Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Last week, Inside Llewyn Davis opened to the year’s second biggest screen average among Specialty releases and was clearly the ‘big indie’ heading into the weekend. This week the film will expand into over a dozen locations on the heels of its Golden Globe nominations this morning. This week’s new Specialties will still have to contend with Llewyn and other popular holdovers like fellow nominee 12 Years A Slave, Nebraska, Dallas Buyers Club as well as Philomena, which will likely dominate in the absence of a new star-boasting title that has built momentum out of the likes of Cannes or first tier fall festivals in North America. Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker should find some momentum among non-fiction fans for her latest feature The Crash Reel, which has picked up festival awards will begin its theatrical phase this weekend via Phase 4 Films. Magnolia’s thriller Here Comes The Devil will also begin in L.A. and New York, while Janus Films will begin a New York exclusive run of doc Liv & Ingmar. And Sweet Talk will open in downtown L.A. Friday, followed quickly by a VOD launch. Of note, Sony/Columbia’s American Hustle and Buena Vista’s Saving Mr. Banks begin their theatrical releases in limited engagement, but will expand to well over 2000 screens the following week.
The Crash Reel
Director-writer: Lucy Walker
Subjects: Kevin Pearce, Shaun White, Mason Aguirre, Jake Burton, Danny Davis, Scotty Lago
Distributor: Phase 4 Films
Twice Oscar-nominated documentary filmmaker Lucy Walker may possibly head down the red carpet a third time the Dolby Theater in March with The Crash Reel. The film, which made the doc short list, follows the epic rivalry between half-pipe legends Shaun White and Kevin Pearce, childhood friends who became the number one and two in the world leading up to the Vancouver Winter Olympics. “The [project] came from meeting Kevin at a retreat for extreme sports. [At times] you are smack hit with someone and know it has to be your next film,” said Walker about the film’s origin three-and-a-half years ago. “But on the other hand, I always wanted to do a film about people adapting to spinal injuries in addition to extreme sports.” After getting Pearce on board for the project Walker tapped Julian Cautherley to join her on the project. Read More »
It was predictable that Inside Llewyn Davis would rule over the Specialty Box Office this weekend, but the question mark was how big the numbers would be for the CBS Films release. Directed by Joel and Ethan Coen and starring Oscar Isaac, folk music drama grossed a spectacular $402K in four theaters, giving the feature a knock out $100,500 per screen average. Woody Allen’s Blue Jasmine opened slightly higher earlier this year with a $102,011 PSA, but the weekend’s numbers far outpace the Coens’ previous non-studio release A Serious Man, which had a $41,890 PSA from 6 theaters when it opened in October, 2009. CBS Films reported that the Cannes Grand Prix winner bowed Friday with a $123,340 gross, jumping 29% on Saturday to $159,324. It is estimating a 25% drop for Sunday to $119,336.
Related: BOX OFFICE: ‘Frozen’ Catches Heat And Fire To Lead The Weekend
Noted CBS Films Sunday morning touting Llewyn Davis‘ numbers: “Looking at the past decade (and excluding the El Capitan live show premium) this puts Inside Llewyn Davis in the #7 slot for PSA on opening weekend. Above There Will Be Blood in two locations ($95,370 PSA) and Midnight In Paris in six locations ($99,834 PSA).” Inside Llewyn Davis will expand December 20 but will remain in limited runs before going nationwide in January.
“As excited as we were to get the film back in February and with the reviews and award at Cannes,” said Steven Friedlander, EVP, Theatrical Distribution at CBS Films Sunday. “There’s nothing that beats theater managers telling us about repeat sell out shows. We’re thrilled with the early word of mouth and look forward to weeks of fans finding themselves lost in funny, beautiful and completely unique world of the Coens.” Read More »
After a sizable festival run including wins in Cannes, the Hamptons and a big Gotham prize this week, the Coens’ Inside Llewyn Davis is easily the most anticipated Specialty release of the weekend. The Oscar hopeful will platform release via CBS Films. Tim’s Vermeer had good news ahead of its theatrical roll out this weekend, making the Oscar Documentary shortlist. A Telluride and New York Film Festival premiere, Sony Classics will open the unique film which illusionist/entertainer Teller (of Penn and Teller fame) directed. Producer Adam Shopkorn is self-distributing his doc Lenny Cooke which will make its rounds this month ahead of a hopeful television deal that will move the Tribeca film’s reach into high gear. And also opening is IFC Films’ comedy White Reindeer in limited release.
