Pablo Berger’s black and white and silent rendering of Snow White won the top Goya in Spain on Sunday night. The Spanish Oscars gave Blancanieves the Best Film prize along with Best Actress for Maribel Verdú and Best Original Screenplay for Berger. It won seven other prizes for a total of 10 out of its leading 18 nominations. The Impossible‘s Juan Antonio Bayona was named Best Director. The tsunami drama that stars Ewan McGregor and Oscar nominated Naomi Watts was also a winner in four other categories including Editing and Special Effects. It had 14 nominations going in. Click over for a full list of winners.
Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.
The first weekend of 2013 has barely any new specialty releases. One exception is Magnolia Pictures’ action-thriller A Dark Truth, directed by Damian Lee and starring Andy Garcia, Kim Coates and Deborah Kara Unger, will have a limited opening in Miami. Post-holiday attention on limited releases will focus on holdovers and expansions, including Lionsgate-Summit’s The Impossible, Focus Features’ Promised Land and Hyde Park On Hudson, and The Weinstein Company’s Silver Linings Playbook, and others.
The Naomi Watts-Ewan McGregor starrer The Impossible had a relatively meager start, averaging $8,250 in 15 locations two weekends ago, but it managed a rare feat last weekend increasing its average to $12,300 in the same 15 theaters. The film about a family caught in the South Asian tsumami has grossed an additional $145,721 in the same cinemas Monday through Wednesday ahead of its hefty expansion into 572 locations beginning Friday.
Specialty B.O.: ‘Zero Dark Thirty’ Scores Powerful $82K Per Theater’; ‘Amour’ Strong, ‘On The Road’, ‘The Impossible’ Soft
Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.
Kathryn Bigelow’s Zero Dark Thirty opened Wednesday with the highest-ever midweek per-theater debut at $24,969 and 5-theater opening-day total of $124,848 and it’s having a great pre-Christmas weekend. Sony’s decision to delay the movie’s release until after the presidential election and to go with a limited debut appears to have paid off. The controversial but critically praised heavyweight grossed a whopping $410K at only five locations and handily won the highest per screen average of any film in theatrical release with $82,000. That is just shy of Lincoln’s $85,846 average when it opened in 11 theaters in early November and it is well ahead of Bigelow’s Oscar winner The Hurt Locker‘s $36,338 average when it opened in 4 theaters in June of 2009. Named Best Picture by a slew of critics groups including The New York Film Critics Circle, Zero Dark Thirty will head to wide release January 11th, the day after Oscar nominations are announced.
Sony Pictures Classics’ Palme d’Or and LA Film Critics winner Amour bowed solidly this weekend — the only new title among specialty films to fare so well. Amour averaged $23,554 in three theaters in its platform debut. Smaller audiences went along for the ride with IFC Films’ On The Road despite its star power. Road averaged $10,800 in 4 locations. Lionsgate-Summit’s The Impossible averaged a middling $9,250 from 15 theaters, while Paramount Vantage’s Not Fade Away took an average of $6,333 in three runs.
Amour’s arrival had momentum with its Cannes Film Festival win and other accolades, but its tough subject matter – a husband and wife confronting mortality – nevertheless made it a challenge. Its weekend average topped director Michael Haneke’s previous Palme d’Or winner The White Ribbon, which opened with a $19,949 average in three theaters in 2009 and far outpaced his $11,402 opening average for Cache in 2005. SPC co-president Michael Barker
Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.
Two Cannes titles finally make it to theaters this holiday weekend in the specialty arena. Palme d’Or winner Amour has picked up critical accolades although its tough subject matter may prove a challenge for audiences. IFC Films’ On The Road has some star wattage from Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Amy Adams and Garrett Hedlund in the screen version of the 20th century American classic. Also taking on some tough subject matter is Toronto’s The Impossible starring Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor based on a true story of survival during the 2004 tsunami. And Not Fade Away will roll out under the Paramount Vantage label after an extensive run at festivals and word-of-mouth screenings.
