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October 20, 2019

‘Maleficent’ is Less Than Magnificent as Annual Box Office Performance Continues to Slide

While specialty titles spent this weekend breaking records, overall performance showed that the season’s weakness continues. The clearest sign comes from the disappointing start for “Maleficent: Mistress of Evil;” following “Gemini Man,” it’s the second very expensive domestic disappointment in as many weeks. Another sequel, “Zombieland; Double Tap” had a decent start, although as expected it was bested by the third weekend of “Joker.”

All told, it’s another weekend below the same period in 2018. With an estimated total of around $136 million, that’s 20% lower than last year, when “Halloween” opened to more than “Maleficent” and “Zombieland” combined. It also extends the annual shortfall to nearly $550 million and almost 6%, eliminating any real hope of box-office growth.

Michelle Pfeiffer is Queen Ingrith in Disney’s MALEFICENT: MISTRESS OF EVIL.

“Maleficent: Mistress of Evil”

Courtesy of Disney

Disney dominance is propelled by an assembly line that includes its live-action versions of animated and other kids classics. However, this sequel to “Maleficent” opened to less than half of the 2014 original; at a  $200 million production cost, it’s a weak start. The rest of the world took in $117 million, and its domestic ‘A’ Cinemascore suggests there is hope. Still, with the small slate of Disney products so critical to theaters, those that fall short take a toll on exhibitors.


Before Emma Stone won an Oscar and Jesse Eisenberg made “The Social Network,” they starred in the 2009 horror comedy “Zombieland.” And while it can be difficult to reboot a franchise a decade later, the principals returned. However, while the budget increased (from $23.6 million to $42 million), its opening weekend did not. Adjusted, the original opened to $29 million; “Double Tap” made a decent but unspectacular $26.7 million. Hopes now ride on its pre-Halloween playtime.



Warner Bros.

Second place fell to “Joker,” which already has reached nearly $250 million. For context, that is ahead of last fall’s smash hits “A Star Is Born” and “Bohemian Rhapsody,” and it has a shot of adding $75 million more to its domestic take. It is nearing $750 million worldwide, with an ultimate take of between $900 million and $1 billion in sight.

That’s without China, which won’t release the film. But with a budget of about $65 million — about 40% compared to “Mistress of Evil” — that’s a huge win for Warners.

“The Addams Family”


At a reported $40 million cost, “The Addams Family” is turning into a nice result for United Artists. Again, with Halloween set to boost it, $57 million in 10 days positions it for a possible $100 million total. Foreign might not be as bountiful, but this is a film that will have a strong post-theater appeal.

At less than a third of the cost of “Gemini Man,” it looks even better. Ang Lee’s disastrous film dropped close to 60% after a weak start. Will Smith thrived with “Aladdin,” but that wasn’t his ride. This is. Foreign is more than double so far, but it won’t be enough to save this from a significant loss.

Contrasting with the struggles for higher-budget entries, “Downton Abbey” is nearing $90 million and “Hustlers” passed $100 million. These will be nice profit makers for their companies, and their successes are why this this fall’s weekly losses aren’t worse.

The Top Ten

1. Maleficent: Mistress of Evil (Disney) NEW – Cinemascore: A; Metacritic: 43; Est. budget: $185 million

$36,000,000 in 3,790 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $9,499; Cumulative: $36,000,000

2. Joker (Warner Bros.) Week 3; Last weekend: #1

$29,205,000 (-48%) in 4,090 theaters (-284); PTA: $7,141; Cumulative: $247,229,000

3. Zombieland: Double Tap (Sony) NEW – Cinemascore: B+; Metacritic: 56; Est. budget: $48 million

$26,725,000 in 3,468 theaters; PTA: $7,706; Cumulative: $26,725,000

4. The Addams Family (United Artists) Week 2; Last weekend: #2

$16,057,000 (-47%) in 4,102 theaters (+95); PTA: $3,914; Cumulative: $56,816,000

5. Gemini Man (Paramount) Week 2; Last weekend: #3

$8,500,000 (-59%) in 3,642 theaters (no change); PTA: $2,334; Cumulative: $36,517,000

