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Specialty Box Office: ‘A Touch Of Sin’ Capitalizes On New York Film Festival Buzz, ‘Linsanity’ Docu Solid

By | Sunday October 6, 2013 @ 10:52am PDT

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

The weekend again boasted a plentiful bounty of new Specialty titles, though the saturation has generally divided audiences. In the end, a Chinese film and a documentary were the weekend’s highest per screen average films as nothing exactly dazzled at the box office. Kino Lorber capitalized on the momentum of A Touch Of Sin fresh from its premiere at the New York Film Festival, opening the Zhangke Jia-directed film at Lincoln Plaza and IFC Center in NYC, grossing $24K in two theaters. Kino Lorber gave kudos to NYFF for heightening awareness of the film, which stars Wu Jiang and Vivien Li, as well as a “strong NYT review.” It will head to Laemmle’s Royal Theater in L.A. next weekend and expand throughout the fall.

Related: Specialty B.O. Preview

Ketchup seasoned its documentary debut Linsanity to the tune of $103K, giving the docu about the rise of the NBA’s Chinese American point guard Jeremy Lin a solid $11,444 average. The pic has also been the top documentary all weekend on iTunes. The figure is notable considering it bowed in 9 theaters. Other docus such as Act Of Killing had higher averages but opened in fewer theaters ($27,450 in 1 theater for Act Of Killing in July, $13,527 in 2 theaters for Stories We Tell in May, $18,199 for 20 Feet From Stardom in 3 theaters in June). Read More »

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‘Parkland’ Helmer Peter Landesman To Direct Scott Stuber-Produced ‘Down By The River’

By | Thursday October 3, 2013 @ 4:18pm PDT
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Scott Stuber’s Bluegrass Films has set Parkland writer-director Peter Landesman to rewrite and direct Down By The River, an espionage revenge thriller inspired by Charles Bowden’s nonfiction book. Landesman will come on to rewrite a script by Henry Bean.

Landesman and Naomi Despres brought the project to Stuber as the same time as Kill the Messenger, the story of how investigative journalist Gary Webb uncovered CIA complicity in bringing crack to U.S. cities and then destroyed the reputation of Webb, who committed suicide in 2004. Michael Cuesta directed the film for Focus Features with Jeremy Renner playing Webb. Stuber produced with Despres and Renner, while Landesman and Pamela Abdy are exec producers. Read More »

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Toronto: ‘Parkland’ Premieres As Hot Kidman, Firth & Bateman Films Seek Distributors

Pete Hammond

After receiving mixed critical response in its Venice world premiere, the Kennedy assassination docudrama Parkland took on the Toronto International Film Festival and received a good response for a movie that looks at the events of that fateful day 50 years ago from several different perspectives. Those include a young surgeon operating on the fallen President in the emergency room, Lee Harvey Oswald’s brother and mother, the FBI, Abraham Zapruder and others. Nicely directed by first-timer Peter Landesman, a former New York Times reporter, the film has the sensibility of a journalist and stays close to the known facts while still illuminating. At the premiere’s afterparty at Soho House he told me, “I wanted to create a visual language in the beginning that would allow the audience to feel like what they were seeing was happening and real… I did want to take the audience by hand and bring them into an idea that what they are watching happening is actually unfolding in front of them,” said the veteran who’s covered many international wars. He dismissed potential complaints that the filmmaker might be exploiting the Kennedy tragedy, particularly on the cusp on the 50th anniversary, by explaining that the emergency room scenes were carefully thought out:”I feel like we cut a very dignified movie. To not have any sense of the violence would be to betray what the movie is about. I actually feel that the cut’s dignified. We actually had cuts in the movie that were a lot bloodier. At the end of the day we didn’t want to alienate our audience.”

Landesman said it came about when he originally wrote a screenplay about Watergate for producer Tom Hanks (who produced this film with Playtone partner Gary Goetzman and actor Bill Paxton). That script has yet to be produced. But it led to Hanks handing Landesman a Vincent Bugliosi book written about those four days in November 1963. So he worked on it and researched it for nearly five years and decided there was a movie there that nobody had ever seen. Although Hanks was busy acting on Broadway, he was very involved. “Gary was there for every frame. And Tom was intimately involved with the development of the screenplay and the casting. You know Tom. His integrity is so important, not only as a brand and a producer but Tom’s sensibilities and instincts are so important,” Landesman said. Read More »

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Venice: ‘Parkland’ Helmer Peter Landesman On Conspiracy-Free JFK Assassination Pic

By | Sunday September 1, 2013 @ 10:10am PDT

Tom Welling ParklandParkland is not out to pick a fight and start a dialogue about conspiracy,” director Peter Landesman said today of his film that follows the events in the hours and days following the assassination of John F. Kennedy. “It is utterly focused on the raw emotion of the weekend,” he told reporters. Landesman wrote Parkland based on Vincent Bugliosi’s Reclaiming History: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy. It’s also his helming debut.

