2014 SXSW Film Festival opener Chef by writer-director-star Jon Favreau had audiences salivating this weekend in limited release. It cooked up a good showing in 6 theaters with a solid $204K opening and landing in the top tier of this year’s releases in terms of theater average. The feature, also starring Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, and Dustin Hoffman no less, came in just over $34K in its PTA. Only a few other titles landed higher in their openings in the averages game. Grand Budapest Hotel is way out in front — and likely will be for sometime — with a $202K average, while Fading Gigolo opened in April with a $39,860 average in an initial five runs. Under The Skin (which incidentally also featured Johansson) came in with a $35K PTA in four theaters.
“We’re excited, Chef played great this weekend,” said Open Road’s Jason Cassidy. “Exit polls are stellar and we think the film has a nice long life ahead of it. Kudos go to Favreau for making a great, very playable movie and his work in promotion.” Cassidy said that the audience leaned female “as expected.” It will hit the top 10 markets next week and will expand beyond that based on performance.
Related: DOMESTIC BOX OFFICE: ‘Neighbors’ A Raucous No. 1 As ‘Amazing Spider-Man 2′ Hits A Wall; ‘The Other Woman’ On Strong Legs
After a premiere long ago in Telluride, Venice and Toronto (and recently at the San Francisco and Montclair film festivals), another Coppola enters the box office with her debut feature. Read More »
Specialties boasting stars are certainly in abundance among this weekend’s crop of newcomers. SXSW Film Festival opener Chef by and starring Jon Favreau along with Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson and even Dustin Hoffman begins its run Friday in limited release via Open Road Films. Another Coppola will see a film hit a theatrical run as well. Gia Coppola’s directorial debut Palo Alto, based on short stories written by James Franco (who also stars) also bows courtesy of Tribeca Film. The late Philip Seymour Hoffman stars in IFC Films’ God’s Pocket by Mad Men director (and actor) John Slattery, while Jesse Eisenberg and Mia Wasikowska star in Richard Ayoade’s The Double for Magnolia Pictures. And Cohen Media Group will open the re-release of French filmmaker Patrice Chéreau’s 1994 feature Queen Margot in New York before heading to other U.S. locations.
Director-writer: Jon Favreau
Cast: Jon Favreau, Robert Downey, Jr., Scarlett Johansson, John Leguizamo, Bobby Cannavale, Emjay Anthony, Dustin Hoffman, Sofía Vergara, Oliver Platt, Amy Sedaris
Distributor: Open Road Films
Open Road cooked up its acquisition of Chef while it was still in the script stage, though it did not produce the film. The 2014 SXSW Film Festival opening-night comedy revolves around a chef who loses his restaurant job and starts up a food truck in an effort to reclaim his creative promise, while putting back together his estranged family.Favreau had tapped on the talents of Food Truck guru Roy Choi to make sure authenticity was in tact.”He’s back to his indie roots and you can feel the passion,” said Open Road’s president of marketing Jason Cassidy. Read More »
After hitting the fall film festival circuit of Telluride, Venice and Toronto, Gia Coppola‘s edgy coming-of-age directorial debut Palo Alto based on the short story series by James Franco will bow at the Tribeca Film Festival on April 24 before its limited release on May 9. Emma Roberts portrays April, a shy, sensitive virgin who falls for introspective artist Teddy (Jack Kilmer), while negotiating a dangerous affair with her soccer coach Mr. B (James Franco). Meanwhile, Teddy’s loose cannon friend Fred (Nat Wolff) zeroes in on Emily (Zoe Levin), a promiscuous loner. Ah, high school life as set in the titular northern Cali town. Chris Messina and Val Kilmer also star. Tribeca Film, which acquired domestic rights back in December, will expand the film throughout May. Gia is Francis Ford Coppola‘s grandaughter; her father being the late Gian-Carlo who died in a 1986 boat accident. Before making her directorial debut with Palo Alto, Gia worked as a costume assistant on her aunt Sofia Coppola’s 2010 feature Somewhere and was a creative consultant on her grandfather’s vampire indie film Twixt. Speaking with Deadline at the American Horror Story: Coven PaleyFest panel, Roberts, who has been an acquaintance of Gia’s for some time, assured us that “She captures youth in a way that hasn’t been seen before on the big screen.” You be the judge:
‘The Inbetweeners Movie 2′ Ready To Start Filming
The sequel to the UK’s most successful homegrown comedy film of all time is gearing up to shoot next week. The original Inbetweeners Movie was scripted by Iain Morris and Damon Beesley and based on the British TV series. Morris and Beesley will direct the second feature (Ben Palmer helmed the orignal) about four friends navigating their way through life, this time in Australia. The duo also scripted the film that’s got kangaroos, Aussies “and possibly koalas.” Bwark Productions is producer and will co-finance The Inbetweeners Movie 2 with Channel 4/Film4. There’s an August release set; a summer date that reflects the first film’s debut in 2011.
Tribeca Film Taking ‘Palo Alto’ To North America
Tribeca Film has acquired North American rights to Gia Coppola’s Venice debut Palo Alto. The ensemble teen drama stars Emma Roberts, Jack Kilmer, James Franco, Nat Wolff, Zoe Levin and Val Kilmer. It’s written and directed by Coppola, based on Franco’s short story collection of the same name. Tribeca is planning a spring theatrical release. Read More »
Gia Coppola‘s feature directing debut Palo Alto is playing Telluride today and Venice‘s Horizons section on Monday. It heads to Toronto next week. Coppola, granddaughter of Francis Ford Coppola, wrote the screenplay based on the collection of short stories written by James Franco. Franco also stars in the drama that follows a group of teenagers navigating high school in the suburbs. Emma Roberts, Nat Wolff, Jack Kilmer and Val Kilmer also star. There is no U.S. distributor yet.
James Franco has launched a new crowdfunding project to finance three feature films about teenage life in his hometown of Palo Alto, CA, adapted from his own 2010 book of short stories, Palo Alto. The multihyphenate has tapped Nina Ljeti, Vladimir Bourdeau, Bruce Thierry Cheung, and Gabriel Demestree to direct and is seeking to raise $500K via Indiegogo to split evenly between the trio of projects. “Because of who I am, people often believe that it is easy to find investors and distributors for my films. Unfortunately, things aren’t that easy,” he writes on the campaign’s page. “More times than not, I have put in my own money to produce my films and my students’ films. However, this time it’s different; we need more funding. I will still fund part of it, but I need of your help; filming three feature films back-to-back requires more funding than I can give.”
The films are aiming to shoot by August before hitting the festival circuit in search of distribution. Donation rewards range from behind the scenes updates and a shooting script PDF ($10) to a personalized video from Franco ($300) to an EP credit and private dinner ($10,000). The Indiegogo campaign ends July 17. Check out Franco’s fundraising video: Read More »