscar nominee Bullhead, has everything it takes to be a major star but told me he wants to take it slow. “When all this started happening I did have talks regarding the lead in … Read More »
Here’s an international trailer for director Walter Salles’ take on Jack Kerouac’s On The Road. With a screenplay by Jose Rivera, the movie staring Kristen Stewart, Sam Riley and Garrett Hedlund had its world premiere at Cannes this year. IFC and Sundance Selects are distributing in the U.S. but haven’t settled on a date:
Critics may have been mixed after this morning’s press screening, but the World Premiere audience at Wednesday night’s Cannes gala of director Walter Salles’ long-gestating film On The Road was highly enthusiastic giving the film about the Beat Generation a 10 minute standing ovation. Co-producer Rebecca Yeldham said it was sweet justification for the 8 years she has been shepherding the picture with Salles. I caught up with her and the cast at the ultra-crowded after-party next door to the Palais at the oddly-named club, Magic Garden Meets LeBaron. The film based on the famous 1957 classic book by Jack Kerouac (actually written in 1951) has had several people attempt a film version with no luck and it has taken 55 years to get to the screen. Kerouac himself even sent it to Marlon Brando right after publication but never got a response. Francis Ford Coppola eventually secured the rights over 30 years ago but couldn’t come up with a way to make the complex film work. Finally Salles and his The Motorcycle Diaries screenwriter Jose Rivera cracked the code and after some false starts finally got the job done (Roman Coppola is also a producer on the film for American Zoetrope). IFC and Sundance Selects will distribute the film but it won’t be part of their VOD platform, but rather a major theatrical release. IFC’s and Sundance Selects President Jonathan Sehring, also at the party , said he couldn’t be higher on the film and they plan to open it in December and … Read More »
The driver who brought me into Cannes this morning from the Nice airport told me I’m lucky because the weather here was horrible the day before. Well, the sun has started shining now, just as the 65th annual Cannes Film Festival is in heavy preparation mode for its big opening night Wednesday with Focus Features’ Moonrise Kingdomkicking things off from director Wes Anderson, who’s making his Croisette debut. Certainly festival director Thierry Fremaux and Gilles Jacob hope the sun will shine on the official selection this year as well after a rousing 2011 where Cannes had an an unusually large impact on the Oscar race. An impressive three films that debuted here – Midnight In Paris, The Tree Of Life and The Artist – all received Best Picture nominations, with the latter winning and also taking four other Oscars — including one for Best Actor Jean Dujardin repeating his Cannes victory. A fourth 2011 competition entry, Drive was also a major player during awards season after picking up the Best Director prize here for Nicolas Winding Refn.
That’s a pretty tough act for Fremaux to follow. When I saw him at this year’s Governors Ball chatting up Harvey Weinstein just a short time after The Artist’s Oscar triumph (the first French picture ever to pull that off), I suggested that the pressure is on to repeat again this year. “I’m just here supporting our film,” an excited Fremaux told me at the time, but certainly ‘how do you top this?’ had to be in the back of his mind. Of course, Cannes being the world’s most important film festival doesn’t depend on finding movies that strike the fancy of Academy voters, but the two biggest red carpets in show business are important for each other.
Oscar and Cannes don’t always see eye to eye, so last year might have been an abberation. 1955′s Marty still remains the one and only film to win Best Picture and its Cannes equivalent the Palme d’Or (The Artist could have been the second but lost the Palme to the only American competition entry, The Tree Of Life).Read More »
A week before it premieres in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, On The Road has been acquired by AMC Networks. Picking up all U.S. rights to Walter Salles’ adaptation of Jack Kerouac’s Beat Generation classic, AMC Networks announced that its distribution labels IFC Films and Sundance Selects will release the film later this fall in theaters. The deal is estimated to be in the seven figures. Twilight star Kristen Stewart signed up in 2010 to play Marylou, the wife of the restless and free-spirited Dean Moriarty played by TRON: Legacy’s Garrett Hedlund. The film also stars Sam Riley, Kirsten Dunst Amy Adams, Tom Sturridge, Danny Morgan, Alice Braga, Elisabeth Moss and Viggo Mortensen. The screenplay is by Jose Rivera who worked with Salles on the director’s other roadtrip, 2004’s The Motorcycle Diaries. An On The Road film had been a long-term project of Francis Ford Coppola, who has been working on bringing Kerouac’s novel to the screen since 1978. Coppola serves as Executive Producer. The MK2 Production was produced by Nathanael Karmitz, Charles Gillibert, Rebecca Yeldham and Roman Coppola for American Zoetrope. Arianna Bocco, SVP of Acquisitions & Productions for Sundance Selects/IFC Films negotiated AMC’s purchase of On The Road with Cinetic Media’s Bart Walker for the producers.