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Specialty Box Office Preview: ‘No’, ‘Like Someone In Love’, ‘Jeffrey Dahmer Files’

By | Thursday February 14, 2013 @ 7:09pm PST

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

In an otherwise unremarkable 2013 for specialty releases, Sony Pictures Classics has one of two films that have become mainstays among specialty releases with its multiple Oscar nominee Amour (the other is The Weinstein Company‘s Quartet). The distributor also scored solidly on The Gatekeepers with more than $152K in three theaters for the documentary’s first two weekends. Next up is this weekend’s bow of the Chilean feature simply titled No starring Gael García Bernal, which is also up for an Oscar in the foreign-language film category. IFC Films’ Sundance Select is taking on Iranian-born director Abbas Kiarostami’s latest, Like Someone In Love, hoping to repeat the success it had with his previous film it released Stateside, Certified Copy. IFC Films is doing a limited theatrical along with day and date VOD for doc/narrative hybrid The Jeffrey Dahmer Files, which screened at last year’s SXSW Film Festival. After initially making a narrative, the filmmaking team decided to add material for an unconventional approach.

Director-writer Pablo Larraín (screenplay)
Writer: Antonio Skármeta (play)
Cast: Gael García Bernal, Alfredo Castro, Antonia Zegers
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics

The Chilean film with the simple title, No, refers to the straightforward advertising campaign masterminded by an ad executive to defeat the South American country’s longtime dictator Augusto Pinochet in a 1988 referendum. Starring Mexican-born actor Gael García Bernal, the film was praised at festival showings at Cannes, New York Film Festival and Sundance and earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film. “We hoped it would be entered by Chile and it was and we hoped it would get nominated and it did,” Michael Barker said from the Berlin International Film Festival. “And we’re relieved it didn’t open last weekend with the big snowstorm.” Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Charles Swan III’ Tops Newcomers; ‘Amour’, ‘Quartet’ Hold Steady

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Indie Films

The Weinstein Company’s Quartet and Sony Pictures Classics’ Amour held steady in their expansions this weekend, while Zeitgeist’s Koch and Sony Classics’ The Gatekeepers remained solid in their second frames. Newcomers, however, fared comparatively softly, though the Blizzard that hit the Northeast certainly had an impact. A24 Films’ Charlie Sheen-starrer A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III lead the trio of reporting limited-release debuts with a modest $6K average. Music Box Films’ Lore bowed in a half-dozen locations, averaging $5,167 while AMC Theatres roll-out Lost In Thailand averaged a paltry $833. Lost In Thailand, which packed a punch in China with over $200 million in that market clearly did not resonate here, at least yet. Still, the film remains China’s biggest domestic creation, second only to Avatar in that market. Freestyle Releasing did not report figures for its opener The Playroom.

New distributor A24 Films rolled out its first release Charles Swan III in New York and L.A. in a pair of theaters. The distributor said the title climbed 141% from Friday to Saturday. A24 also said the feature had a “successful Ultra VOD window” performing “especially strong on Cable VOD. Charles Swan III will expand to 15 markets on February 15th with additional nationwide rollout through March. Lore set out in six theaters, grossing a light $31K. It … Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Playroom’, ‘Lore’; Plus ‘Amour’, ‘Quartet’ Expand

By | Friday February 8, 2013 @ 1:01am PST

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Specialty film newcomers remain sparse this weekend, while two stalwart limited-release box office stars — Amour and Quartet — will continue their expansions. Golden Globe-nominated (for The Sessions) John Hawkes stars in The Playroom with Jonathan Brooks, Alexandra Doke and Olivia Harris. The story centers on four children who take to their attic hideaway and make up a fantastic story, while downstairs their parents weave a drunken intrigue of their own. Hawkes learned of his nomination while making this movie which has been available via iTunes. And war thriller Lore takes a look at the Holocaust through a unique story of about a girl who leads her siblings on a journey of “truth” about their parents’ beliefs.

The Playroom
Director: Julia Dyer
Writer: Gretchen Dyer
Cast: John Hawkes, Molly Parker, Olivia Harris, Jonathan Brooks, Cody Linley
Theatrical Distributor: Freestyle Releasing

All hailing from the same family, The Playroom producer Stephen Dyer, director Julia Dyer and writer Gretchen Dyer were the collective force behind the feature that endured multiple setbacks including health problems that lead to the death of Gretchen Dyer in 2009. Originally slated to star, Hayden Panattiere exited. “But something we had was John [Hawkes],” said Stephen Dyer. “This was before [his Oscar-nominated role in] Winter’s Bone, and Julia had a passion to have this made for Gretchen.” The project received a shot in the arm when the filmmaking team found “a perfect ’70s house” as its main location, which gave the production some freedom to concentrate on other areas of development. “It was a house we played in in the ’70s,” said Dyer. “Somehow the light went on in Julia’s head and we re-worked the script a bit to fit the architecture of the house.”  Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: Holdovers ‘Amour’, ‘Quartet’ Flourish In Expansions