6. Abominable (Universal) Week 4; Last weekend: #4

$3,500,000 (-42%) in 2,647 theaters (-849); PTA: $1,322; Cumulative: $53,915,000

7. Downton Abbey (Focus) Week 5; Last weekend: #5

$3,080,000 (-37%) in 2,258 theaters (-761); PTA: $1,364; Cumulative: $88,612,000

8. Judy (Roadside Attractions) Week 4; Last weekend: #7

$2,056,000 (-36%) in 1,418 theaters (-209); PTA: $1,450; Cumulative: $19,018,000

9. Hustlers (STX) Week 6; Last weekend: #6

$2,050,000 (-47%) in 1575 theaters (-782); PTA: $1,302; Cumulative: $101,872,000

10. It: Chapter Two (Warner Bros.) Week; Last weekend: #8

$1,505,000 (-52%) in 1,528 theaters (-775); PTA: $985; Cumulative: $209,660,000



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Source: IndieWire film

October 20, 2019

James Gunn Takes on Coppola and Scorsese: You’re Geniuses, But You Don’t Get Marvel

It never ends. The anti-Marvel Cinematic Universe screeds from major auteurs continues to unravel, with Francis Ford Coppola recently responding to Martin Scorsese’s response to MCU films and their ilk, which “The Irishman” director labeled as “not cinema.” And now, “Guardians of the Galaxy” writer/director James Gunn, who’s currently filming Warner Brothers’ DC entry “The Suicide Squad” because apparently one of those movies wasn’t enough, has added tinder to the flames of the ongoing debate.

Gunn, who’s weathered his lion’s share of social media controversies over the years, including offensive tweets that led to him being fired by Disney, sounded off on Instagram Sunday afternoon in a lengthy post, embedded below.

“Many of our grandfathers thought all gangster movies were the same, often calling them ‘despicable,’” he wrote. “Some of our great grandfathers thought the same of westerns, and believed the films of John Ford, Sam Peckinpah, and Sergio Leone were all exactly the same. I remember a great uncle to whom I was raving about Star Wars. He responded by saying, ‘I saw that when it was called 2001, and, boy, was it boring!’ Superheroes are simply today’s gangsters/cowboys/outer space adventurers. Some superhero films are awful, some are beautiful. Like westerns and gangster movies (and before that, just MOVIES), not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that’s okay.”

The post comes in the wake of a rant from Francis Ford Coppola, who accepted a lifetime achievement award at the Lumière Festival in Lyon, defending Scorsese’s position.

“When Martin Scorsese says that the Marvel pictures are not cinema, he’s right because we expect to learn something from cinema, we expect to gain something, some enlightenment, some knowledge, some inspiration…I don’t know that anyone gets anything out of seeing the same movie over and over again,” the 80-year-old filmmaker said. “Martin was kind when he said it’s not cinema. He didn’t say it’s despicable, which I just say it is.”

James Gunn recently revealed the warm welcome he received from Warner Bros. after Disney axed him, saying, “I was basically offered whatever I wanted. I most wanted to do ‘Squad.’”



View this post on Instagram


Many of our grandfathers thought all gangster movies were the same, often calling them “despicable”. Some of our great grandfathers thought the same of westerns, and believed the films of John Ford, Sam Peckinpah, and Sergio Leone were all exactly the same. I remember a great uncle to whom I was raving about Star Wars. He responded by saying, “I saw that when it was called 2001, and, boy, was it boring!” Superheroes are simply today’s gangsters/cowboys/outer space adventurers. Some superhero films are awful, some are beautiful. Like westerns and gangster movies (and before that, just MOVIES), not everyone will be able to appreciate them, even some geniuses. And that’s okay. ❤

A post shared by James Gunn (@jamesgunn) on Oct 20, 2019 at 11:51am PDT

Source: IndieWire film

October 20, 2019

John Lithgow on Suiting Up to Play Roger Ailes in ‘Bombshell’: ‘We Decided He Really Needed Man Boobs’

Jay Roach’s late-breaking awards-season hopeful “Bombshell” (December 20) boasts several feats of makeup and wardrobe mastery, from Charlize Theron’s Megyn Kelly to John Lithgow’s disgraced, late Fox News CEO Roger Ailes — jowls, bulbous nose, corpulence and all. During a recent Q&A for the film in New York moderated by journalist Lynn Hirschberg, Lithgow was joined by co-stars Theron and Nicole Kidman, who plays TV news personality Gretchen Carlson, as well as director Roach and screenwriter Charles Randolph, to discuss the making of the film.

