42 is the biopic of Jackie Robinson, the first black major league baseball player. Nicole Beharie will play the role of Rachel Isum, Robinson’s life love. Legendary Pictures will bring 42 to the screen. Last year Beharie starred in Fox Searchlight’s Shame with Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan. She also appeared last year with Mos and Jeffrey Wright on Broadway in John Guare’s Free Man Of Color. She made her film debut in Samuel Goldwyn’s American Violet and appeared in Universal’s Express. Beharie is represented by ICM and ATA Management.
Specialty Box Office:
Shame (Fox Searchlight) NEW [10 Theaters]
Friday $110K, Saturday $139K, Weekend $361K, Per Screen $36,118
The Dirty Picture (FLM) NEW [48 Theaters]
Friday $76K, Saturday $120K, Weekend $268K, Per Screen $5,583, Cume $268K
Pastorela (Lionsgate) NEW [55 Theaters]
Friday $23K, Saturday $24K, Weekend $65K, Per Screen $1,191, Cume $65K
I Am Singh (Reliance Big …
2011′s Second-Worst Weekend: ‘Breaking Dawn’ Threepeats For #1, ‘Muppets’ #2, Oscar-Buzzed ‘Hugo’, ‘Shame’, ‘The Artist’, ‘The Descendants’, ‘Marilyn’ All Strong
SATURDAY PM/SUNDAY AM : No major studio movies opened. Interesting that 6 of the Top 10 highest-grossing films are PG. But this weekend is looking like $82M, which is neck-and-neck for the lowest weekend of 2011 (September 9th’s $81M). Deadline begins its closer look at the specialty market. Fox Searchlight’s Shame played in 10 theatres in 6 cities and grossed $361K with a theatre average of $36,118. In a dismal down weekend, the film delivered the highest per-screen average this post-holiday period even with an NC-17 rating. The studio is hoping this Steve McQueen-directed film is receiving enough buzz for a long run through the awards season. Fox Searchlight’s The Descendants sticks the Top 10 despite a low theater count and became the first limited-platform film ever to hit $10M in the first 12 days of release. This Oscar-touted Alexander Payne/George Clooney dramedy expands next Friday into 850 theaters to keep up with continuing demand. The Weinstein Co’s My Week With Marilyn didn’t add theaters but held up well, down only 43% on Friday and 26% on Saturday. Already TWC’s badmouthing of the Oscar competition has begun: “This compares to Descendants which, while down 47% and 24% overall, added 33% more locations (141) theaters, and their actual drop in the existing theaters was down 56% and 37%. Paramount’s Hugo added 44% more theaters (563) and, while their overall drop was down 57% and 24%, their actual drop in the existing theaters was down 62% and 34% for Friday and Saturday. What all this says is that Marilyn is holding in better than the competition and that we have good word of mouth.” [UPDATE: The Weinstein Co's David Glasser called me strenuously denying that this was 'badmouthing' and said this was merely normal box office comping.] The Weinstein Co’s Academy Award Best Picture-heralded The Artist had its best day yet on Saturday in both NY houses. “And while LA took a hit on Friday, it was only down slightly from last week on Saturday with drops of 21% in Hollywood and 11% at the Landmark,” the indie said. “Obviously, we have fantastic WOM on this.” The European Film Awards just wrapped in Berlin, where Magnolia’s Melancholia from the looney Lars von Trier won top prize.
Top 10 highest grossing films:
1. Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn Part 1 (Summit) Week 3 [4,046 Theaters]
Friday $5.5M, Saturday $7.2M, Weekend $16.9M (-60%), Cume $247.3M
2. The Muppets (Disney) Week 2 [3,440 Theaters]
Friday $2.7M, Saturday $5.2M, Weekend $11.2M (-63%), Cume $56.1M
3. Hugo 3D (Paramount) Week 2 [1,840 Theaters]
Friday $2M, Saturday $3.4M, Weekend $7.5M (-36%), Cume $25.1M
With last night’s conclusion of the annual AFI Fest in Hollywood, the curtain finally fell on the 2011 fall film festival season. So the question remains, has an Oscar frontrunner emerged after two months on this circuit? AFI previously was held in the spring but smartly repositioned itself to November several years ago. The significant side benefit of that is the fest has a shot at having an impact on awards season — not to mention AFI gets the pick of the litter in terms of prolific contenders. That strategy has worked again this year: the world premiere of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar was the opening-night film and the closing-night selection was Steven Spielberg’s CGI animation contender The Adventures of Tintin, which made its North American premiere last night at AFI. Neither of these directors is necessarily known for putting his films widely on the fest circuit, but you can’t deny that hitting the fests can be a good strategy.
The last four Best Picture winners — No Country For Old Men, Slumdog Millionaire, The Hurt Locker, The King’s Speech — were all major festival players, finding their footing on the circuit then sailing smoothly into Oscar’s heart. This year, likely best pic possibilities that began at one fest or another include The Artist, Moneyball, The Descendants, The Ides Of March, Midnight In Paris and now J. Edgar. But there is an even larger number than usual of those skipping the circuit and trying other strategies to get the Academy’s attention. That list includes The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo, War Horse, Extremely Loud And Incredibly Close, Young Adult, The Help, The Iron Lady and In The Land Of Blood And Honey.