Inside Llewyn Davis
Directors-writers: Ethan Coen, Joel Coen
Cast: Oscar Isaac, Carey Mulligan, John Goodman, Justin Timberlake, Ethan Phillips, Robin Bartlett
Distributor: CBS Films
The Coens latest has made its rounds online with various trailer releases since its World Premiere at the Cannes Film Festival last May where it won the Jury Grand Prize. The film then headed to the Telluride and New York Film Festivals as well as festivals in Chicago, Austin and AFI Fest. The Gothams gave it its best awards push to date with a Best Film win for 2013, while the National Board of Review gave the Coens a Best Original Screenplay nod and the NY Film Critics Circle recognized Bruno Delbonnel for Best Cinematography. The drama follows the week in the life of a young singer against the backdrop of the Greenwich Village folk scene of 1961. Read More »
By Deadline’s Brian Brooks and Jen Yamato.
Thanksgiving weekend yielded a box office bounty for The Weinstein Co. and a turkey for FilmDistrict and Spike Lee in a holiday weekend with slim competition from indie comers. TWC made a pair of bold moves, opening awards hopeful Mandela: Long Walk To Freedom on 4 screens to a strong $100,306 take averaging $25,076 per screen; the drama starring Idris Elba as South African president Nelson Mandela built up word of mouth on the fest circuit at Toronto, Mill Valley, The Hamptons, Chicago, and AFI Fest. TWC also seized the chance to bump last week’s Judi Dench-starrer Philomena from 4 theaters to 835 theaters and the pic subsequently broke into the Top 10 with a $4,538 average and a $3.789M weekend. Dench stars alongside Steve Coogan in the true story of a woman searching for the son she gave up for adoption decades earlier, a heartwarming family tale that was primed for holiday viewing. Alas, Thanksgiving weekend wasn’t quite so kind to FilmDistrict’s Oldboy which in its own bloody way is also about the ties that bind. Spike Lee‘s remake of the brutally violent Korean thriller from Park Chan-Wook, stars Josh Brolin, Elizabeth Olsen, Samuel L. Jackson, and Sharlto Copley in a vengeance saga with extreme twists and turns not for the faint of heart. It took in a paltry $850K on the weekend, averaging $1,458 in 583 theaters.
In other openers this weekend, IFC Films’ doc The Punk Singer bowed to a $24K gross in three locations from Friday to Sunday. The company noted that the doc “sold out multiple shows in New York and LA for its debut. The documentary on punk singer icon Kathleen Hanna will roll out to the top 10 markets in December. And Vitagraph opened Caught In The Web in one location. It was a slow start with a $330 gross.
IFC Films added three additional theaters for Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy? in its second frame, grossing just under $20K for a $3,390 PSA. The feature averaged $10,620 in its opening last weekend in a trio of locations. Read More »
The Weinstein Company’s Philomena and holdovers The Great Beauty, 12 Years A Slave, and Dallas Buyers Club lent some zest to the Specialty Box Office this weekend, with Philomena platforming in New York and L.A. in four theaters and grossing $133,716 for a strong $33,429 average. Ahead of the Stephen Frears-directed feature’s roll out Friday, TWC said they expected the film would pique audience attention, especially among the sometimes lucrative mature movie-going set. TWC’s president of theatrical distribution Erik Lomis said the title had very positive word of mouth screenings in various parts of the country including the Midwest, which has motivated the distributor to open the film fairly wide after this weekend.
“It’s right in the range where we were hoping it would be,” said Lomis Sunday morning.”It plays to an older audience, and we knew it would. We think we’re positioned well as it expands nationally next weekend.” Lomis said the film’s exit polls were “through the roof” with 94% giving it an “excellent” or “very good” reaction. Philomena lead Judi Dench starred in 2012 hit The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel, scoring heavily with mature audiences. Fox Searchlight released Marigold to box office acclaim, grossing over $46.4 million domestically last year. On a straight screen average comparison, Philomena‘s opening weekend is actually higher, coming in at $33,429 vs Marigold‘s initial $27K PSA, though that film opened in 27 theaters. TWC, naturally, is hoping to follow some of that film’s success. Read More »
Documentaries take the spotlight this weekend ahead of next week’s Thanksgiving holiday in the U.S. The Weinstein Company, however, is bucking that weekend trend with Stephen Frears’ Philomena, which it hopes will lure the frequently lucrative older demographic into theaters. Roman Polanski’s “lost” documentary Weekend Of A Champion, which has been re-discovered and given a clean-up and a present-day update for its bow four decades later this weekend. The film looks at Formula One racing through champion Jackie Stewart in post ’60s Monaco. Sundance’s Narco Cultura joins the non-fiction offerings via Cinedigm along with Michel Gondry’s animated Is The Man Who Is Tall Happy?. The IFC Films title is closing out this year’s DOC NYC event Thursday night. Last year, DOC NYC featured Bettie Page Reveals All, which also hits theaters this weekend, giving a big screen look at one of the world’s most famous pinup figures.
