This weekend’s specialty newcomers performed blasé at best and that’s despite the debut of a new film by a director who is all but a patron saint to the cineaste crowd. Topping the report Sunday morning is LD Entertainment’s Disconnect. Starring Jason Bateman and Hope Davis, the Santa Barbara Int’l Film Festival opener averaged $8,240 from 15 runs, pulling ahead of Terrence Malick and Ben Affleck’s debut, To The Wonder, which averaged $7,647 in 17 theaters. Sundance Selects opened Ken Loach’s Cannes 2012 title The Angels’ Share in 3 theaters, averaging $7K, while Oscilloscope’s It’s A Disaster also opened in a trio of locations, averaging $5,667. But the real good news came from Focus Features’ The Place Beyond The Pines. The Derek Cianfrance-directed feature showed off its box office prowess, averaging a solid $8K in over 500 theaters.
Word on the street was that To The Wonder was Malick’s “most accessible” film, but the film failed to measure up to his comparatively less user friendly previous film Tree Of Life. That film, which opened in 2011 in 4 theaters, averaged a cool $93,230 though it went on to cume $13.3 million. Hopefully the film will show some legs going forward. “I think it’s better outside a festival context and works better on its own,” said Magnolia’s Matt Cowal. “It’s sparking an incredible dialog. You can’t expect it to be liked by everyone. Some hate it, some adore it. And that’s expected in a work of art – it’s fascinating.” iTunes had some good news for To The Wonder this weekend. It topped its Independent charts all weekend. Magnolia will open the film in nearly every major market over the next two weeks. Read More »
Terrence Malick is always an anticipated name among cineastes and his latest, To The Wonder, will undoubtedly be a tour de force among Specialty Releases this weekend. Magnolia Pictures will open the film, which stars Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem in limited runs. LD Entertainment will bow Disconnect, starring Jason Bateman and Hope Davis, lending more star power to this weekend’s limited release newcomers. Brandon Cronenberg rolls out his directorial debut in Antiviral starring Caleb Landry Jones. The film had its world premiere in Cannes last year. The Angels’ Share, starring newcomer Paul Brannigan, is also set to bow. And Norwegian filmmaker Petter Naess’ Into The White recalls a peculiarity of WWII when British and German military had to fight together for survival in the wilderness.
To The Wonder
Director-writer: Terrence Malick
Cast: Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams, Javier Bardem
Distributor: Magnolia Pictures
Terrence Malick’s 2011 release, The Tree Of Life grossed one of the highest opening averages of the year when it bowed in four theaters grossing $372,920 ($93,230 average). The film, however, only went on to make $13.3 million domestically. His latest film, To The Wonder has been called by some as the auteur’s “most accessible” to date. Like Tree Of Life, which had Brad Pitt, Sean Penn and Jessica Chastain, his latest also boasts star pedigree in the form of Ben Affleck, Javier Bardem and Rachel McAdams. And it has generated excitement among Malick’s legion of cineaste fans. “I think this film fits right in with The Tree Of Life, [though] I think there was a bit of backlash from that one,” Magnolia exec Matt Cowal said. “There was overwhelming critical response, so it [garnered] a backlash. So we wanted to give To The Wonder a bit of time.” Magnolia saw the film out of Toronto where it had its North American debut (following Venice). The distributor decided to give some buffer between the film’s festival appearances and its theatrical start. “I think it’s better outside a festival context and works better on its own,” added Cowal. “It’s sparking an incredible dialog. You can’t expect it to be liked by everyone. Some hate it, some adore it. And that’s expected in a work of art – it’s fascinating.” Read More »
Terrence Malick‘s To The Wonder elicited strong reactions when it debuted earlier this year, first in Venice and then in Toronto. Magnolia Pictures acquired the impressionistic love story in Toronto with a view to a theatrical release in 2013. Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem star in the film that’s almost all voice-over. Here’s the trailer with Bardem narrating:
EXCLUSIVE: In what amounts to the last major film to emerge from the Toronto Film Festival with a distribution deal, Magnolia has acquired To The Wonder, the Terrence Malick-directed film that stars Ben Affleck, Olga Kurylenko, Rachel McAdams and Javier Bardem. Magnolia will release it in a multi-platform strategy that starts with a theatrical release in 2013.
