Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
After tapering off the last couple of weeks, a new surge of specialty films are hitting theaters. In one of Focus Features‘ final releases spearheaded by James Schamus and Andrew Karpen, Québécois director Jean-Marc Vallée’s Dallas Buyers Club begins its theatrical run this weekend. The film starring Matthew McConaughey, Jennifer Garner and Jared Leto had a two decade sojourn first as a studio property, then as an indie before finally making it to the big screen. RADiUS-TWC’s Man Of Tai Chi opens as the weekend’s widest indie title in over 100 theaters after a one month stint in Ultra-VOD. The company, meanwhile said that its income disparity doc Inequality For All by Jacob Kornbluth passed the $1 million mark this weekend and is continuing its theatrical run. Tribeca Film is opening Belgium’s Oscar contender Broken Circle Breakdown, which hopes its powerful bluegrass soundtrack will help extend its theatrical life. Submarine Deluxe’s doc Casting By includes a bounty of A-listers spotlighting the often sidelined role of the casting director. Leto stars in a second opener this weekend as Magnolia rolls out Mr. Nobody in regional markets, while Ketchup Entertainment joins the weekend debuts with Big Sur. Jean Marc-Barr, Kate Bosworth, Balthazar Getty, Josh Lucas and writer/director Michael Polish were joined by a cadre of guests for its New York premiere this week at the Sunshine Landmark Theater. Zeitgeist Films is opening The Pervert’s Guide To Ideology, a follow-up of sorts to The Pervert’s Guide To Cinema seven years ago. And Oscilloscope has These Birds Walk in a limited run.
Dallas Buyers Club has roots tracing back to the ’90s when writer Craig Borten met with Ron Woodroof, the real-life personality behind Matthew McConaughey’s starring role in the film about a rough Texas electrician who finds out he’s HIV-positive in 1986 and takes on the medical establishment in order to have access and distribute potentially life preserving medication from abroad. “Craig Borten is a good friend of mine. He heard about Ron and met with him in Texas,” said producer Robbie Brenner who worked at Miramax by the time the first draft of the film was available in ’96. “I fell in love with it. At that juncture there were other people involved.” Borten solicited Brenner’s help. In one of its early stages Brad Pitt and Universal were involved with the project, though it languished at the studio for seven years before the company ultimately decided against it.