Director-writer: Stephen Frears
Writers: Jeff Pope, Martin Sixsmith (book)
Cast: Judi Dench, Steve Coogan, Sophie Kennedy Clark, Mare Winningham, Barbara Jefford, Ruth McCabe
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
A best screenplay winner in Venice and the best narrative feature audience award winner at the Hamptons International Film Festival, Stephen Frears’ drama centers on a world-weary political journalist. He follows the story of a woman’s search for her son who was taken away from her decades ago after she became pregnant and forced to live in a convent. “We screened it and we knew we had something really special — Judi and Steve Coogan are great,” said TWC’s president of Theatrical Distribution. Read More »
Alexander Payne‘s black and white drama Nebraska, starring Bruce Dern in the role that nabbed him the Cannes Best Actor Award in May, bowed with solid numbers. The film platformed in 4 theaters, grossing $140K and averaging a healthy $35K. Pic stars Dern as a senior bent on collecting a million bucks in sweepstakes money and Will Forte as the son who reluctantly road trips across state lines to satisfy the old man. The numbers show momentum. Compare to Payne’s previous openings: His last film, The Descendants, opened in 29 theaters in November 2011 with a $41K average, though that film was in color, starred George Clooney, and was set in the sunnier climes of Hawaii. His last road trip movie, Sideways (with Paul Giamatti and Thomas Haden Church), was set in California’s Santa Barbara County and bowed in 4 runs in October 2004 averaging a spectacular $51,769 for a $207K opening weekend gross. Paramount Vantage will expand awards contender Nebraska to 10 markets on November 22.
“We had a strategy of screening early and often,” said Megan Colligan, Paramount’s head of domestic marketing and distribution this week. “Word of mouth is going to be the key here. There’s a strong through line of relatability. Some people will think a movie with octogenarians will think it’s for old people, but their children will relate to connecting with their parents and that has strong emotional pull people will connect to. The comedy community and comics in general love the humor of this movie.” Read More »
Over a decade in the making, Alexander Payne’s black and white road trip Nebraska starring Bruce Dern makes its way to theaters after festival runs beginning in Cannes as well as the New York Film Festival and Telluride this fall. The feature had a long journey itself before arriving on the big screen and is platforming this weekend via Paramount Vantage. Janus Films is opening Italy’s Best Foreign Language contender The Great Beauty in an exclusive run. The film is the Criterion related label’s one new release of the year and is beginning with a targeted roll out. Millennium Entertainment’s Charlie Countryman starring Shia LaBeouf and Evan Rachel Wood is also joining the weekend’s newcomers in limited release as well as day and date. Also opening in theaters and simultaneous VOD is Submarine Deluxe and Gravitas’ Calvin and Hobbes doc Dear Mr. Watterson. Gravitas is also partnering with Samuel Goldwyn on a separate opener this weekend, Sunlight Jr. which stars Naomi Watts, Matt Dillon and Norman Reedus, in a story about trying to make it on minimum wage. Also in the mix this weekend is TWC’s 12-12-12 by directors Amir Bar-Lev & Charlie Lightning and producer Meghan Ohara. The film is a behind-the-scenes look at the televised benefit concert to raise relief funds for Hurricane Sandy victims in 2012. It will open at the Angelika in New York and the Arclight Sherman Oaks this weekend.