Stuck somewhere in the middle is Martin Scorsese’s Hugo, which tried to catch the wave at the New York Film Festival by showcasing a “work in progress.” The results of the gambit ultimately were mixed opinions toward the film — at least in that form. Then, when the film was completed, Paramount skipped the opportunity to show it at AFI and decided to go in another direction (at the same time the fest was going on across town) by unveiling it almost simultaneously to L.A.-based critics, bloggers and members of the Academy. Reaction was upbeat and the film, which opens November 23, is now being talked about as a Best Picture contender, something that didn’t happen after its New York screening.
Virtually identical to the UK trailer Deadline posted October 14, the U.S. version went up Tuesday on Apple and YouTube. Fox Searchlight’s logo, overlays of several festival honors on the initial shot of Michael Fassbinder and the NC-17 rating appear to be the only differences.
The three UK movies have received seven nods apiece for this year’s Moët British Independent Film Awards, due to take place in London on December 4. Each of them is battling for Best British Film Award, Best Director, Best Actor and Best Supporting Actor/Actress. The nominations were announced in London this morning. We Need To Talk About Kevin and Kill List each received six nominations, with Submarine following closely with five. Rebecca Hall (The Awakening), Mia Wasikowska (Jane Eyre), MyAnna Buring (Kill List), Olivia Colman (Tyrannosaur) and Tilda Swinton (We Need To Talk About Kevin) are vying for Best Actress. Leading men competing for Best Actor include Gary Oldman (Tinker, Tailor), Michael Fassbender (Shame) and Brendan Gleeson (The Guard).
The MPAA has given an NC-17 rating to the Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which is exactly what Deadline told you would happen back when we broke the story that Fox Searchlight had acquired it at the start of the 2011 …
With just a little more than two weeks to go before its opening-night world premiere gala of Clint Eastwood’s J. Edgar on November 3, the American Film Institute has just announced the long list of Centerpiece Galas and Special Screenings for its 25th edition — AFI FEST 2011 presented by Audi. Unlike the Eastwood coup, the lineup doesn’t include any other world or North American premieres and instead is made up of films recently seen in Toronto, Venice, Telluride or New York or combinations of all of the above festivals.
The AFI Fest, which runs November 3-10, is becoming known as the festival of galas, with at least one big red-carpet event every night of the week. Slated as Centerpiece Galas this session are Luc Besson’s The Lady (November 4), which played the Mill Valley Film Festival last week in a version now several minutes shorter than its well-received Toronto Film Festival premiere; Roman Polanski’s Carnage (November 5); My Week With Marilyn (November 6); The Artist (November 8); and Steve McQueen’s controversial Shame (November 9). Also on November 7, the fest will present an evening with Pedro Almodovar, this year’s Guest Artistic Director, who will be presenting his 25-year-old classic Law of Desire and participating in a special onstage conversation. All will be presented at the Chinese theater in Hollywood.
The 9/11 anniversary was a strong memory in Toronto because it happened right in the middle of 2001′s film festiva – even though it was business as usual today. In fact the pace of this place just seems to be quickening. Deals, as Deadline’s Mike Fleming reports, were slow to percolate but may be picking up. Most buyers I talk to are irritated by some sellers’ insistence that their film be released this year in time for Oscar consideration. That’s a tall order and leaves little time for creating a marketing campaign, much less an awards strategy. Nevertheless, that was one of the demands made by the sellers of the controversial Shame during negotiations. Fox Searchlight agreed, others didn’t. In fact I was told that Sony Pictures Classics, which wanted the picture, came up with a smart strategy they compared to The Weinstein Company’s for Colin Firth. That consisted of Firth doing a lot of campaigning and earning a nomination for A Single Man in 2010, thus laying the groundwork for his The King’s Speech win the next year. SPC was going to put Michael Fassbender out there and get him recognition for their November release of David Cronenberg’s A Dangerous Method and then release Shame later in 2012 for a one-two punch that the Academy would notice. No go. The sales people behind Shame insisted it be released this year, thereby throwing the Venice Film Festival’s Best Actor winner into an already overcrowded awards race that among others includes George Clooney, Brad Pitt, Gary Oldman, and Leonardo DiCaprio who are better known — at least at this point.
One former studio head-turned-producer complained loudly to me today that this kind of strategy is not necessarily what’s good for the movie and asked, “Isn’t that what we should be concerned with over anything else?” For example, Open Road’s Tom Ortenberg is here with his first release Killer Elite but is not rushing into a year-end release if it might end up hurting the bottom line. “Isn’t the 2012 Oscar race just as good as this year’s?” he asked. He might consider putting the Liam Neeson film The Grey into a year-end qualifying run since Neeson’s performance is said to be so strong. But only if it was in the best interest of the film. When he was at Lionsgate, Ortenberg acquired Crash at Toronto but held it for a May release. Then he did a now-legendary and successful Oscar campaign almost 1 1/2 years after the Toronto buy. The same strategy worked for The Hurt Locker two years ago. Both went on to win Best Picture.