Affleck plays an American, Neil, who falls in love with a Ukranian girl Marina (Kurylenko) he meets in Paris, and asks her to return with him to Oklahoma to start a life together. While Marina and Neil can’t connect in her new home, she makes the acquaintance of a priest and fellow exile (Bardem) who is struggling with his vocation, while Neil renews a relationship with a childhood sweetheart, Jane (McAdams). The film will be marketed by Magnolia as an exploration of love in its many forms. Read More »
As is typical with a Terrence Malick film, there was a lot of mystery surrounding To The Wonder ahead of its Venice debut this morning. The recent confirmation of who made the director’s final cut was followed by today’s revelation that Olga Kurylenko plays the film’s central character. But it’s Ben Affleck, with only a handful of lines in the finished film, and Rachel McAdams, ultimately in a small role, who feature in the only photo from the film that’s been in circulation for months. Asked at the pic’s press conference why that was and how she felt about it, Kurylenko deferred to the producers, “I’m just as curious as you,” she said. Producer Sarah Green jumped in to say the still was released after some early footage was shot. “We have been advised to stand by,” on publicity materials until distribution is in place, she said. “It’s obviously no question that Olga is the lead.”
As expected, Malick was not in Venice today for the premiere. “He’s buried in work,” said Green. The film left the Lido divided this morning and reviews that have trickled out thus far are respectful, if not glowing. Green asserted Malick doesn’t read reviews, “He just works.” Kurylenko also provided some commentary on Malick’s method. Her character spends most of the movie in constant movement – … Read More »
To The Wonder, Terrence Malick’s impressionistic take on love and religion, was met with a mix of bravos and boos at the end of this morning’s first screening in Venice. Applause was hearty in my section of the Sala Darsena, but people I ran into outside were struggling with the almost all-voice-over competition entry that is “the least narrative” of Malick’s movies. Ben Affleck appears in most of To The Wonder, but he probably has less than 10 lines, an occupational hazard that goes along with working on a Malick picture. Rachel McAdams seems to have suffered the same fate, showing up about a third of the way through for a brief thread that involves Affleck’s character – or “prop,” as one person put it to me. Last week, I reported that Malick left Rachel Weisz, Barry Pepper, Amanda Peet and Michael Sheen on the cutting room floor.
Malick’s last picture, Tree Of Life, certainly had its fans and detractors, but people I spoke to today felt that film had “more of a story” and “real characters.” I’ve confirmed that some footage from Tree Of Life was used in To The Wonder: the footage is “imagery that was licensed” for Tree Of Life and that what is used in To The Wonder is “less than 10 seconds”. (Fox is thanked in the credits for the footage.) … Read More »
It’s been confirmed to me by a knowledgeable source that Terrence Malick will not be in Venice OR Toronto for screenings of his latest film, To The Wonder, which debuts Sunday on the Lido. While that’s not really such a wonder, the notoriously reclusive director did come to Cannes a little more than a year ago when Tree Of Life screened — and ultimately won the Palme d’Or. That year, people were practically taking bets on whether he’d show for the movies’s official launch. He didn’t come to the press conference at the time, it was said, because he wanted the film to speak for itself. True enough. If Malick had been there that would have been the story — Brad Pitt’s presence notwithstanding. But later that day in 2011, I sat down in Cannes president Gilles Jacob’s office for a chat and it turned out Malick had been keeping my seat warm for me. Jacob told me the director had just sat for two hours in the same chair as they discussed all and sundry. At the time, Jacob said the director would likely not do the Tree Of Life red carpet since he suffered from “extreme timidity.” However, Malick ended up making a split-second appearance in Cannes’ Lumière theater that night, it was reported at the time. Can we expect something similar for this festival circuit? As one person who knows Malick well put … Read More »
BREAKING: Terrence Malick’s To The Wonder debuts in Venice on Sunday, but a handful of actors who were initially part of the film won’t be on the big screen in the Sala Grande. I’ve confirmed that Rachel Weisz, Barry Pepper, Michael Sheen and Amanda Peet were all ultimately left on the cutting room floor. It’s an occupational hazard when you make a Malick movie that this might happen. A person with knowledge of the film tells me, “It’s just the way Terry works; it’s not a reflection on anything other than the story.” Malick is known for shooting reams and reams of footage and editing to fit his final vision. I understand there are four main characters in the film which more closely resembles Badlands than, say, Tree Of Life. Those parts are held by Ben Affleck, Rachel McAdams, Olga Kurylenko and Javier Bardem. The actors who were excised had small roles in small facets of the main storyline. Actors apparently know the risk involved in working with Malick, but they still flock to him. In an interview with Italian daily La Stampa, Weisz recently said she thought her part had been cut but that she did the film to have the experience of working with Malick.