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Discovery Acquires UK-Produced ‘Real 40 Year Old Virgins’ Documentary

By | Monday July 8, 2013 @ 5:22am PDT

UK indie producer Zig Zag has sealed a raft of deals on its one-off sex therapy documentary Real 40 Year Old Virgins. The program first aired on Channel 4 earlier this year and stars Cheryl Cohen Greene, the therapist played by Helen Hunt in The Sessions. Discovery Fit & Health has acquired it for the U.S. and Discovery TLC has taken it in Poland. Other broadcaster deals include Australia’s ABC, RTL2 in Germany, Norway’s TV Norge, TV2 in Denmark, SBS in the Netherlands and VMMA in Belgium. The hourlong film follows Clive and Rosie as they work with therapists and accredited sex surrogates and try to resolve their long-standing difficulties with physical and emotional intimacy. The pair spends two weeks in California working up to losing their virginity. Vice president of commercial and current production Leila Monks brokered the deals on behalf of Zig Zag.

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OSCARS: The Supporting Actor/Actress Races

Pete Hammond

This season’s supporting actor and actress Oscar races can be summed up in one word: Winners! A remarkable seven of the 10 nominees actually already have at least one Oscar on their mantel, and all of them have been previously nominated. Unlike the marquee lead races, not a single newcomer has been invited to the supporting party. In fact, all five supporting actor nominees are past winners, a rare occurrence that proves Feb. 24 will indeed be veterans’ day at the Dolby Theater. And though there is a strong frontrunner emerging for the women, the male race is one of the most wide open in years, with no one taking the lead to date and the outcome a real question mark. So how did they all get here? Here’s the rundown.

SUPPORTING ACTOR

Alan Arkin | Argo

This veteran actor got his first lead actor Oscar nomination in 1966 for his film debut in The Russians Are Coming, The Russians Are Coming. And then a second just two years later for The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter. But it was a near-record 38 years before Arkin returned to Oscar’s inner circle, finally winning a supporting actor prize for Little Miss Sunshine. Now, six years later, he is back in contention as the Hollywood film producer in Argo, and the reason is simple: He not only gets the best lines, he’s playing … Read More »

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OSCARS Q&A: John Hawkes

By | Friday November 23, 2012 @ 12:31pm PST

Cari Lynn is an AwardsLine contributor.

Writer/director Ben Lewin’s boldly endearing film The Sessions is the true story of quadriplegic journalist and poet Mark O’Brien, who, at 38 years old, set about losing his virginity by hiring a sex surrogate, played by Helen Hunt. Veteran actor John Hawkes plays O’Brien in the film, embracing a physically and emotionally challenging role. In a recent interview with AwardsLine, Hawkes discussed the challenges of embodying a character who can’t move his body.

AwardsLine: How did this script come to you and how daunting—or not—was playing a man whose only movement was limited to the neck up?
John Hawkes: I’d had some luck with the film Winter’s Bone and after that I got sent some scripts to consider. I hadn’t seen a character like this before—and that was the daunting part. Mark O’Brien lived in an iron lung from 6 years old on and only had 90 degrees of movement with his head. I wasn’t interested in him being more of an able-bodied Mark O’Brien and was glad the script wasn’t written that way. Disabled sex isn’t something we talk about a great deal, and I’m always interested in subjects I don’t know about.
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Specialty Box Office: ‘Cafe De Flore’, ‘A Late Quartet’ Lead Pack Of Newcomers

Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.

Specialty movies openers bowed mostly middling at at best, and a couple of pictures may have suffered residual Hurricane Sandy trauma. Adopt Films’ Café De Flore took the per-theater-average crown with $10K in one location. Entertainment One’s A Late Quartet bowed in 9 theaters with a fairly solid average of 8,433, although the distributor suggested the figure was lower than it might have been if The Sunshine in Manhattan’s Lower East Side had been able to re-open sooner. The cinema regained power midday Saturday. TWC’s This Must Be The Place hit the skids with a $3,526 average in a pair of locations, while Radius’ The Details managed only a modest $1,427 average. Roadside/Lionsgate’s art-thriller The Bay bottomed out with a $932 average from 23 theaters. But Anchor Bay’s Vamps fizzled with $500 in one theater. Magnolia Pictures opted not to report numbers for its opener Jack And Diane because it didn’t open in NYC until today because of the continuing aftermath of Hurricane Sandy.
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Specialty B.O.: ‘Loneliest Planet’ Leads Debuts; ‘Sessions, ‘Holy Motors’ Hold Solid

By | Sunday October 28, 2012 @ 10:26am PDT

Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.