The makeup team is led by Kazuhiro Tsuji, who won an Academy Award in 2018 for transforming Gary Oldman into Winston Churchill and also turned Eddie Murphy into “Norbit” in 2007. Lithgow himself played Winston Churchill on Netflix’s “The Crown,” but without any makeup, hairstyling, or wardrobe needed to abet his transformation.

“This is the greatest irony, that [Kazu] made Gary Oldman as Winston Churchill with all these extraordinary prosthetic devices, and as Winston Churchill [in “The Crown”], I didn’t have any prosthesis at all. I looked much more like Winston Churchill than I realized,” Lithgow said.

Regarding suiting up to play Roger Ailes, whose empire foundered in 2016 when Gretchen Carlson filed a sexual harassment lawsuit against the Fox chairman, Lithgow said, “I was effortlessly in character as soon as I put all that stuff on. [Costume designer] Colleen Atwood, she was my co-conspirator. We spent hours and hours getting that big fat body right. If you look very closely, halfway through the shooting we decided that he really needed man boobs. We said, it depends on his mood, in some scenes he has man boobs and in some scenes he doesn’t.”

Lithgow joked that he now uses the fat suit for pajamas, while Kidman added that Lithgow’s metamorphosis was so convincing and creepy. “Every time we saw him, it was like, he was after us,” she said.

“I was very skeptical,” Lithgow said of donning the six-piece fat suit. “I said, let’s give it an entire day. And I was just astonished by it. That prosthesis, there are six pieces put together: two jowls, one huge double chin, a different nose, and two fat earlobes, and it blends so completely with my own face … I would wrinkle my face and the wrinkles in the prosthetic would cohere with the wrinkles on my face. I don’t know how they do this magic.”

Tsuji is likely to earn another Oscar nomination for makeup for “Bombshell,” with Theron also expected to earn one for Best Actress.

Additional reporting by Eric Kohn.



Source: IndieWire film

October 20, 2019

‘Jojo Rabbit’ and ‘The Lighthouse’ Lead an Unprecedented Specialized Box Office Bounty

Never in the recent specialized film era has a non-holiday weekend achieved such exciting box office. Arriving after last weekend’s sensational record-breaking opening of Neon’s “Parasite” (which expanded well) are strong debuts for both Taika Waititi’s “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight) and Robert Eggers’ “The Lighthouse” (A24). And top awards contenders “Pain and Glory” (Sony Pictures Classics) and “Judy” (Roadside Attractions) continue steady as they go.

In the same crowded four week period in 2018, only “Free Solo” went on to specialized success (“Beautiful Boy” started strong with a $70,000 PTA before a tepid expansion). Why are things so much better this year? The films themselves are a factor, but the earliest awards calendar season ever has forced smart distributors to recalibrate. Getting started now allows for gradual growth heading toward maximum attention over the Thanksgiving holiday. Also, opening early allows the option of home-viewing availabilities around the time of the Oscar nominations.

Whatever the reasons, it is working. After a grim specialized year with most early festival finds falling short of expectations, a bounty has arrived. Each of these unique films garnered an initial strong reaction–with no future guarantees– but so far these five titles have scored big.


Jojo Rabbit (Fox Searchlight) – Metacritic: 54; Festivals include: Toronto 2019

$350,000 in 5 theaters; PTA: $70,000

First “Joker,” then “Jojo Rabbit” rode festival premieres and prizes amid mixed critical reaction to enthusiastic audiences. “Joker” was an immediate global box-office success, while Waititi’s black comedy about a German boy’s friendship with an imaginary Adolf Hitler opened in only five theaters. But so far, very good.

Even though “Jojo” faced a more crowded marketplace than last weekend’s opener “Parasite,” with fewer available seats, “Jojo Rabbit” still packed a major punch at its locations. The movie topped “The Lighthouse” at New York’s Lincoln Square and The Landmark in Los Angeles (the latter also has “Parasite” in its second week), and placed best at Manhattan’s commercial Union Square. At the Arclight Hollywood, “Jojo” was beaten out by “The Lighthouse,” which benefited from multiple appearances from Robert Pattinson.

One major development is the two-day showing at the Alamo Drafthouse in Brooklyn, which placed second among all theaters. Theaters in Brooklyn have rarely opened platform dates, and never before with these numbers. Expect to see more of this for select films.