The story of what happened in Dealy Plaza on November 22, 1963 has been told from many different angles, so Landesman said the idea was, “How have we not seen this story?” He was looking to explore the “disorientation, chaos and anarchy” and “what it was to survive that weekend” for people who were pulled into the extraordinary situation. “There’s not a scene in this movie that anybody’s ever seen before,” he said. “We wanted to take an audience and put them in the shoes of these people and have it wash over them like a wave.” There was applause at the press screening this morning. Reviews have so far been mixed.

This year marks the 50th anniversary of the assassination and Parkland was among the most anticipated films coming into the Venice competition. Having the world premiere in Venice and ahead of the film’s trip to Toronto was a good place to start because it gives Parkland “more opportunity to stand out,” Exclusive Media exec Alex Walton told me before the bow. Another person involved with the film also suggests that Europeans are likely to embrace it given a fascination, but perhaps less familiarity, with the Kennedys. The film has essentially sold out worldwide, including to Italy’s RAI, an early adopter which has been acquiring very few movies of late. Exclusive co-financed with The American Film Company and is releasing in the U.S. on October 4. Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are among the producers. The sizeable ensemble includes Paul Giamatti, Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, James Badge Dale, Billy Bob Thornton, Ron Livingston, Mark Duplass, Jacki Weaver and Tom Welling. Welling is here on the Lido.

The film’s title refers to the hospital where Kennedy – and later his assassin Lee Harvey Oswald – died, but the movie isn’t entirely about Parkland and the shell-shocked staff there who treated them both. Early on, it’s set in the blood-soaked operating room where doctors attempt to keep Kennedy alive while Secret Service agents and the First Lady look on. But also followed closely are the plights of Abraham Zapruder (Giamatti), Robert Oswald (Badge Dale) and James Hosty (Livingston). Read More »

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Venice Film Festival: Will The Lido Shuffle Biz Into Awards Season?

The Venice Film Festival kicks off tomorrow, and with it a renewed second outing for fest chief Alberto Barbera. Barbera was artistic director from 1998-2002 and returned last year to put his spin back on the proceedings after Marco Muller departed for Rome. This is the 70th go-round for the world’s oldest film festival and brings with it some heavy hitters. Venice is known for its ability to draw A-List talent, notable world premieres and the very beginnings of awards-season buzz (think last year’s The Master along with previous years’ Shame and The Queen, among others). It’s also a bit sandwiched in between the end of summer and the start of Toronto. Nevertheless, Venice has the benefit of providing a relaxed atmosphere that allows for proximity to talent and a less frenzied screening schedule than the likes of what some consider the impending Canadian free-for-all where the “hustle and bustle can lead to schedule conflicts,” an exec says. This year’s Venice is opening with a decidedly high-profile film: Alfonso Cuaron’s Gravity starring Sandra Bullock and Italy’s adopted son George Clooney. The pair play astronauts set adrift in space. The 3D movie is debuting here, according to Warner Bros president of worldwide marketing and international distribution Sue Kroll, because Venice is the “ideal” launching pad. “The timing of the festival dovetails perfectly with our worldwide marketing plans… and gives us the opportunity to show the film to press from around the world.” The festival is also a longtime friend of director Cuaron, whose Y Tu Mama Tambien and Children Of Men have been recognized here.

Related: Hot Trailer: ‘Gravity’ Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘Parkland’

By | Wednesday August 21, 2013 @ 3:55am PDT

Peter Landesman adapted the Parkland screenplay from the book Four Days In November by Vincent Bugliosi, and makes his helming debut with the picture. The story recounts the events at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, Paul Giamatti, Tom Welling, Mark Duplass, James Badge Dale and Colin Hanks star. The film world premieres at the Venice Film Festival which begins next week. Exclusive Releasing has set a September 20 U.S. release.