Director: Alexander Payne
Writer: Bob Nelson
Cast: Bruce Dern, Will Forte, June Squibb, Bob Odenkirk, Stacy Keach, Mary Louise Wilson
Distributor: Paramount Vantage
Nebraska had been on Oscar-winning filmmaker Alexander Payne’s plate for over a decade. The director, who won accolades for Sideways in 2004 did not want to embark on another road trip movie after the wine guzzling box office hit, so he told producers and its identified star Bruce Dern that there would be a waiting period until he finished another feature — which would eventually be The Descendants. “It’s the first film from a script that Alexander didn’t write,” noted Megan Colligan, Paramount’s head of domestic marketing and distribution. Producers Ron Yerxa and Albert Berger teamed with Paramount for the project. Read More »
High profile awards contenders had big expansions over the weekend, easily dwarfing the roll outs of lower profile new comers this weekend. Fox Searchlight’s big Oscar hopeful 12 Years A Slave, Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost and Focus Features’ Dallas Buyers Club headed into more theaters and markets with mostly strong results. Searchlight moved 12 Years A Slave into 1,144 theaters, an increase of 734 from the previous week. It grossed $6.6 million in its 4th week of release, averaging $5,769 and placing 7th in the overall box office.
Roadside/Lionsgate’s All Is Lost, which had its U.S. debut earlier this month at the New York Film Festival, headed into 401 runs grossing over $1.2 million and averaging $3K. Last week, it grossed nearly $600K in 131 locations. Focus added 26 theaters for Dallas Buyers Club‘s second frame. The film starring Matthew McConaughey held nicely, grossing $629K, averaging almost $18K. Focus noted the film had a 61% increase from Friday to Saturday, which the company touted Sunday morning. “This bump far exceeds the 45% to 50% bump which is the norm for a roll-out,” said a Focus spokesperson. “This big bump on Saturday shows momentum with Saturday’s habitual adult – Boomer, Gen X and sophisticated younger patrons. For the second week in a row, the film over performed on Saturday. Clearly it is connecting with the core adult audience.” Focus added that increases also took place in last week’s theaters as well.
Among newcomers, Sony Classics’ The Armstrong Lie took the weekend’s highest PSA, though from a slight threshold. The Venice and Toronto documentary grossed $30,904, averaging $6,181. This is the second film to head to theaters this year from veteran filmmaker Alex Gibney, whose late May release We Steal Secrets: The Story Of Wikileaks averaged $6,922 when it bowed in 4 theaters. That film went on to gross over $166K in the U.S. SPC will expand The Armstrong Lie into several additional markets next weekend, while also adding runs in Los Angeles. Read More »
Specialties continue to crowd the exhibition market. After a brief lull, theatrical newcomers are back en force this weekend, though the numbers should lighten up as the year winds down. Alex Gibney is back for a second time this year with The Armstrong Lie after opening We Steal Secrets: The Story Of WikiLeaks in May. The film took a major turn during filming after doping allegations hit a crisis moment for subject, Lance Armstrong. Fellow veteran doc filmmaker Frederick Wiseman is also hitting theaters with his latest, At Berkeley. Both films played at the Toronto and New York film festivals this fall. The films will be joined in theaters with Polsky Films’ The Motel Life with Emile Hirsch and John Sayles’ latest, Go For Sisters through Variance Films. And Screen Media will roll out French-language title Paris Countdown in limited runs.
The Armstrong Lie
Director-writer Alex Gibney
Subjects: Lance Armstrong, Reed Albergotti, Betsy Andreu, Frankie Andreu
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Veteran doc filmmaker Alex Gibney did not initially set out to make what eventually became The Armstrong Lie. The famed multiple winner of the Tour de France decided to come out of retirement and once again compete in bicycling’s most famous competition in 2009. Gibney set out to capture his return, but what might have been a puff piece for Armstrong fans got clobbered when doping allegations — accusations he had mostly dodged throughout his career — came back in full force. “It was challenging on two levels,” said producer Matt Tolmach. “[My fellow producer] Frank Marshall goes way back with Lance and I go back pretty far as well. We had to get our heads around a new emerging truth.” Tolmach said personal relationships aside, the doping crisis gave them an unlikely opportunity as filmmakers. Read More »
Dallas Buyers Club cinched the top spot in the Specialty Box Office, grossing over $264K, averaging a strong $29K-plus in 9 theaters this weekend. The Toronto debut starring Matthew McConaughey, Jared Leto and Jennifer Garner is based on the true story of Ron Woodroof who took on the medical establishment illegally importing promising drugs from abroad after learning he was HIV-positive.
