Angela Lansbury To Topline ‘Blithe Spirit’ On London Stage
Angela Lansbury is set to appear on the London stage for the first time in nearly four decades in a new production of Noel Coward’s Blithe Spirit. The 88-year-old Brit will play Madame Arcati, a role she played on Broadway in 2009, winning a Tony Award. The show will open March 18 for a limited 15-week run at the Gielgud Theatre. The former Murder, She Wrote star and MGM contract player, who won an Honorary Oscar this year, most recently trod the West End boards playing the lead role in Gypsy in 1974.
‘The Grandmaster’ Leads With Asia-Pacific Film Festival Awards Nominees
Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster leads the field with nine nominations at the 56th Asia-Pacific Film Festival awards. The film, which premiered at Cannes, is up for best picture against Anthony Chen’s Ilo Ilo, Kore-Eda Hirokazu’s Like Father, Like Son, Ritesh Batra’s The Lunchbox, Tsai Ming-liang’s Stray Dogs and Georgia’s In Bloom. Missing among the best pic nominees is Snowpiercer, which has the second-most nominations with seven. The Lunchbox is third with six. The awards will be presented at during a ceremony December 15 in Macau. A full list of nominations is here. READ MORE »
Singapore’s Best Foreign Oscar hopeful Ilo Ilo took home top honors at the 50th Golden Horse Awards, where the Cannes Camera d’Or winner also nabbed Best New Director (Anthony Chen), Best Supporting Actress (YEO Yann Yann), and Best Original Screenplay. The drama acquired by Film Movement is primed for an early 2014 theatrical release. Wong Kar-Wai’s The Grandmaster nabbed Best Actress (Zhang Ziyi), Best Cinematography, Best Art Direction, Best Makeup/Costumes, and Best Visual Effects. The martial arts biographical drama, released by TWC stateside, also won the Audience Award while Jackie Chan and his CZ12 team took home kudos for Best Action Choreography. Scroll down for full winners: Read More »
As the October 1st deadline approaches, Foreign Language Oscar submissions are coming fast and furious. The latest high-profile entries are Belgium’s The Broken Circle Breakdown, Hong Kong’s The Grandmaster and, especially notable for its unexpected appearance, India’s The Good Road. The latter was selected over the weekend and spurred consternation in India and elsewhere as many had expected Ritesh Batra’s Cannes Critics’ Week charmer The Lunchbox to be chosen. That film was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics in Cannes and had been perceived as the frontrunner for India’s Oscar entry; its biggest competitors appeared to be drama Bhaag Milkha Bhaag and comedy/drama English Vinglish. Instead, Gyan Correa’s Good Road, which weaves together three storylines on a highway in the rural land of Gujarat, was given the nod. Backed by the National Film Development Corporation of India, it won an Indian National Film Award as Best Gujarati movie a few months ago and is the first film from the region to ever be submitted to the Oscars. It does not have a U.S. distributor, leading some to wonder how effective a campaign it can run.
Related: Hot Trailer: ‘The Broken Circle Breakdown’ Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
The Grandmaster battled its way to the top of the Specialty Box Office in its first weekend, targeting the art house crowd though the film by celebrated Hong Kong director Wong Kar-wai is headed for a wider release next week. The martial arts feature starring Tony Leung and Zhang Ziyi grossed over $132K, averaging $18,894, making it the weekend’s top PSA title and out-performing the debut of the filmmaker’s previous release, My Blueberry Nights. That film grossed over $74K in 6 theaters in April 2008, averaging just $12,357. It went on to cume just $867K domestically. But Grandmaster fell short of 2046, Wong’s 2005 feature which opened in 4 theaters also in August of that year. That film, also starring Zhang, grossed just over $113K for a $28,268 average.
The Grandmaster itself evolved since screening for hometown audiences, shaving off 22 minutes by the time it hit screens this weekend and, according to TWC, a more linear telling of the story about Ip Man, the martial artist who trained Bruce Lee. TWC is confident the feature will cross over to a wider audience and is planning a significant expansion into Labor Day weekend.
“There is substantial action that will appeal to a wider audience,” said Weinstein president of Theatrical Distribution Erik Lomis. “It [is in] upscale theaters the first weekend and then will broaden out to suburban theaters.” The Grandmaster will head to 500 to 600 theaters next weekend, making it one of the largest foreign-language releases of the year. The film has grossed $55 million overseas to date.
SXSW Film Festival narrative winner Short Term 12 starring Brie Larson and John Gallagher bowed in 4 runs over the weekend. The film by Destin Cretton charmed audiences at SXSW, winning the Audience Award in addition to the top Jury Prize. It also received an acting award for Larson at the recent Locarno Film Festival. And in theaters, it grossed over $60K for a PSA just over $15K. Not a smash, but the film carried some momentum from its festival word of mouth. Read More »
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster arrives in North America re-worked to appeal to audiences here and faith that it will appeal to both art house and broader audiences alike. The lauded Hong Kong director has received critical and box office success with In The Mood For Love and perhaps to a lesser degree with My Blueberry Nights and 2046, and distributor TWC is looking to turn out ticket buyers who are loyal to the filmmaker or fans of martial arts. Former mumblecore filmmaker Joe Swanberg steps up his game with his comedy Drinking Buddies, parlaying into a production that did not follow DIY orthodoxy. The film has already been a big moneymaker on VOD, so theatrical will likely be icing on the cake. Short Term 12 has won awards from SXSW to Locarno. The film, which Cinedigm is opening in limited release will try and replicate that success theatrically. Cannes ’12 closer Thérèse hits theaters as well. Starring Audrey Tautou, the film is the final feature from the late Claude Miller. Vertical Entertainment is banking on its thriller Scenic Route starring Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler to bring out genre fans. The film has also tested positively with women. Una Noche takes on the phenomenon of Cuban immigration. The title played at a festival in Havana before finally being banned there. And Ketchup Entertainment is skirting the usual L.A./New York roll out for the Southeast where its latest, Savannah starring Jaimie Alexander and Jim Caviezel finds its base.