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JFK Pic ‘Parkland’ Gets Oscar-Season Release Date

By | Friday July 26, 2013 @ 4:44pm PDT

EXCLUSIVE: Exclusive Media’s distribution arm Exclusive Releasing will officially release Parkland, the film that recounts the events at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated. The fledgling output arm has set a September 20 release date which comes after the pic has its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival in competition and soon after at its North American premiere at Toronto. Peter Landesman adapted the screenplay from the book Four Days In November by Vincent Bugliosi, and he also is directing in his helming debut. Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, Paul Giamatti, Tom Welling, Mark Duplass, James Badge Dale and Colin Hanks star. Playtone Partners’ Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, Bill Paxton and Exclusive Media’s Nigel Sinclair and Matt Jackson produced. The American Film Company also produced and co-financed with Exclusive, whose partially owned Millennium Entertainment will handle U.S. ancillary distribution rights to the film.

Exclusive Releasing sends out its first theatrical pic, the Naomi Watts- and Robin Wright-starring Adore, on September 6.

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Venice Film Festival Update: ‘Parkland’ Added To Lineup; Stephen Frears’ ‘Philomena’, Terry Gilliam’s ‘Zero Theorem’ Also Among Competition Pics

UPDATE: Peter Landesman’s Parkland was announced as a competition entry after the initial slate was unveiled. Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, Paul Giamatti, Tom Welling, Mark Duplass, James Badge Dale and Colin Hanks star in the film that recounts the events at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital on the day John F. Kennedy was assassinated.

PREVIOUS: The Venice Film Festival opens with the out-of-competition world premiere of Gravity on August 28, making for a glitzy start to the 70th edition. The roster of 19 competition films was unveiled this morning by artistic director Alberto Barbera who returned to the post last year after leaving the Lido in 2002. The lineup is a mix of U.S., European and Asian fare. Among the high-profile films are Stephen Frears’ Philomena, Jonathan Glazer’s Under The Skin, David Gordon Green’s Joe, Terry Gilliam’s The Zero Theorem and James Franco’s Child Of God. For the moment, the competition doesn’t have much overlap with Toronto. Films that will unspool in both fests include sci-fi road movie Under The Skin with Scarlett Johansson; The Weinstein Co.’s Philomena; Nicolas Cage-starrer Joe; John Curran’s Tracks with Mia Wasikowska and Girls‘ Adam Driver; and Kelly Reichart’s Night Moves – which many had expected would be in Cannes – starring Jesse Eisenberg, Dakota Fanning and Peter Sarsgaard. Among other films in competition are the latest from Canadian wunderkind Xavier Dolan, Tom At The Farm – another one many expected in Cannes. There are also two documentaries, including Errol Morris’ Donald Rumsfeld examination, and an animated film from Japanese master Hayao Miyazaki in the main section. Notable in the non-competitive category are Kim Ki-duk’s Moebius – he won the Golden Lion last year with Pieta – and Warner Bros.’ Japan’s world premiere of the Unforgiven remake. Also, Gia Coppola’s Palo Alto is in the Horizons section. It’s still possible there will be further pics announced. Last year, Barbera added Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master about two weeks after the initial lineup was unveiled. Following are the in- and out-of-competition slates, plus the Horizons selections that were announced today: Read More »

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Berlin: Sony Pictures Worldwide Takes Multiple Territories On JFK Pic ‘Parkland’

Exclusive Media has closed a deal with Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions for Parkland in Eastern Europe, Scandinavia, Iceland, Greece, Turkey and Latin America. The hot EFM title, which has Open Road in talks to distribute domestically, recounts the events at Dallas’ Parkland Hospital on November 22, 1963. It’s produced by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman, Exclusive Media and The American Film Company. Bill Paxton is also a producer. Peter Landesman, who wrote the script, is making his directing debut here. Cast includes Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, Paul Giamatti, Jackie Earle Haley, Colin Hanks, Ron Livingston, Mark Duplass and Tom Welling. Foreign sales were also completed in Australia and New Zealand (Roadshow), France (Metropolitan), Italy (RAI), Israel (United King) and Hong Kong (Golden Harvest), among others. The SPWA deal was negotiated by Alex Walton for Exclusive and Michael Helfand, Joe Matukewicz and Jon Freedberg on behalf of SPWA.