“The word-of-mouth is stimulating the box office momentum which we see in the big increase from Friday to Saturday,” noted Focus Sunday. “Dallas experienced a strong increase in box office on Saturday with a 71% overall bump from Friday to Saturday. Yesterday’s increase is a strong indication that the film’s popular and box office momentum is working well. Grosses in the U.S. houses are strong with Dallas the #1 ranked film in 4 of the 6 opening houses.” Focus added that “smart-house films” historically increase in the upper 40% range from Friday to Saturday.
The distributor had more flush results from The Place Beyond The Pines earlier this year, grossing over $279 in 4 theaters in April, averaging nearly $70K. Had Dallas only opened in its 6 U.S. theaters, the average would have been $35K. The film also bowed in 3 Canadian locations this weekend. The result is an auspicious send off to the “Specialty” incarnation of Focus lead by James Schamus. Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
After tapering off the last couple of weeks, a new surge of specialty films are hitting theaters. In one of Focus Features‘ final releases spearheaded by James Schamus and Andrew Karpen, Québécois director Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club begins its theatrical run this weekend. The film starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto had a two decade sojourn first as a studio property, then as an indie before finally making it to the big screen. RADiUS-TWC’s Man Of Tai Chi opens as the weekend’s widest indie title in over 100 theaters after a one month stint in Ultra-VOD. The company, meanwhile said that its income disparity doc Inequality For All by Jacob Kornbluth passed the $1 million mark this weekend and is continuing its theatrical run. Tribeca Film is opening Belgium’s Oscar contender Broken Circle Breakdown, which hopes its powerful bluegrass soundtrack will help extend its theatrical life. Submarine Deluxe’s doc Casting By includes a bounty of A-listers spotlighting the often sidelined role of the casting director. Leto stars in a second opener this weekend as Magnolia rolls out Mr. Nobody in regional markets, while Ketchup Entertainment joins the weekend debuts with Big Sur. Jean Marc-Barr, Kate Bosworth, Balthazar Getty, Josh Lucas and writer/director Michael Polish were joined by a cadre of guests for its New York premiere this week at the Sunshine Landmark Theater. Zeitgeist Films is opening The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology, a follow-up of sorts to The Pervert’s Guide To Cinema seven years ago. And Oscilloscope has These Birds Walk in a limited run.
Dallas Buyers Club
Director: Jean-Marc Vallée
Writers: Craig Borten, Melisa Wallack
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner, Jared Leto, Denis O’Hare, Steve Zahn
Distributor: Focus Features
Dallas Buyers Club has roots tracing back to the ’90s when writer Craig Borten met with Ron Woodroof, the real-life personality behind Matthew McConaughey’s starring role in the film about a rough Texas electrician who finds out he’s HIV-positive in 1986 and takes on the medical establishment in order to have access and distribute potentially life preserving medication from abroad. “Craig Borten is a good friend of mine. He heard about Ron and met with him in Texas,” said producer Robbie Brenner who worked at Miramax by the time the first draft of the film was available in ’96. “I fell in love with it. At that juncture there were other people involved.” Borten solicited Brenner’s help. In one of its early stages Brad Pitt and Universal were involved with the project, though it languished at the studio for seven years before the company ultimately decided against it. Read More »
After the Palme d’Or, public spats and talk about “that scene,” Cannes Palme d’Or winner Blue Is The Warmest Color opened with solid numbers this weekend in New York and L.A. The feature grossed just over $101K in 4 theaters, for a $25,279 average – easily the highest of the weekend and one of the year’s highest for a foreign-language film.
Sundance Selects said it was “thrilled” by Blue‘s performance and that the drama about two young women who fall in love appealed across genders this weekend. “From the moment it screened in Cannes to its opening engagements here in the United States the film has received enormous publicity and critical acclaim for the film and for the lead actresses’ performances,” said IFC Films/Sundance Selects’ Mark Boxer Sunday. “Now filmgoers in New York and Los Angeles have had the opportunity to see what generated so much excitement and controversy and the turnout was quite impressive in a very crowded marketplace.”
