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‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’ Ferocious; ‘To Rome With Love’ Strong: Specialty B.O.

After a slew of festival accolades including prizes at Sundance and Cannes, Beasts Of The Southern Wild swarmed the box office. With no stars and a first-time feature filmmaker, the pic nevertheless resonated with specialty audiences in-the-know. In New York and Los Angeles, the Louisiana Bayou-set film averaged an impressive $42,309 in four theaters. It was apparent the feature struck some zeitgeist when its star, 8-year-old newcomer Quvenzhané Wallis, made some of the talk-show rounds including The View and The Tonight Show With Jay Leno this week. Unless the universe realigns, the film should be a reasonable hit. Beasts opened last Wednesday and has taken in more than $220K so far.

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Fox Searchlight wasn’t shy about providing some interesting trivia. Beasts director Benh Zeitlin places 6th in the all-time limited release hierarchy for a first-time feature filmmaker. Searchlight had momentum with the title following its win at Sundance where it took the prize for best U.S. dramatic feature and then in Cannes taking the Camera D’Or, though Searchlight is being sanguine about its long-tail. “They were yelling Quvenzhané’s name out at the theaters,” Fox Searchlight’s SVP of distribution Frank Rodriguez said of the film’s young star (her name is pronounced ‘Kay-ven-zhaun-ay’). “But as you know in this business, that doesn’t necessarily win … Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘Beasts Of The Southern Wild’, ‘Take This Waltz’, ‘Last Ride’

By | Friday June 29, 2012 @ 12:38pm PDT

A long time in the making, Beasts Of The Southern Wild made a splash at this year’s Sundance Film Festival, taking the top prize amid rumors it would head to Cannes. Sure enough, it did although not in the Official Selection. It won notice there as well, winning one of the festival’s top prizes and it’s hitting theaters this week. Australian feature The Last Ride traveled the festival circuit, but took some time before landing U.S. distribution, though it picked up a high-profile ally here. Take This Waltz is naturally getting attention courtesy of its star Michelle Williams and director Sarah Polley, while Venice-set Unforgivable is also hoping to ride the media wave to solid box office numbers this weekend.

Beasts Of The Southern Wild
Director: Benh Zeitlin
Writers: Lucy Alibar, Benh Zeitlin
Cast: Quvenzhané Wallis, Dwight Henry, Levy Easterly
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Probably the most celebrated indie of the first half of 2012, Beasts Of The Southern Wild won the U.S. Dramatic Competition at the Sundance Film Festival and the Camera D’Or in Cannes last month. Not bad for a project with a director making his feature debut and a cast that sported non-pros across the board. The film did have some friends along the way. The San Francisco Film Society awarded the movie two grants that helped the filmmakers in withr post-production, according to producer Michael Gottwald. Grants organization Cinereach also got involved throughout the process. Read More »

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