On The Road
Director: Walter Salles
Writers: Jose Rivera (screenplay), Jack Kerouac (novel)
Cast: Sam Riley, Garrett Hedlund, Kristen Stewart, Kirsten Dunst, Tom Sturridge, Amy Adams
Distributor: IFC Films
This one has been a long time coming. Francis Ford Coppola first picked up rights to the On The Road novel in 1979 and served as executive producer on the film after asking Brazilian filmmaker Walter Salles to take on the project. Salles spent a good deal of time researching the period known popularly as the Beat Generation and even filmed a documentary about On The Road before undertaking the feature. Kirsten Dunst was the first to come on board a number of years ago and Kristen Stewart actually first joined before undertaking her first Twilight Saga installment. Into The Wild director Sean Penn suggested her. The feature screened this year at the Cannes Film Festival, but IFC Films picked up the title prior to its debut there.
“We’ve never seen anything like this. We’re exhausted. We are out every night it seems and the invitations keep coming,” one Oscar-winning Academy member told me recently. He was referring to the glut of invites to parties, lunches, screenings with Q&As and everything else for which Oscar season campaigning has come to be known. He pointedly added that none of it has ever influenced his vote but he is not turning down the elaborate food spreads and the chance to mingle with contenders. “Just don’t tell anyone who invites me to these things, but it doesn’t really have much impact on the way I fill out my ballot,” he added with a smile.
That won’t stop Oscar strategists from trying and the campaign activity this season seems like it pushed into high gear much earlier than normal and hasn’t let up, even as the Christmas break quickly approaches and the town starts to shut down. Don’t tell that to the relentless Weinstein Company who will still have some of their contenders out on the stump even over this holiday weekend. Quentin Tarantino who, despite seeing his Los Angeles premiere for Django Unchained cancelled Tuesday night out of sensitivity to the Newtown tragedy, was out doing a Q&A and reception for a packed screening at the Academy last night and will be doing the same thing for BAFTA-LA Friday night.
Christy Grosz is Editor of AwardsLine.
Ewan McGregor has played a lot of different kinds of roles since he first rose to prominence in 1996’s Trainspotting, but there’s one that has eluded his grasp: parenthood. In the December release The Impossible, the real-life father of four plays a man whose family is torn apart by the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami. He struggles to keep his two young sons safe amidst the chaos while searching feverishly for his wife, played by Naomi Watts, and eldest son, played by Tom Holland. Though it’s the third film he’s appeared in this year after Haywire and Salmon Fishing In The Yemen, McGregor doesn’t take much time off. He recently spoke with AwardsLine from the set of August: Osage County, which is currently shooting in Bartlesville, OK.
AwardsLine: How did you first hear about The Impossible?
Ewan McGregor: I heard about it through my agent, and I knew about J.A. Bayona and his film The Orphanage, although I don’t think I’d seen it until I’d read the script for The Impossible. I knew Naomi was attached—I’ve worked with Naomi before—and, yes, after reading the script I was left with no doubt. I didn’t know at the time that it was a true story, but there was something very honest and true about the writing. Another one of the main draws for me was that it was the first time in my career that I explored parenthood, although I’ve been a dad for a long time. I must’ve had some kids in films before, but not many, and I’ve never made a film that’s really about that relationship between you and your kids.
Related: OSCARS Q&A: Naomi Watts
EXCLUSIVE: One of the sleeper entries in this year’s Oscar race is the emotionally wrenching true story, The Impossible which chronicles a family split apart in the terrifying Tsunami in Thailand in 2004 and their efforts to survive and find each other, despite horrific injury and unspeakable devastation at the …
Christy Grosz is editor of AwardsLine
When the production team behind Summit’s The Impossible met with 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami survivor Maria Belon at a quiet coffee shop in Barcelona in the spring of 2008, they weren’t certain that she would agree to have her family’s harrowing story told in a feature film. Producer Belen Atienza knew they were in for an emotional afternoon—she was the one who first heard Belon’s story on the radio, a drama so profound that it left Atienza in tears after it concluded. But Atienza, director Juan Antonio Bayona, screenwriter Sergio Sanchez—who have a shorthand from working together on Bayona’s Spanish-language horror hit The Orphanage—gained Belon’s trust in a simple way: They listened.
“We were all really nervous,” Atienza recalls about the initial meeting. “She talked for three and a half hours. It was exhausting for her and for us. We didn’t open our mouths—we were just listening—and she was extremely thorough.”