Related: Palme d’Or Winner Ineligible For Foreign Language Category
Why Wild Bunch Wouldn’t Budge On ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Release For Oscar Eligibility
Blue opened stateside with an NC-17, though NYC’s IFC Center very publicly said it would admit high schoolers to the film. The title also trumped last year’s Best Foreign Language Oscar winner and fellow Palme d’Or winner Amour, which had a $22,755 in 3 locations last December. That film went on to gross over $6.7 million in the U.S. Read More »
Blue Is The Warmest Color has had more press, public spats, anticipation, praise and momentum than any foreign-language film in memory. The latest flap involves New York’s IFC Center deciding not to honor the NC-17 MPAA voluntary rating, allowing young people under 18 to see the film. Now the Palme d’Or winner is heading out to theaters in the U.S. courtesy of Sundance Selects. The film has already grossed nearly a cool $4.5 million in France since opening October 9. The weekend’s roster of newcomers are far fewer than previous bows this fall. Among the new Specialties hitting theaters along with Blue Friday are The Film Arcade’s Spinning Plates by Food Network host Joseph Levy as well as fellow doc Not Yet Begun To Fight by Shasta Grenier and Sabrina Lee’s, which they will self-distribute, and Cohen Media Group’s Capital. And listed in last week’s Specialty Preview is Jehane Noujaim’s Toronto and NYFF debut, The Square, which will open at Film Forum in New York.
Blue Is The Warmest Color
Director-writer: Abdellatif Kechiche
Writers: Julie Maroh (story), Galia Lacroix (adaptation)
Cast: Adèle Exarchopoulos, Léa Seydoux, Salim Kechiouche, Aurélien Recoing, Catherine Salée, Benjamin Siksou
Distributor: Sundance Selects
Much has been talked about the 2013 Cannes Palme d’Or winner, Blue Is The Warmest Color. The festival, lead by festival juror Steven Spielberg even gave recognition to the film’s two leads, Adèle Exarchopoulos and Léa Seydoux with special Palme d’Ors of their own. The film centers on Adèle, a young woman who meets Emma, with whom she falls in love with as the pair embark on a passionate relationship.
Related: ‘Blue Is The Warmest Color’ Is France’s Top Local Opener Of The Year
Read More »
Fox Searchlight opened its Oscar hopeful 12 Years A Slave in limited release following spectacular runs in Telluride, Toronto and the New York Film Festival. The film, directed by Steve McQueen and starring Chiwetel Ejiofor, grossed $960K in 19 theaters for a strong $50,525 PSA, placing it in the upper echelon for the year. Searchlight said Sunday that the film, produced by New Regency, reached an “incredibly diverse audience,” adding, “We have been attracting both the Art/Specialty cinephile crowd as well the African-American audience. CinemaScores have come in with an overall grade of ‘A’ with a fairly wide spread in terms of age and demographics.”
To put in perspective, SPC’s Blue Jasmine opened in 6 theaters in August, averaging just over $102K ($31.97 cume); Focus’ The Place Beyond The Pines bowed in April with 4 runs, averaging $69,864 ($21.4M cume); A24′s Spring Breakers opened in a trio of runs, averaging $87,667 ($14.12M cume), while the distributor’s August release The Spectacular Now opened with a $49,354 average in 4 theaters ($6.8M cume). Searchlight’s own box office successes The Way, Way Back opened in 19 locations in July, averaging just over $29K ($21.43M cume) and Enough Said opened in 4 theaters, averaging $58,200 September 18 ($10.787M cume so far). Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The upcoming weekend will host a number of anticipated films from the recent festival circuit, some of which are likely eyeing an Oscar nomination or two. Robert Redford-starrer All Is Lost hits theaters after crowd-pleasing runs in Cannes and the recent New York Film Festival. Word of mouth helped propel the film when it debuted back in May in Cannes, despite its limited dialog. 12 Years A Slave has practically won the race according to some prognosticators. A debut at Telluride, Toronto and NYFF, the film should continue to see positive word of mouth, though may prove tough viewing for some. Daniel Radcliffe stars in Sundance and Venice debut Kill Your Darlings. The Harry Potter thespian breaks out from the franchise that made him huge in a leading role that launches him squarely into adulthood. Doc filmmaker Jehane Noujaim takes her latest onto the streets of Cairo during the country’s series of uprisings in The Square. The filmmaker and her team experienced arrest, interrogation and more creating the film which had standing ovations at TIFF and NYFF. The doc is part of a trio of non-fiction films utilizing various forms of DIY releases including Blood Brother and “Fantastical doc” Peaches Does Herself. And The Film Collective and Dada will bow drama Torn in a targeted roll out.