“Jojo” marks a much-needed return to form for Fox Searchlight, looking to perform under demanding new owner Disney. “Jojo” scoring big will shore up Searchlight’s willingness to take risks.

What comes next: Eight new markets, raising the theater count to as many as 60, open this week ahead of much wider play ahead.

Willem Dafor, Robert PattinsonThe LighthouseA24

“The Lighthouse”


The Lighthouse (A24) – Metacritic: 82; Festivals include: Cannes, Toronto 2019

$419,764 in 8 theaters; PTA: $52,471

The robust opening for Eggers’ black-and-white, narrow-aspect-ratio, period-piece two-hander shows the strength of the market. Strong reviews for the challenging art film (backed by New Regency) and stars Pattinson and Willem Dafoe boosted box office, but “The Lighthouse” is not a mass-appeal picture.

The total is even more impressive because the movie played beyond the normal core New York/Los Angeles theaters, including four theaters in three other cities.

The PTA for the four New York/Los Angeles theaters will be around $75,000 (above “Jojo Rabbit,” which played in five). The numbers in other top crossover theaters in other markets were more than respectable: a Boston AMC theater was best at around $40,000.

What comes next: This expands quickly to around 500 theaters this Friday.

The Cave (National Geographic) – Metacritic: 84; Festivals include: Busan 2019

$22,100 in theaters; PTA: $11,050

A year ago National Geographic opened “Free Solo” in October to a stunning over $100,000 PTA, wider success, and an eventual Oscar. This year, they have this documentary about an underground hospital in Syria, from the director of nominated “Last Men in Aleppo.” It’s a  tough subject, which makes its gross (bolstered by strong initial reviews) even more impressive.

What comes next: This begins a multi-week expansion this Friday.

By the Grace of God (Music Box) – Metacritic: 78; Festivals include: Berlin, Mill Valley, Hamptons 2019

$8,188 in 2 theaters; PTA: $4,094

Francois Ozon shares with Pedro Almodovar the distinction of a European director who not only shoots nearly all his films in his home country in his native language, but then lands a stateside release. But his last U.S. hit was “8 Women” in 2002 (adjusted gross: $5 million).

What comes next: Music Box will ride Ozon’s name to more interest in select arthouses.

Greener Grass (IFC) – Metacritic: 68; Festivals include: Sundance, South by Southwest 2019; also on Video on Demand

$14.143 in 2 theaters; PTA: $7,056

This Sundance comedy about competing soccer moms opened exclusive in New York and Los Angeles parallel to iTunes and other platforms. Given that context, this is a decent gross.

What comes next: While it continues to show on VOD, this also will get select additional theater play.

Cyrano, My Love (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 61

$7,107 in 3 theaters; PTA: $2,389

This French film, with a comic twist on the story behind the writing of “Cyrano de Bergerac,” opened in New York and Los Angeles to minor response after a previous release in French Canada adding $300,000 to the total.

What comes next: Expect some additional big city play.

Jay and Silent Bob Reboot (Saban) – Metacritic: 46

$93,520 in theaters; PTA: $93,520; Cumulative: $1,105,000

After Fathom event weekday showings that took in just over $1 million, Kevin Smith’s most recent revival of two perennial characters launched a multi-month series of in-person film events featuring the director and costar Jason Mewes. With ticket prices several times higher than normal movie admission, the first showing took place on Saturday with two impressive shows at an Asbury Park, New Jersey theater. Fathom numbers reveal what is becoming more common: event presentations of films that no longer make sense for conventional release can get attention in theaters, particularly if they have a pre-sold brand.

What comes next: Expect to see more positive results from this across the country.

The Captain (WellGo USA)

$(est.) 350,000 in 47 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 7,447

Among the many Chinese imports that land a U.S. limited release, this massive China hit (on the far side of $300 million in about three weeks) could interest a wider audience.  Directed by Hong Kong master Andrew Lau, whose “Infernal Affairs” turned into Scorsese’s “The Departed,” the movie about a pilot who guides his jet to safety with a shattered windshield compares to “Sully.” It opened decently at theaters nationwide.

What comes next: Likely to remain at mainly theaters catering to fans of Chinese films.


Week Two

Parasite (Neon)

$1,241,000 in 33 theaters (+30); PTA: $37,616; Cumulative: $

10 days into its release, this rave-reviewed South Korean film has already topped all 2019 foreign-language releases. The over $37,000 PTA is behind only “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon,” for all-time best second weekend subtitled PTA. Ang Lee’s film adjusted in 1999 took in an average $58,000 in 31 theaters on its way to an over $200 million gross.