Nevertheless, several films for sale in Toronto are said to be eyeing a 2011 release in order to get into the Oscar race. These include Luc Besson’s The Lady, which premieres Monday night and which I have already seen. It contains two powerhouse performances from Michelle Yeoh who could jump into the lead actress race. There’s also David Thewlis for Supporting Actor. The Lady will certainly be part of any sales discussion, but I know of at least one mini-major who would like the film but just not for this year. As I mentioned yesterday, Barrymore with its sensational title performance from Christopher Plummer also wants to make a deal that includes a 2011 year-end release. Also director Zhang Yimou’s epic The Flowers of War (formerly Nanking) starring Oscar-winner Christian Bale had a 20-minute footage presentation here and hopes to get a domestic deal in place in time for a possible year-end run at Oscar. I am told it could certainly be ready what with its debut in Beijing in December.
Just as it did last year, the 2011 Toronto Film Festival has gotten off to a slow start on the acquisitions front. I spoke with many buyers after last night’s onslaught of acquisition title premieres, and the common feeling was these distributors need to fill slots in their schedules and they want to fall in love, but haven’t quite gotten there yet with most of these films. They had some reservations on just about all of the films they saw. These films will clearly find distribution homes, but the reaction means that deals will drag out because those distributors aren’t going to be posting large minimum guarantees, the way they did in Cannes.
Even the big sale of the festival so far, the Steve McQueen-directed NC-17 sex drama Shame, wasn’t a huge commitment for all the press hoopla that followed Deadline’s reveal that the film had sold to Fox Searchlight. I am hearing the deal was a mid-six figure minimum guarantee around $400,000, and a P&A commitment around $1.5 million. That sounds about right, because the filmmakers were most concerned with entering this year’s Oscar race to capitalize on the performances by Michael Fassbender and Carey Mulligan, and ensuring that not a frame of the picture was changed. But it doesn’t sound like a wide release picture.
As for the wide release titles, they are going to sell, but it will be a struggle for sellers to get the dollars they want. I saw one of those titles that sit atop buyer lists last night. Salmon Fishing in the Yemen was scripted by Simon Beaufoy, directed by Lasse Hallstrom and stars Ewan McGregor, Emily Blunt, Kristin Scott Thomas and Amr Waked, the latter playing a wealthy sheik who pays a fisheries scientist to stock a stream with trout. The film is sophisticated, funny, timely and utterly charming, and I would be surprised if it isn’t snapped up by Monday or sooner. That film got the best reaction from the buyers I spoke with. The pace of auctioning has been complicated by the volume of premieres last night, including Rampart, Take This Waltz, The Oranges, the hockey comedy Goon and the Morgan Spurlock-directed documentary Comic-Con: A Fan’s Hope. Buyers had to make choices, and some were seeing films like Salmon this morning. I expect a flurry of deals toward the end of the festival, which is how it played out last year.
Since there’s little going on so far, you have time to notice things. Here are a few things I’ve noticed:
Toronto: ‘Descendants’ Premiere Gets Big Reaction, Searchlight Has No Shame About Pickup Of Controversial ‘Shame’
Fox Seachlight’s annual party at the Thompson Hotel for the Toronto International Film Festival seemed especially ebullient Saturday after its growing Oscar contender, The Descendants, premiered to a standing ovation. Exactly a week earlier, the film received a similar enthusiastic response in Telluride. On top of that, Searchlight’s co-presidents Nancy Utley and Stephen Gilula had just won rights over The Weinstein Company and Sony Pictures Classics to the controversial Steve McQueen-directed Shame, which missed out Saturday on the Golden Lion at the Venice Film Festival but did nab star Michael Fassbender the Best Actor prize for his raw, let-it-all-hang-out performance as a sexually addicted man in freefall.
Utley confirmed that Searchlight will release Shame this year in time for the Oscar race, possibly December. Although they have not dated it, they do want enough time to put a campaign together. She was thrilled that Fassbender got the Venice prize for the film, which premieres in Toronto tomorrow night, after
EXCLUSIVE: In the first major deal of the Toronto Film Festival, Fox Searchlight has acquired Shame, the Steve McQueen-directed NC-17 drama that was the talk of Telluride. Bidding came down to Searchlight and The Weinstein Company. The film is said to showcase a tour de force performance by Michael Fassbender, who plays a New Yorker unable to manage his sex life when his wayward younger sister (Carey Mulligan) moves into his apartment, and his world spirals out of control. Searchlight had been the frontrunner in the bidding. The film is a provocative purchase for a number of reasons: It is unabashedly NC-17, features graphic sex scenes and nudity — one source said “think dungeon sex” — and McQueen has final cut and will not change a frame. It will be a controversial release for Searchlight, whose parent company has already weathered plenty of scandal lately. Also, the deal calls for a late-year release and Best Actor campaign for Fassbender; Searchlight will already be waging a campaign in the same category for George Clooney in the Alexander Payne-directed The Descendants. Hanway brokered the Shame deal.