All Is Lost
Director-writer: J.C. Chandor
Cast: Robert Redford
Robert Redford won praises for his portrayal of a skipper aboard a pleasure craft sailing alone on the open sea. The film unfolds with little dialog, with Redford playing the only cast member “Our Man,” whose boat collides with a shipping container at sea, damaging his boat, forcing him to face mortality and the elements. “It’s a big weekend for us, it’s the first movie Roadside has been involved with as a production,” Roadside co-president Howard Cohen said. “J.C. handed us the script as [his previous film] Margin Call opened. We had released that film [with success] and liked the material.” They also liked Redford who was attached at that point. Margin Call had debuted at Sundance, but Chandor had already reached out to Redford for the “Our Man” part. The two met in Redford’s office in L.A. “When we met, I was already inclined. I just had to make sure he wasn’t nuts,” said Redford at the recent New York Film Festival. Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Specialty alternatives to Gravity and Captain Phillips failed to attract significant numbers this weekend as newcomers including Relativity’s Romeo & Juliet release turned in poor-to-adequate numbers. Producers Distribution Agency, which has released a half dozen titles including 2010′s Banksy hit Exit Through The Gift Shop, opened Escape From Tomorrow from first time feature filmmaker Randy Moore in 30 theaters to a so-so $66K ($2,204 PSA). More importantly: Entertainment lawyer/sales agent John Sloss has vowed that this film will be a template in transparency. Sloss told me last week and again this morning that Escape‘s VOD/digital numbers will be reported and he hopes this will encourage others to do the same. VOD numbers have remained a mystery in box office reporting, though it’s widely accepted that they are a huge chunk if not the bulk of many specialty films’ overall gross. I told a rival distributor at the closing night of the New York Film Festival that Sloss/PDA said they would disclose VOD/digital numbers and that person conveyed sympathy for filmmakers, agents etc. for wanting or needing to know the numbers. He also thinks it could be a disservice because the “general public” naturally gravitates to what is popular in terms of numbers and they’ll be exposed to “spin” by the media… Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Another weekend, another dozen-plus Specialty films entering the crowded theatrical market. The end of summer opened the floodgates of limited release titles and momentum has continued into fall. A number, of course, are four walling in support of their VOD/digital release and often disappear after a couple of weeks. Most execs have expressed concern for the saturation, but maintain that their releases are unique and have a shot at standing out in a crowded market. Noted one indie veteran this week, “It is both not sustainable and not going to change. There is an embarrassment of riches in the theatrical marketplace this season so you better have the goods if you want to compete.” This week’s Preview includes nine of the newcomers hitting theaters this weekend. Notably, two of the week’s biggest roll outs are targeted toward niche (albeit large niches) markets. Bollywood will have a big North American roll out with Besharam from Reliance, while faith-centered audiences will welcome Grace Unplugged via Roadside and Lionsgate. Among the others bowing in limited release are Phase 4′s Slamdance winner The Dirties, Magnolia’s Bad Milo!, Ketchup’s doc Linsanity, Film Arcade’s A.C.O.D., Sundance titles I Used To Be Darker from Strand and Sundance Selects’ doc The Summit. And Paladin will open Five Dances in limited release.
Director-writer: Matthew Johnson
Writers: Josh Boles, Matthew Miller, Evan Morgan
Cast: Matthew Johnson, Own Williams, Krista Madison, Brandon Wickens, Jay McCarrol
Distributor: Phase 4
2013 Slamdance Grand Jury Prize winner The Dirties. The drama revolves around two best friends who film a comedy about getting revenge on bullies at their high school, but one of the would-be filmmakers takes matters beyond a big screen fantasy. “Elyse Seiden from the Kevin Smith Movie Club saw the film at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival and brought it to us and Kevin,” said Phase 4 CEO Berry Meyerowitz. “Kevin was over the top about the film so he pursued it for our label together. The club is a great jumping off point for independent filmmakers, and The Dirties is the type of movie that has just the right amount of edge to mobilize and create conversation among the Kevin Smith fan base.” Phase 4 is hoping to broaden the film’s audience beyond the KS Club’s core 18-34 male group via the topic of bullying. “Our intent with the audience is to create conversation around bullying while also positioning this film against others of its kind,” said Meyerowitz. “The Dirties is unique in how it takes a neutral stance while creating understanding of the plight of the victims and the (potential) consequences of bullying.” Read More »