Rarefied territory indeed. For a second weekend performance, the stratosphere would be “The Grand Budapest Hotel” ($62,000 PTA in 66 theaters, a level hard to imagine). But for a South Korean movie? Unbelievable.

Last weekend’s $128,000 three theater PTA was amplified by festival momentum, lots of promotions and less competition, a high number of screens and plenty of seats. Finally, “Parasite” is performing at each stage as though it were an English-language specialized success, and one of the biggest of the year.

Among many strong grosses is the “Parasite” performance at top chain theaters such as AMC theaters in San Francisco and Burbank. AMC Times Square looks to do $40,000 or more, competing with Landmark and other specialized theaters for high-end results. “Parasite” is already– without the normal boost of awards–crossing over to the mainstream.

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)

Judy (Roadside Attractions) – Week 4

$2,056,000 in 1,418 theaters (-209); Cumulative: $19,018,000

Another top-ten placement and continued healthy results for Renée Zellweger’s bravura portrayal of Judy Garland. This will hit $20 million in a week, and could easily top $25 million before many other Oscar contenders open.

“Pain & Glory”

Sony PIctures Classics

Pain and Glory (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 3

$463,532 in 67 theaters (+44); Cumulative: $1,130,373

Pedro Almodovar’s latest continues to show strength as it expands. Its gross is close to successful “Amour,” when it played at 64 theaters– and that came with the boost of multiple top Oscar nominations. This is looking very healthy as it expands.

The Peanut Butter Factory (Roadside Attractions) – Week 11

$225,950 in 248 theaters (-56); Cumulative: $19,879,000

Heading to an impressive $20 million total, this box-office sleeper could wind up ahead of the top fall players.

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Greenwich Entertainment) – Week 7

$188,253 in 147 theaters (-21); Cumulative: $3,501,000

The per theater average actually increased as this documentary continues its push to the $4 million mark seen by this year’s top non-fiction films.

Where’s My Roy Cohn? (Sony Pictures Classics) – Week 5

$96,513 in 66 theaters (+9); Cumulative: $493,746

This documentary continues steady at a modest level, with likely continued growth with more theaters ahead.

Lucy in the Sky (Fox Searchlight) – Week 3

$58,000 in 231 theaters (+33); Cumulative: $272,095

Though it has been a fiasco, this astronaut romance film still added more theaters. The per theater average was $251, with the ultimate gross looking to reach little more than $300,000.

Also noted:

Official Secrets (IFC) – $27,336 in 34 theaters; Cumulative: $1,922,000

Monos (Neon) – $20,688 in 40 theaters: Cumulative: $367,496

First Love (WellGo USA) – $15,880 in 34 theaters; Cumulative: $195,548

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (Abramorama) – $14,923 in 18 theaters; Cumulatie: $555,631

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Source: IndieWire film

October 20, 2019

‘Tremors’ Trailer: Jayro Bustamante Returns With Drama Centered on Gay Man Caught Between Faith and Family

Guatemalan writer-director Jayro Bustamante broke out with the 2015 drama “Ixcanul,” set on an active volcano. Here he returns with “Tremors” (the English translation of “Temblores”), equally volcanic in its emotional insight about an affluent, religious family torn asunder after patriarch Pablo (Juan Pablo Olyslager) reveals that he’s been in a relationship with another man. Below, check out the first trailer.

Here’s the rest of the synopsis of the film, which is being distributed by Film Movement in the U.S. on November 29:

“What follows is a tale of passionate romance, immense inner conflict, and devastating tragedy. Separated from his wife, his children, and his life of Evangelical tradition, Pablo initially finds a sense of freedom. But how long can he sustain this new and exciting life when he’s fired from his job and his religious creed begins to take over again? Filled with gorgeous and breathtaking cinematography, Olyslager leads a brilliant cast in this Berlinale standout from prominent award-winning auteur Jayro Bustamante that is sure to shake you to your core by its final frames.”

“Tremors” first premiered at the Berlin International Film Festival earlier in 2019 and will be making its New York premiere at NewFest, New York’s annual LGBTQ film festival, later this month.