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Mark Duplass Joins Stephen King’s ‘Mercy’ & JFK Pic ‘Parkland’

By | Thursday January 31, 2013 @ 10:53am PST

Mark Duplass Parkland MercyEXCLUSIVE: Mark Duplass continues to branch out as an actor beyond his DIY indie roots with two new projects, even as he and brother Jay keep building their joint TV and film portfolio. The Safety Not Guaranteed star has signed on for Universal and Blumhouse‘s Mercy, a fantasy-horror project based on a short from Stephen King’s Skeleton Crew collection that stars Dylan McDermott, Frances O’Connor, Chandler Riggs, Joel Courtney, Shirley Knight and Chris Browning. Peter Cornwell (A Haunting In Connecticut) is directing, with Jason Blum, McG, and Wonderland Sound and Vision’s Mary Viola producing. Matt Greenberg wrote the script from King’s short story Gramma, about two young boys who visit their grandmother and discover she’s a witch. Read More »

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‘Smallville’s Tom Welling Joins JFK Pic ‘Parkland’

By | Wednesday January 30, 2013 @ 3:59pm PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: After a 10-season run as the super-hero-in-training Clark Kent in the CW series Smallville, Tom Welling is taking a break from TV and transitioning to features. He’s just landed a co-starring role in Parkland, the Exclusive Media feature that is being directed by Peter Landesman. He joins Paul Giamatti, Zac Efron, and Billy Bob Thornton in the ensemble drama about the hours following the assassination of JFK in Parkland Hospital. Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing with Bill Paxton. Open Road is in talks to distribute domestically in the fall, around the 50th anniversary of JFK’s assassination. Welling is repped by WME.

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Open Road In Talks To Release JFK Pic ‘Parkland’, Eyeing Fall Release On 50th Anniversary Of Assassination

By | Friday January 25, 2013 @ 11:49am PST
Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: Open Road is in final talks for domestic distribution on Parkland, a film that recounts the events that occurred at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on November 22, 1963. They are eyeing a release late this fall, around the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President John F. Kennedy. The film’s written and directed by Peter Landesman, the ex-foreign correspondent and scripter of films including the upcoming The Mission who makes his helming debut on the picture. It is based on Reclaiming History: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy, the mammoth 1,632-page book by Helter Skelter author Vincent Bugliosi that meticulously debunked the conspiracy theories that later found their way into films like Oliver Stone’s JFK.

The book was originally set at HBO for a miniseries by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman in 2007 along with Bill Paxton, who at the time was starring in Playtone’s HBO series Big Love. Instead of taking on the assassination and the conspiracy theories in a mini, they and Landesman boiled this down to a smaller story that covers what happened at the hospital when the world was turned upside down by the business end of Lee Harvey Oswald’s sniper rifle. It was re-calibrated as an indie film that’s being co-financed by Exclusive Media and The American Film Company, the latter of which was hatched by entrepreneur Joe Ricketts to focus on telling American history tales. Pic stars Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton, Jacki Weaver, Marcia Gay Harden, Zac Efron, Jeremy Strong, James Badge Dale, Jackie Earle Haley, Colin Hanks, David Harbour, and Ron Livingston. Read More »

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Zac Efron, Marcia Gay Harden Join Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton And Jacki Weaver In JFK Conspiracy Pic ‘Parkland’

By | Wednesday December 19, 2012 @ 11:52am PST
Mike Fleming

Marcia Gay HardenZac EfronBREAKING: Zac Efron and Marcia Gay Harden have joined Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Jacki Weaver in Parkland, which Peter Landesman wrote and will direct based on Vincent Bugliosi’s book Reclaiming History: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy. The film is produced by Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman and also is being produced and financed by Exclusive Media and its co-chairmen Nigel Sinclair and Guy East.

Bugliosi’s mammoth book, which Playtone and Landesman originally set up at HBO, refuted the conspiracy theories surrounding the assassination that were embraced in the Oliver Stone-directed JFK. The film does not address the conspiracy aspect and focuses only on what happened at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on the day Kennedy was assassinated on November 22, 1963. The film, to be shot in Austin, is destined for a 2013 U.S. theatrical release around the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

Related:  Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Jacki Weaver Set For ‘Parkland’ Read More »

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AFM: Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Jacki Weaver Set For ‘Parkland’

By | Tuesday October 30, 2012 @ 3:22pm PDT

Paul Giamatti, Billy Bob Thornton and Jacki Weaver have signed on for Parkland, a film about the John F. Kennedy assassination. Playtone partners Tom Hanks and Gary Goetzman are producing in association with Exclusive Media, which will also be financing. As part of the deal, Exclusive Media has optioned the rights to the book that the film is based on, Reclaiming History: The Assassination Of President John F. Kennedy, by Vincent Bugliosi. Peter Landesman penned the adapted screenplay and will direct Parkland in his directorial debut. Parkland tells the true story of the chaotic events that occurred at Parkland Hospital in Dallas on the day President John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963. The film, to be shot in Austin, Texas is set for a 2013 release around the 50th anniversary of the assassination.

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