Director-writer: Wong Kar-wai
Writers: Zou Jingzhi, Xu Haofeng
Cast: Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Zhang Jin, Song Hye-kyo, Le Cung, Leung Siu-Lung, Chang Chen
Distributor: The Weinstein Company
Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai’s latest has undergone an evolution since opening in China earlier this year, coming in at 130 minutes. By the time it screened as the Berlinale opener, it came in at 122 minutes and it will land at 108 minutes when it hits screens this weekend. The feature centers on martial arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee. “We test screened it and there were some confusions in the storyline that make it hard to follow for some people, but there are no significant changes to the storyline,” said TWC president of Theatrical Distribution, Erik Lomis. Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Martin Scorsese is lending his support to the upcoming Weinstein Company release of The Grandmaster, the film directed by Wong Kar Wai. Scorsese will lend his name in presentation of the kung fu film, and above the line it will read Martin Scorsese Presents The Grandmaster when TWC releases the film theatrically in New York, Los Angeles and Toronto on August 23 and nationwide on August 30. Wong has directed such films as Chungking Express, 2046 and My Blueberry Nights, and The Grandmaster stars Tony Leung, Ziyi Zhang, and Chang Chen and is executive produced by Annapurna Pictures’ Megan Ellison. The film opened the Berlin Film Festival earlier this year. “Wong Kar Wai has turned martial arts into a modern dance,” Scorsese said.
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If Metallica can rock Comic-Con, why not Wong Kar Wai? The Weinstein Co. is bringing the director to the annual San Diego pop culture confab for promo duties and to host the first US screening … Read More »
The Weinstein Co. release acquired from Annapurna Pictures hits theaters August 23 with an abridged title (formerly The Grandmasters). Tony Leung stars in the Wong Kar-wai action drama as legendary martial artist Ip Man. Zhang Ziyi and Cung Le co-star. Here’s the … Read More »
We’re four days into the EFM and so far action has been fairly slow. But just this afternoon, The Weinstein Co. picked up U.S. rights to IM Global’s Blood Sisters: Vampire Academy, one of the hotter projects coming into the market. It’s not a given that the deal will kickstart further movement, but other projects understood to be generating domestic interest include Nicole Kidman-starrer Grace Of Monaco, repped by CAA, and Diana, with Naomi Watts, which Embankment is handling.
Other domestic deals include Sony Pictures Classics‘ acquisition of The Invisible Woman, a film to star Ralph Fiennes, Felicity Jones and Fiennes’ English Patient partner Kristin Scott Thomas. Fiennes also directs. And, The Weinstein Co. announced a deal for Wong Kar Wai’s opening night (out of competition) film The Grandmaster at the start of the fest. It’s fair to say that Berlin is not traditionally about the kind of big business that’s seen in Sundance, Toronto or Cannes. Read More »
BREAKING: I’ve read about the supposed bad blood between Harvey Weinstein and Annapurna Pictures principal Megan Ellison over the subpar box office grosses of The Master. But any idea they’re not doing business together seems to be a bit crunched by a new deal they’ve just made. The Weinstein Company has acquired all rights in the U.S. and English-speaking Canadian territories from Annapurna on Wong Kar Wai’s The Grandmaster, which premieres tonight as the opening film at the Berlin Film Festival. TWC also landed rights to Australia, New Zealand, and the UK from Wild Bunch.
The Grandmaster, written by Wong, Zou Jingzhi, and Xu Haofeng, was executive produced by Ellison (she has money in the movie), and produced by Jacky Pang and Wong. The film opened to critical praise last month in China and has just reached over $50 million at the box office there, making it the director’s highest-grossing film in his career.
I’m sure there is uneasiness between Ellison and Weinstein. In an interview I did with him at Sundance, Weinstein acknowledged their mutual disappointment over The Master and how it didn’t break out, with Ellison not coming near recouping the $35 million or so that she spent to make the film. In hindsight, Weinstein felt he could have helped by selling the more relate-able theme of the homebound warrior who’s lost and looking for something to believe in, rather than the origins of Scientology theme that stuck with the film and didn’t get a strong response.
It is an epic martial arts drama set against the tumultuous backdrop of 1930s China and inspired by the life and times of the legendary IP Man (Tony Leung), mentor to Bruce Lee. The story focuses on two kung fu masters, IP Man, and Gong Er, and as their worlds collide on the night of the Japanese invasion in 1936. The plot encompasses themes of war, family, revenge, desire, love, and memory. The all-star cast headed by Tony Leung Chiu Wa also includes Ziyi Zhang, Chang Chen, Xiao Shengyang and Song Hye Kyo as well as hundreds of Asia’s top martial artists. Read More »