EXCLUSIVE: WME has signed Mark Webber, whose film The End Of Love got nominated for the Grand Jury Prize at 2012 Sundance and who just wrapped The Ever After. Webber, who wrote The End Of Love, also scripted The Ever After, and stars in it with Melissa Leo, Rosario Dawson, Kid Cudi, Jaime King, and Teresa Palmer. Webber’s earlier film Explicit Ills won the 2008 SXSW Audience Award. Webber is not only a rising director, he’s an inspiration for overcoming adversity. He was raised in Philadelphia by his mom, and both of them lived on the streets part of the time. She has become a renowned advocate for the homeless who ran for Vice President last year with the Green Party. Now he’s with a major agency. He continues with attorney Ira Schreck.
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Fox Searchlight’s Stoker just may bring some fresh air into a specialty field that’s been monopolized in 2013 on the money side by two titles, Quartet and Amour. Park Chan-wook’s Nicole Kidman starrer averaged $22,500 in 7 runs. For comparisons, Amour opened in 3 theaters as well, averaging $22,755 (a Christmas period release) while Quartet bowed January 11 in two theaters with a $23,561 average. Both have continued solid runs. This weekend also has a number of other newcomers, including Oscar-nominated War Witch. That film, which won awards at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and was picked up by the festival’s distribution wing Tribeca Film, grossed $10,260 for a $5,130 average. It’s a terrific film, and hopefully word of mouth will carry it further, but its bow is modest. Two other newcomers beat War Witch out in terms of PTA although they were single showings. Cinema Guild’s Leviathan took in just over $10K, while International Film Circuit’s Hava Nagila grossed $9,521.
But it was a Stoker weekend in the limited release arena following the climax of the long, long awards season. Korean director Park Chan-wook found a loyal following in the U.S. with titles Old Boy and I’m A Cyborg, But That’s OK, and Stoker is his first English-language outing. Starring Kidman, Matthew Goode, Mia Wasikowska, and Oscar nominee Jackie Weaver (Silver Linings Playbook), the feature will add a dozen or so theaters in its current markets next week.
Canadian filmmaker Kim Nguyen’s Foreign-Language Oscar nominee War Witch will head to LA next weekend before expanding to 30-plus markets later this month and into April (in addition to VOD). Fellow newcomer A Place At The Table did not fare so well in its bow despite some foodie and Hollywood star power. The doc took in $84K for a $2,400 average, although distributor Magnolia did put the title in 35 theaters. The film, which exposes the crisis of hunger in America featured Jeff Bridges and Tom Colicchio with the backing of Participant Media. Magnolia and Participant worked together on doc Food Inc., which opened in June 2009 in 3 theaters, averaging $20,171 in its opening weekend. Table may find its legs in the coming weeks, although hunger may be a tough sell. At this weekend’s doc-focused True/False Film Festival, one industry insider noted about the challenges Table faced compared to Food, Inc: “It’s about people who are marginalized and are poor vs. foodies with cash facing down the vagaries of the food industry.”
The True/False Fest is also screening two specialty holdovers this weekend in Columbia, Mo which are holding their own in the overall market. Sony Pictures Classics’ foreign-language Oscar-nominee No added 5 locations in its third weekend, averaging a positive $10,013, while fellow SPC release The Gatekeepers added 27 theaters, averaging $5,549. Last weekend it averaged $8,084 in 19 locations.
A Place At The Table (Magnolia Pictures) NEW [35 Theaters] Weekend $84K, Average $2,400
The End Of Love (Variance) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $2,400, Average $1,200
Hava Nagila (The Movie) (International Film Circuit) [1 Theater] Weekend $9,521
Leviathan (Cinema Guild) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $10,018
Stoker (Fox Searchlight) NEW [7 Theaters] Weekend $158K, Average $22,500
War Witch (Tribeca Film) NEW [2 Theaters] Weekend $10,260, Average $5,130
Welcome To Pine Hill (Oscilloscope) NEW [1 Theater] Weekend $4K
Specialty Preview: ‘Stoker’, ‘War Witch’, ‘A Place At The Table’, ‘Genius On Hold’, ‘The End Of Love’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The first weekend after Oscars brings a variety of specialty films making their U.S. theatrical debuts. South Korean auteur Park Chan-wook‘s first English-language thriller Stoker, starring Nicole Kidman, hopes to lure Park fans and new converts, while Tribeca Film hopes to draw audiences for its award winning and Oscar-nominated film War Witch. Celebrity chef Tom Colicchio and Jeff Bridges are just two of the marquee names behind hunger documentary A Place At The Table, which Magnolia Pictures rolls out Friday. Fellow doc Genius On Hold looks at a troubled father-son relationship (one a telecommunications genius, the other a jewel thief) in what may be a precursor to a bigger narrative feature down the road. Variance Films also taps the father-son relationship in the drama The End Of Love.
Director: Park Chan-wook
Writers: Wentworth Miller, Erin Cressida Wilson
Cast: Mia Wasikowska, Nicole Kidman, Matthew Goode
Distributor: Fox Searchlight
Wentworth Miller penned the screenplay for Stoker under a pseudonym, which eventually made its way to producer Michael Costigan and his colleagues. The story centers on India, whose mysterious Uncle Charlie comes to live with her and her unstable mother following the death of her father. India suspects that her charming uncle has ulterior motives although she also becomes increasingly infatuated with him. “We wondered whether [Park Chan-wook] would read Hollywood scripts as did Searchlight,” Costigan said of the Korean-based filmmaker. “So we thought, ‘let’s give it a shot’. Fortunately his group in the U.S. liked it and he wanted to talk about it. And not only did he want to talk, he started pitching ideas.”