Global Showbiz Briefs: Maggie Smith, ‘Impossible’ Breaks Spanish Records, ‘Beauty’ To UK’s Watch, BBC Turmoil
Maggie Smith On Playing Older Women And Making Movies For “Grown-Ups”
Downton Abbey keeps commanding strong ratings during its third season run on the UK’s ITV with Sunday night’s intense episode pulling in an audience of about 9.46M and overtaking lead-in The X Factor. Meanwhile, the Dowager Countess herself, Dame Maggie Smith, looked far spryer in person Monday morning at a London press conference for Dustin Hoffman’s directorial debut Quartet. Asked how she felt about the fact that she’s often cast in roles of much older women, she demurred, “I’m just glad to get any role, the fact that they’re all 90…” She said she suspects it started with 1991’s Hook in which she played Granny Wendy. “I think it was Peggy Ashcroft who couldn’t do it and I was suggested. They asked how old I was and somebody said 92.” She was in her mid-50s at the time. Also on the subject of age, Smith said she was happy to see more films about “grown-ups” as with her last feature The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. “It seems to me there’s a sort of change in what audiences want to see. I can only hope that’s correct because there are a lot of people my age around.” She cited Cocoon and Driving Miss Daisy and said films for and about older people “always seem to be fairly successful. It’s a bit baffling as to why everybody has to be treated as if they were five years old.” Told there exists a sandwich named after her at a Venice, Italy restaurant, she asked, “Is it ham?”
Bayona’s ‘The Impossible’ Breaks Records In Spain
Juan Antonio Bayona has broken a series of records in his home country including the biggest opening weekend in Spanish history with tsunami drama The Impossible. The three-day weekend tally was 8.985M euros ($11.64M) and the four-day take was 10.285M euros ($13.32M), according to distributor Warner Bros. The film also had the biggest Friday in history and the tied for the biggest Thursday with The Simpsons Movie at 1.3M euros ($1.68M). The Impossible stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor in the aftermath of the 2004 tsunami
Last night, as I was talking with director Juan Antonio Bayona and producer Ghislain Barrois at a Soho House afterparty, they asked me how the Toronto Film Festival crowd reacted at the end of their tsunami survival tale The Impossible. I had to be honest: Once a picture of the actual family that survived the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed 230,000 people was shown onscreen (the parents are played by Ewan McGregor and Naomi Watts) and then the actual Belon family stood up to embrace Bayona, the crowd rushed to their feet for a standing ovation so fast and it lasted so long it was hard to tell if they were rooting for the harrowing film, the family that survived it, or both.
That’s what makes Toronto so great. There are so many surprises and this one reminded me of the way I felt when I attended the 127 Hours premiere, a movie that blew me away even though I didn’t really want to see it. And then hiker Aron Ralston took the stage with Danny Boyle and James Franco to explain how they pulled it off. Last night, Enrique Belon told me that he, his wife Maria and sons Lucas, Tomas and Simon actually enjoyed watching the film, though they admit it helped having watched production and an earlier screening to prepare themselves to relive a nightmare. And no, they don’t relive the nightmare in dreams each night, at least not anymore.
That is why, even though I come here to chronicle the dealmaking, I have never had a bad experience at Toronto — not even that year when the only film that sold here was Tom Ford’s A Single Man. Even though acquisition activity has been slow so far, Toronto has been nothing but fun. Festivals like Sundance and Cannes I mostly spend in a hotel room dogging deal stories. So far, I’ve been able to attend the premieres of three films to beat in the Oscar race: Ben Affleck’s Argo, David O Russell’s The Silver Linings Playbook (Affleck and Russell should hold a master class on how to lighten the mood on serious subjects like hostage-taking and mental illness with the perfect mix of cracklingly good and funny dialogue that doesn’t undermine the sober subject matter), and Paul Thomas Anderson’s The Master.
The Impossible tells the story of a family’s experience in the devastating 2004 Southeast Asian tsunami and the chaos that followed. The film, directed by Juan Antonio Bayona, stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. Its North American premiere is set for September at the Toronto Film Festival. Here’s the …
EXCLUSIVE: In a move that would amount to the Cannes Film Festival‘s very own clip reel of unfinished upcoming movies, Deadline has heard that a screening of footage from select films will take place in an official venue on …
UTA has signed Spanish screenwriter Sergio Sanchez and Argentinian writer/director Juan Diego Solanas. Sanchez, who had been repped by WME, wrote the sleeper hit The Orphanage and re-teamed with the film’s director, Juan Antonio Bayona, on The Impossible, the Summit/Telecino-backed tsunami film that stars Naomi Watts and Ewan McGregor. Sanchez …