In a rave review out of the Berlinale, IndieWire critic David Ehrlich wrote of “Tremors”: “There are any number of movies about gay men trying to liberate themselves from the long shadow of heteronormative oppression — a regrettably, enduringly relevant premise — but few have been told with the extraordinary nuance or compassion of Jayro Bustamante’s ‘Tremors.’ The Guatemalan drama begins where a previous iteration of this drama might have left off. Rather than argue for the hero’s basic humanity (which the film’s contemporary liberal audiences wouldn’t dare to dispute, and its devoutly retrograde antagonists wouldn’t deign to accept), Bustamante moves the goalposts forward by reframing the stakes. There’s never any doubt that Pablo has the right to be with the man he loves, the question is whether the happiness that would bring is worth the hurt that would come with it. And it’s a question that only Pablo can answer for himself.”


Source: IndieWire film

October 18, 2019

How to Request an Extension for the 2020 SXSW Film Festival

Even though the 2020 SXSW Film Festival Late Deadline has passed, it is still possible to submit your project for consideration. Read below for all the details!

How to Request an Extension

  • Extensions are granted on a case-by-case basis.
  • You must fill out this form. Please double check and make sure all the information provided is correct and that the date requested is within a reasonable time frame.
  • To ensure your submission is eligible, take a look at our guides for every category.
  • Please note that completing this form does not guarantee you to an extension to submit your project. You should expect follow up correspondence from SXSW within 48 hours of submitting your request. At that point, we will let you know if your request has been approved or denied and send you the information on how to submit.
  • Questions? Take a look at our Film Submissions FAQ.
  • If you need additional help, don’t hesitate to email filmfest@sxsw.com.

Join Us For SXSW 2020

Register to attend SXSW 2020 and get ready to experience World Premieres, screening Q&As, Keynotes, Featured Sessions, and more.

Follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Instagram, and SXSW News to stay current with all things SXSW.

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See you in March!

World Premiere of Jezebel – Photo by Kit McNeil

The post How to Request an Extension for the 2020 SXSW Film Festival appeared first on SXSW.

Source: SxSW Film

October 13, 2019

Martin Scorsese Stands Behind Decision to Take ‘The Irishman’ to Netflix: ‘We Have to Make the Movie’

Finally hitting theaters in less than a month, Martin Scorsese’s gangster epic “The Irishman” is about to become an awards-season juggernaut for Netflix, which threw down a reported $160 million to mount the Oscar-winning director’s vision of a post-WWII crime saga.

Speaking at a press conference at the recently wrapped BFI London Film Festival, where “The Irishman” held its international premiere, Scorsese took the opportunity again to defend the streaming giant after, according to him, most studios looked the other way. (The Guardian has the scoop.)

“There’s no doubt that seeing a film with an audience is really important,” he said, referencing Netflix’s controversial less-than-a-month window between the film’s theatrical bow and its streaming premiere. “There is a problem though: we have to make the film. We’ve run out of room, in a sense; there was no room for us to make this picture, for many reasons. [But] having the backing of a company that says that you will have no interference, you can make the picture as you want – the trade-off being: it streams, with theatrical distribution prior to that. I figure, that’s a chance we take, on this particular project.”

Netflix acquired the ambitious “Irishman” in 2017 after both STX and Paramount Pictures dropped out. The film’s use of costly de-aging VFX has been the center of attention since the movie opened at the New York Film Festival. It stars Robert De Niro, Al Pacino, and Joe Pesci.

Scorsese also doubled down to affirm his belief in the sanctity of the moviegoing experience. “I thought for a while that long form TV was going to be cinema, but it’s not. It simply isn’t. It’s a different viewing experience: you can go to episode 3, 4, then 10; one one week, another the next – it’s a different kind of thing. What’s got to be protected is the singular experience, ideally with an audience,” he said at the BFI London Film Festival.

“The Irishman” arrives in theaters on November 1, before streaming on Netflix starting November 27. Netflix’s other awards-season contenders this year include “Marriage Story,” “Dolemite Is My Name,” “The King,” and “The Two Popes,” all of which premiered to acclaim throughout the fall festival circuit.

Source: IndieWire film

October 13, 2019

‘Dolittle’ Trailer: Robert Downey Jr. Turns His Franchise Hopes to a Pack of Wild Animals

Marvel Cinematic Universe master Robert Downey Jr. revives one of literature’s most enduring characters in director Stephen Gaghan’s reimagining of the classic tale of Dr. Dolittle, a man who can communicate with animals. Below, check out the first trailer for “Dolittle,” which opens January 17, 2020 from Universal Pictures.

