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Specialty Box Office: ‘Charles Swan III’ Tops Newcomers; ‘Amour’, ‘Quartet’ Hold Steady

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Indie Films

The Weinstein Company’s Quartet and Sony Pictures Classics’ Amour held steady in their expansions this weekend, while Zeitgeist’s Koch and Sony Classics’ The Gatekeepers remained solid in their second frames. Newcomers, however, fared comparatively softly, though the Blizzard that hit the Northeast certainly had an impact. A24 Films’ Charlie Sheen-starrer A Glimpse Inside The Mind Of Charles Swan III lead the trio of reporting limited-release debuts with a modest $6K average. Music Box Films’ Lore bowed in a half-dozen locations, averaging $5,167 while AMC Theatres roll-out Lost In Thailand averaged a paltry $833. Lost In Thailand, which packed a punch in China with over $200 million in that market clearly did not resonate here, at least yet. Still, the film remains China’s biggest domestic creation, second only to Avatar in that market. Freestyle Releasing did not report figures for its opener The Playroom.

New distributor A24 Films rolled out its first release Charles Swan III in New York and L.A. in a pair of theaters. The distributor said the title climbed 141% from Friday to Saturday. A24 also said the feature had a “successful Ultra VOD window” performing “especially strong on Cable VOD. Charles Swan III will expand to 15 markets on February 15th with additional nationwide rollout through March. Lore set out in six theaters, grossing a light $31K. It … Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Playroom’, ‘Lore’; Plus ‘Amour’, ‘Quartet’ Expand

By | Friday February 8, 2013 @ 1:01am PST

Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Specialty film newcomers remain sparse this weekend, while two stalwart limited-release box office stars — Amour and Quartet — will continue their expansions. Golden Globe-nominated (for The Sessions) John Hawkes stars in The Playroom with Jonathan Brooks, Alexandra Doke and Olivia Harris. The story centers on four children who take to their attic hideaway and make up a fantastic story, while downstairs their parents weave a drunken intrigue of their own. Hawkes learned of his nomination while making this movie which has been available via iTunes. And war thriller Lore takes a look at the Holocaust through a unique story of about a girl who leads her siblings on a journey of “truth” about their parents’ beliefs.

The Playroom
Director: Julia Dyer
Writer: Gretchen Dyer
Cast: John Hawkes, Molly Parker, Olivia Harris, Jonathan Brooks, Cody Linley
Theatrical Distributor: Freestyle Releasing

All hailing from the same family, The Playroom producer Stephen Dyer, director Julia Dyer and writer Gretchen Dyer were the collective force behind the feature that endured multiple setbacks including health problems that lead to the death of Gretchen Dyer in 2009. Originally slated to star, Hayden Panattiere exited. “But something we had was John [Hawkes],” said Stephen Dyer. “This was before [his Oscar-nominated role in] Winter’s Bone, and Julia had a passion to have this made for Gretchen.” The project received a shot in the arm when the filmmaking team found “a perfect ’70s house” as its main location, which gave the production some freedom to concentrate on other areas of development. “It was a house we played in in the ’70s,” said Dyer. “Somehow the light went on in Julia’s head and we re-worked the script a bit to fit the architecture of the house.”  Read More »

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EFM Roundup: Spotlight Pictures Finds ‘The Playroom’; Grindstone, Recreation In ‘Brooklyn’; Beta Attends To ‘Farewell Party’

By | Wednesday February 6, 2013 @ 7:01am PST

Spotlight Pictures has taken all international rights to Julia Dyer’s The Playroom starring Oscar-nominee John Hawkes (The Sessions) and Molly Parker (Dexter, The Firm). Spotlight will handle overseas sales at the EFM. The film is opening this Friday in the States via Freestyle Releasing which is sending it out simultaneously in theaters and on VOD. The film premiered in the Gala/Spotlight section of last year’s Tribeca Film Festival and was produced by Stephen Dyer and Angie Meyer. Set in the 1970s suburbs, pic tells the story of the Cantwell family who are trying to find their way in a world changing too fast for their liking. The deal was negotiated by Scott Bedno, president of international sales at Spotlight Pictures, and producer Stephen Dyer.

Grindstone Entertainment has acquired North American rights in all media to Once Upon A Time In Brooklyn (formerly titled Goat) which will be released by Lionsgate Home Entertainment. Separately, international rights have been acquired by Ariel Venziano’s sales company, Recreation. Paul Borghese wrote, directs and acts in the gritty thriller alongside Armand Assante, Ice-T, Vincent Pastore, Ja Rule, William DeMeo and Cathy Moriaty. DeMeo and Robyn K Bennett also produce with Borghese. DeMeo plays a career criminal desperate to … Read More »

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Freestyle Acquires ‘The Playroom’

By | Monday December 17, 2012 @ 3:48pm PST

Freestyle Releasing and Freestyle Digital Media have acquired theatrical and DVD/VOD rights to the Julia Dyer-directed drama The Playroom and has slated a February 9, 2013 release date. Set in the suburbs during the 1970s, Playroom tells the story of the Cantwell family, who are trying to find their way in a world changing too fast for their liking. John Hawkes (The Sessions) and Molly Parker (Dexter) star as the hard-drinking parents of Maggie (newcomer Olivia Harris), who is grappling with her parents’ flawed choices. The film, which premiered at this year’s Tribeca Film Festival, was produced by Stephen Dyer and Angie Meyer. The deal was negotiated by Freestyle CEO Susan Jackson and Head of Acquisitions Chris Charalambous, and Bill Straus of BGP and Jonathan Gray of Gray, Krauss Stratford des Rochers.

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