Newcomers and holdovers came in flat in an unmemorable weekend for Specialty Box Office. The Loneliest Planet bowed solid with a $10,200 average in two locations. Sundance Selects will take the movie starring Gael García Bernal to the top 15 markets in the next two weeks. Rocky Mountain Pictures, the group that brought on this year’s record-breaking doc 2016: Obama’s America, debuted District Of Corruption in three theaters, averaging $7,374 for the weekend’s second-best showing among the titles reporting. Cohen Media Group’s The Other Son debuted in 41 theaters, averaging just over $3K. Radius’ theatrical debut of Pusher landed with a thud, taking in just over $5K in 14 locations. The TWC multiplatform label stressed that its VOD run is primary, but did not report figures. The distributor’s co-head Tom Quinn said, “It’s done great on VOD. On its face it’s about the genre and its gotten good traction.” Among holdovers, Fox Searchlight’s The Sessions expanded strongly, with a weekend best theater asverage of $11,500. Indomina’s Holy Motors remained in in two theaters but held steady with a average of $7,648. Read More »

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Specialty Box Office: ‘The Sessions’ Tops Debuts; ‘Holy Motors’, ‘Brooklyn Castle’, ‘The Flat’ Solid

By | Sunday October 21, 2012 @ 9:40am PDT

Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.

Fox Searchlight’s highly anticipated The Sessions starring John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy debuted with a robust $30,100 average in its four-theater run in New York and Los Angeles, by far topping newbies in the specialty arena, in another crowded field of newcomers. Three other titles debuted with fairly solid showings. Producers Distribution Agency’s Brooklyn Castle bowed with an $11,061 average in two New York theaters, placing it second in per-theater average among the newcomers, but whether the homegrown pic will exhibit legs in other cities. Sundance Selects’ doc The Flat averaged over $10K in two NYC venues, while Cannes/NYFF surreal feature Holy Motors also bowed in two Gotham theaters, averaging $9,744.

“It was quite an impressive weekend. It exceeded our expectations a bit,” said Searchlight’s SVP Distribution Frank Rodriguez. “We thought it would come in in the $20K-25K per screen range, so we were very happy. Read More »

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Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Sessions’, ‘All Together,’ ‘Holy Motors’, ‘Tai Chi Zero’

By | Thursday October 18, 2012 @ 10:39pm PDT

Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.

Jane Fonda, Kylie Minogue, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy and more have debuts in the specialty realm this weekend. Fox Searchlight hosted a series of word-of-mouthers for The Sessions, which it nabbed at Sundance. NYC distributor Kino Lorber is teaming with Tribeca Film for its first title going out via theatrical day and date with French-language All Together. Cannes favorite Holy Motors will head out in theaters via Indomina, opening in New York this weekend, followed by releases in various U.S. cities following a string of festival premieres. And niche Asian film company Well Go USA is releasing the first movie in its Chinese-language “franchise,” Tai Chi Zero.

The Sessions
Director-writer: Ben Lewin
Cast: John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks
Distributor: Fox Searchlight

Fox Searchlight snagged Ben Lewin’s The Sessions at Sundance, where it won an Audience Award in January under its original title The Surrogate. Searchlight SVP Distribution Frank Rodriguez said the film will attract a core of cinephiles and an “over-40 audience” though it won’t be limited to those. “The film has John Hawkes, Helen Hunt and William H. Macy, so I think some younger audiences will be drawn to it,” Rodriguez said. Read More »

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Fox Searchlight Shifts ‘The Sessions’ To October 19th

