EXCLUSIVE: The Robot & Frank team of helmer Jake Schreier and writer Chris Ford have reunited for a new project. They have sold an original idea to Treehouse Pictures, which backed Arbitrage. Ford will write and Schreier will direct. The untitled film is an action-packed love story set in the world left behind after everyone becomes addicted to the internet. Their last film, the Frank Langella-Susan Sarandon-starrer Robot & Frank, premiered to raves at 2012 Sundance and was released last summer by Sony and Samuel Goldwyn. It won the Alfred P Sloan Feature Film Prize and Ford was nominated for an Independent Spirit Award for Best First Screenplay. Schreier is represented by CAA and Oasis Media Group, Ford by CAA and 3 Arts.
Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.
Cosmopolis launched its run in the U.S. and qualified as a master of the specialty universe – at least this weekend. After a blitz of media coverage worthy of a studio blockbuster, the David Cronenberg-directed, Robert Pattinson-starrer averaged a fairly impressive $24K-plus in three locations Stateside. The Cannes opener somehow failed to impress Canadian audiences when it opened in early summer (distributor Entertainment One reported its North American cume at $268,900, which includes Canada). Next week, eOne will add 20 markets in the U.S. followed by more at the end of the month. Samuel Goldwyn’s Robot & Frank also debuted with promising numbers. It averaged $19,117 in a pair of theaters, while Magnolia Pictures’ opened Compliance in one theater with a solid $16K.
Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.
David Cronenberg’s Cosmopolis certainly has the publicity machine running in its favor with star Robert Pattinson getting lots of attention. Although the barrage of coverage has centered on the actor’s personal life, the movie’s distributor eOne said the star has stayed on message, focusing squarely on the film. Also among this weekend’s specialty openers, Persepolis filmmakers follow their popular Oscar-nominated movie with Chicken With Plums from Sony Pictures Classics, while Magnolia Films opens Compliance and Samuel Goldwyn Films ushers in its tech-laden Robot & Frank.
Chicken With Plums (Poulet aux prunes)
Directors-writers: Vincent Parannaud, Marjane Satrapi
Cast: Mathieu Amalric, Edouard Baer, Maria de Medeiros, Chiara Mastroianni
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Sony Pictures Classics released Marjane Satrapi and Vincent Paronnaud’s breakout Iran-set animated Persepolis Stateside back in 2007 and received two Oscar-nominations. SPC co-heads Michael Barker and Tom Bernard had the filmmakers’ followup on their radar and eventually took it on. “We were interested in this film after our experience on Persepolis,” Barker said. Persepolis took in over $4.4 million at the box office. “We read the screenplay and liked it very much. We liked working with Marjane and Celluloid Dreams was selling the film … and then we saw it in its first screening in Toronto.” Set in France, the drama centers on a renowned violinist who loses his beloved instrument and cannot find a worthy replacement, which plunges him into deep despair. “It’s one of those films that is incredibly magical and she has a great following as a filmmaker,” said Barker.
The Frank Langella-starrer Robot & Frank won the Alfred P. Sloan Feature Film Prize this year at Sundance and is the first release from Park Pictures Features, the feature film division of commercial production house Park Pictures. Commercials helmer Jake Schreier is making his directorial debut with the Christopher Ford script. James Marsden, Liv Tyler and Susan Sarandon co-star. It opens August 24.
After receiving strong reviews at Sundance for his performance in Robot & Frank, Frank Langella has joined another two-hander. He’ll star in the indie The Time Being, alongside Wes Bentley. Richard Gladstein is producing and also co-wrote the script with first-time writer-director Nenad Cicin-Sain. The logline: Out of cash and a bit desperate, struggling artist Daniel accepts a series of bizarre commissions from Warner, a dying, eccentric millionaire who may not be what he seems. But Daniel can’t quite ascertain whether his new “mentor” is a monster who is intent on destroying Daniel’s life and marriage, or a savior who will teach him the true meaning of art. Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Samuel Goldwyn paid north of $2 million for North America distribution rights and several other offshore territories on Robot & Frank. Langella is repped by ICM.
BREAKING: Sony Pictures Worldwide Acquisitions and Samuel Goldwyn bought the Sundance film Robot & Frank. I’m told they paid north of $2 million for North America, Latin America, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, Scandinavia and Eastern Europe. Goldwyn releases domestically and SPWAG releases abroad. Frank Langella, Susan Sarandon, James Marsden, Liv Tyler, Peter Saarsgard, Jeremy Sisto and Jeremy Strong star. Langella plays a retired thief in the near future who gets a robot, which enables him to woo a local librarian and get back to thieving. Jake Schreier directed and Christopher Ford wrote the script.