By | Sunday January 20, 2013 @ 10:34am PST

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

The specialty universe was focused on Sundance this weekend, catching first glimpses of some of the newest content likely to make its way to theaters or other platforms this year, but newcomers in limited theatrical release were scarce. Friday-to-Sunday limited box office was dominated by expansions. The Weinstein Company‘s Quartet added 30 locations for a 579% jump in gross with a $10K average. Sony Pictures Classics’ multiple Oscar-nominee Amour moved into 21 additional theaters in its 5th frame, increasing its weekend take by just over 60% vs. the week prior. And TWC took its Oscar hopeful Silver Linings Playbook into wide release after spending two months-plus in relatively limited release. It added 1,713 locations, grossing more than $11.35 million.

Indomina’s LUV headlined the weekend’s sparse newcomers, although the niche distributor had a fairly ambitious opening for the feature that screened in competition at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Starring Common, Michael Rainey Jr., Dennis Haysbert and Danny Glover, the film grossed $90K in 45 theaters for a slim $2K average. The feature is being released theatrically in conjunction with AMC Independent and will remain exclusively in theaters in a narrow window before it debuts on BET as well as on DVD/VOD. Also reporting numbers in a single location is the independently released Greenwich Village: Music That Defined A Generation, which bowed with $6K. … Read More »

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Specialty B.O.: Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Quartet’ Bows Solidly, Oscar-Nom ‘Amour’ Strong

By | Sunday January 13, 2013 @ 10:50am PST

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

Quartet crooned atop the specialty newcomers for its opening in two theaters. Tribeca Film’s Struck By Lightning starring Glee‘s Chris Colfer and Phase Four Films’ The Baytown Outlaws with Billy Bob Thornton and Eva Longoria have yet to report their numbers, but if/when they do, they’ll have stiff competition from Quartet which also happens to be Dustin Hoffman’s official feature directing debut. In a pair of runs in NYC and LA, the film averaged a solid $25,017. Zeitgeist had a tougher time with its foreign-language release Let My People Go! The boutique distributor opened the film about a French-born Jewish man who ends up back with his zany family in Paris after a quarrel with his Finnish boyfriend at a single NYC venue that took in an estimated $2,299 for the weekend weekend.

Quartet had a short awards-qualifying run last month, but came into its theatrical own in the second weekend of the New Year at the Paris Theater in New York and the Landmark in Los Angeles. Quartet star Maggie Smith gave a little jab to the film establishment last year in the wake of one of her last big screen success, The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, saying Hollywood treats cinema-goers like “5-year-olds.” TWC said its core audience would be “mature” for Quartet and the film had a good rollout. Downton Abbey‘s Dowager Countess knows best. Quartet‘s next expansion will be to 75 markets and about  350 locations January 25.

Sony Pictures Classics widened its Oscar Best Picture and Best Foreign-Langue Film nominee Amour to 15 theaters after three weeks with hefty runs in only three locations. The film, which was honored last night at the LA Film Crtitics Association event in Century City, held strong with an $18,038 average vs last weekend’s $21,199. Lionsgate moved The Impossible into 236 additional runs in its 4th weekend for a PTA of $3,156 across 808 cinemas. In 572 theaters last weekend the film averaged $4,852.
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Specialty Box Office Preview: ‘Quartet’, ‘Struck By Lightning’, ‘Baytown Outlaws’, ‘Let My People Go!’

By | Thursday January 10, 2013 @ 8:08pm PST

Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.

This weekend’s roundup of specialty offerings includes three feature newcomers and one filmmaker’s sophomore effort. Dustin Hoffman’s feature directing debut Quartet will launch its regular theatrical run in limited release following a short awards-qualifying run last month. Barry Battles is taking his Black List script (co-written with Griffin Hood) The Baytown Outlaws to theaters with a cast that boasts Billy Bob Thornton and Eva Longoria, while French-born filmmaker Mikael Buch brings to U.S. theaters his comedy Let My People Go! from a script co-written by César-nominated filmmaker Christoph Honoré. And Saved! director Brian Dannelly returns to the big screen with Struck By Lightning, written by and starring Glee‘s Chris Colfer.