By | Thursday September 13, 2012 @ 7:20pm PDT

Fox Searchlight Pictures has moved up the release of The Sessions a week earlier to Friday, October 19 for a limited platform debut. It had been scheduled to open the following Friday. Written and directed by Ben Lewin, The Sessions just screened in Toronto and earlier this year it won the Audience Award-Dramatic and the Special Jury Prize for Dramatic Ensemble (under its previous title, The Surrogate) at the 2012 Sundance Film Festival. Based on the article by Mark O’Brien “On Seeing A Sex Surrogate”, it stars John Hawkes, Helen Hunt, William H. Macy, Moon Bloodgood, Annika Marks, Adam Arkin and Rhea Perlman.

Related: Fox Searchlight Brings ‘The Sessions’ To Toronto

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Toronto: Fox Searchlight Brings ‘The Sessions’ To Reignite Awards Talk

Pete Hammond

Fox Searchlight brought its Sundance pickup and Oscar hopeful, The Sessions, to the Toronto International Film Festival today to kick-start the film’s October launch. (Now set for October 26 but very possibly moving up a week to the 19th). Last January, the film debuted under the title The Surrogate and immediately sparked early 2012 awards talk, particularly for the performances of John Hawkes and Helen Hunt. It’s a small but surprisingly funny and ultimately quite touching film that drew so many big laughs at today’s Elgin Theatre screening the dialogue was drowned out during some scenes, usually those between Hawkes and William H. Macy. There were three standing ovations for the director and principal stars, a very enthusiastic response to be sure.

Fox Searchlight Co-Presidents Steve Gilula and Nancy Utley were there and said after the Sundance sale no cuts were made to the film and none requested by the MPAA in order to get the ‘R’ rating (for some explicit but tastefully shot sexual content).

Gilula notes that with so many movies competing for attention at TIFF it’s tough for a movie that debuted at Sundance or Cannes. Media, he says, just want to spotlight the newest movies even though this one doesn’t even open until next month. At this point it is the mini-major’s only fall/holiday release, and it’s hoping to build strong word of mouth and awards attention. The studio is still trying to determine whether to push Hunt for lead or supporting. (The Oscar winning star of As Good As It Gets could probably slip comfortably into either slot.) Fox Searchlight also have summer releases Beasts Of The Southern Wild  and The Best Exotic Marigold Hotel on their potential awards plate. And there still is the possibility of a last-minute contender coming in December if they decide to rush Hitchcock. Read More »

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Toronto Film Fest: What Looks Good For Oscar?

Pete Hammond

Okay let’s just cut to the chase.

What does today’s first announcement of galas and special presentations at the 2012 Toronto International Film Festival mean for the Oscar race? Of course it is only still July but with this news out of Canada the lineup for awards season is starting to become a reality. Venice (which is opening with Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalistalso a Toronto Gala pick which bodes well), Toronto and Telluride have increasingly become key outposts for the official beginning of awards season and 2012 films the studios and indies are premiering at the trio of oh-so-important fests will be scrutinized for their pure-bred Oscar potential. Venice may be downsizing a bit this year according to early indications and Telluride, per tradition, keeps  its lineup fairly secret until August 30, the day before the Colorado Labor Day weekend fest begins but you can bet it will overlap heavily with the other two fests, particularly Toronto since Telluride doesn’t label any of its films as North American or World Premieres and can play many of the same films under the radar. Toronto gets the honor of official premieres and so it is Toronto that is giving us the most to work with — so far.

The September 6 Opening Night film is action thriller Looper which on the surface does not appear to be an awardsy-type film, just a solid genre piece. I don’t believe Film District plans any kind of major Oscar campaign here. Read More »

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Hot Trailer: ‘The Sessions’

By | Thursday June 28, 2012 @ 8:31pm PDT

Here’s the trailer for the Sundance hit acquired by Fox Searchlight, with John Hawkes as a paralyzed man who is determined to lose his virginity. Helen Hunt and William H. Macy co-star. Screened at Sundance as The Surrogate and based on a true story, the movie written and directed by Ben Lewin is slated to open October 26th:

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