Director: Dustin Hoffman
Writer: Ronald Harwood
Cast: Maggie Smith, Michael Gambon, Billy Connolly, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

TWC picked up Dustin Hoffman‘s movie last spring for a “moderate price,” noted the company’s president of theatrical distribution Erik Lomis. It centers on a home for retired opera singers whose annual concert is disrupted by the arrival of an eternal diva — also the ex-wife of a resident. “We think of [Dustin Hoffman] as such an icon that it’s funny to think of him debuting anything,” said Lomis who noted TWC will, unsurprisingly, target a mature audience. Lomis noted that Hoffman’s wife encouraged him to officially take on the director role for the first time in his five decade-plus career. “He liked this material,” said Lomis. “It’s a compelling story about how you’re not too old to do what you do or to fall in love. It appeals to mature audience but it’s heart-lifting and inspirational for younger audiences as well.”
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Hot Trailer: Dustin Hoffman’s ‘Quartet’

By | Sunday October 28, 2012 @ 7:14pm PDT

Seven-time Best Actor Oscar nominee and two-time winner Dustin Hoffman waited a long time to make his feature directing debut. Here’s the trailer for Quartet, in which the arrival of a new diva stirs up trouble in a home for retired opera singers. Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon, Pauline Collins, Tom Courtenay and Sheridan Smith star in the December 28 release from The Weinstein Company.

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Toronto: Robert Redford & Dustin Hoffman Show Off Directorial Talents 36 Years Later

Pete Hammond

They famously co-starred as Bob Woodward and Carl Bernstein in the 1976 classic All The President’s Men. And Sunday at the Toronto International Film Festival they were together again – sort of.  In an odd coincidence, both Robert Redford and Dustin Hoffman unveiled their latest directing efforts in back to back North American premieres. At 10 PM in another theatre nearby, Redford with little fanfare and no other cast members present presided over the North American premiere of his new all-star drama The Company You Keep which Sony Pictures Classics will release next year. While Hoffman hosted the world premiere of the senior comedy Quartet and then conducted with the cast a post-screening Q&A filled with laughs and behind-the-scenes intel.

Quartet about a retirement home for opera stars features Maggie Smith, Tom Courtenay, Pauline Collins and Billy Connolly as seniors who refuse to go gently into that good night. They were all in Toronto for the debut at the Elgin Theatre, and the crowd-pleasing film will be released by The Weinstein Company in December in time to qualify for Oscars.  Read More »

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TOLDJA! TWC Confirms Deal For Dustin Hoffman-Helmed ‘Quartet’

By | Friday May 4, 2012 @ 8:31am PDT
Mike Fleming

On Wednesday, Deadline revealed that The Weinstein Company was acquiring the Dustin Hoffman-directed comedy Quartet. TWC just confirmed it with this release.

Dustin Hoffman QuartetNew York, NY – May 4, 2012 – The Weinstein Company (TWC) announced today that they have acquired U.S. and Latin American rights to Dustin Hoffman’s QUARTET from HanWay Films. The comedy stars Maggie Smith (HARRY POTTER franchise, GNOMEO AND JULIET), Billy Connolly (GULLIVER’S TRAVELS, THE LAST SAMURAI), Michael Gambon (HARY POTTER franchise, THE KING’S SPEECH) and Pauline Collins (ALBERT NOBBS, FROM TIME TO TIME). QUARTET, written by Sir Ronald Harwood, marks the directorial debut of Hoffman. QUARTET tells the story of Reggie (Courtenay), Wilf (Connolly) and Cissy (Collins) who reside in Beecham House, a home for retired opera singers. Each year they stage a concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday, which also raises funds for the home. Reggie’s ex-wife Jean (Smith) arrives at the home and creates tension, playing the diva part but refusing to sing in the concert.

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Weinstein Company Acquiring Dustin Hoffman-Directed ‘Quartet’

Mike Fleming

EXCLUSIVE: The Weinstein Company is negotiating to acquire U.S. and Latin America distribution rights to Quartet, the Dustin Hoffman-directed comedy that stars Maggie Smith, Billy Connolly, Michael Gambon and Pauline Collins. The script was written by Ronald Harwood. The deal is upwards of $3 million, I’m hearing.

This was a stealth pursuit by TWC’s Harvey Weinstein and David Glasser, but that cover was blown when an acquisition screening scheduled for this evening was abruptly scrapped, with rumors that a buyer paid $4 million for the film. I expected this film to surface closer to Cannes, but TWC doesn’t like to wait, something that worked out when Weinstein acquired Best Picture winner The Artist on the eve of 2011 Cannes. In Quartet, Cecily, Reggie and Wilfred reside in a home for retired opera singers and each year they stage a concert to celebrate Verdi’s birthday. Reggie’s ex-wife Jean arrives at the home and creates massive disharmony, playing the diva part but refusing to sing.

The deal is being closed by WME Global’s Graham Taylor. TWC is planning a qualifying run in awards season. The acquisition was done based on reading the script, and viewing a trailer for the film. TWC’s London-based Negen Yazdi and business affairs exec Talia Houminer are tying up the deal right now.  The film marks the directorial debut of Hoffman, who though uncredited had a hand in … Read More »

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