Here’s the film’s synopsis: “After losing his wife seven years earlier, the eccentric Dr. John Dolittle (Downey), famed doctor and veterinarian of Queen Victoria’s England, hermits himself away behind the high walls of Dolittle Manor with only his menagerie of exotic animals for company. But when the young queen (Jessie Buckley) falls gravely ill, a reluctant Dolittle is forced to set sail on an epic adventure to a mythical island in search of a cure, regaining his wit and courage as he crosses old adversaries and discovers wondrous creatures.”

Downey and “Chernobyl” and “Wild Rose” star Jessie Buckley are joined by Harry Collett (“Dunkirk”) as Dolittle’s apprentice, along with a wily coterie of furry friends, including Academy Award winner Rami Malek as a gorilla, Octavia Spencer as a duck, Kumail Nanjiani as an ostrich, and John Cena as a cheery polar bear. Finally, Emma Thompson co-stars to voice the parrot who serves as Dolittle’s closest confidante.

The film also stars Antonio Banderas (an Oscar contender for this year’s “Pain and Glory”), Michael Sheen, and Jim Broadbent, with additional voice performances from Marion Cotillard, Frances de la Tour, Carmen Ejogo, Ralph Fiennes, Selena Gomez, Tom Holland, and Craig Robinson.

Director/co-writer Stephen Gaghan previously directed 2016’s “Gold” and 2005’s Oscar-winning geopolitical thriller “Syriana.” “Dolittle” is cowritten by John Whittington, a writer on “The Lego Batman Movie.”

Recently, “Dolittle” star Downey made waves when he shaded Martin Scorsese’s takedown of the Marvel Cinematic Universe, and also scoffed at the prospect of an awards campaign for his turn as Tony Stark in “Avengers: Endgame.” Regarding Scorsese’s claim that films out of the MCU aren’t cinema, Downey said, “I mean it plays in theaters. I appreciate [Scorsese’s] opinion. I think it’s like anything where we need all of the different perspectives so we can come to center and move on.”

Source: IndieWire film

October 13, 2019

Record-Breaking ‘Parasite’ Scores the Best Platform Opening Since ‘La La Land’

Box office history was made this weekend, breaking records all around. In a year when specialized (and foreign-language) films have been underwhelming, Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” (Neon) has rewritten the standards.

Its $125,000 per-theater average in three New York/Los Angeles theaters is the biggest specialized limited opening of the year. And it marks the biggest platform release in three or more theaters since “La La Land” in 2016. Neon has effectively positioned the film for maximum excitement and attention, making important choices that maximized the results.

On its initial expansion, Spanish auteur Pedro Almodovar’s “Pain and Glory” (Sony Pictures Classics) is also over-performing for a subtitled film, and looks steady as they go ahead.

Meanwhile, “Judy” (Roadside Attractions) is holding well in its third week. The awards season is in full swing, with multiple high-end titles arriving every weekend. Coming this week is Taika Waititi’s TIFF audience-award-winner “Jojo Rabbit” (Fox Searchlight) followed next week by Cannes breakout “The Lighthouse”(A24).


Parasite (Neon) Metacritic: 95; Festivals include: Cannes, Telluride, Toronto, New York 2019

$376,264 in 3 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $125,421

“Parasite” could be the “Avengers: Endgame” of subtitled films in the sense that the Marvel film topped any opening weekend ever in April, not by any small degree but a huge increase above the past record. The same holds true for Bong Joon Ho’s acclaimed South Korean movie. No foreign-language film has ever opened close to these numbers.

Positioned in three New York and Los Angeles theaters (followed on Wednesday by Manhattan’s Film at Lincoln Center booking) with director and cast appearances at all locations, “Parasite” since Thursday has racked up staggering numbers. The IFC Center in New York has been a sellout across the board on multiple screens. The Arclight Hollywood with greater seating has at times shown the movie on six screens, while The Landmark also in Los Angeles also has sold out multiple shows on its three screens. It has performed consistently across all days, with or without Q&As. This is the real deal.

Among all-time limited openings and adjusted numbers, this looks to rank #13 of all time among all films for PTAs with three or more theaters. “Parasite” sits between “The Imitation Game” and “The Revenant,” both $100-million-plus grossers.

Among subtitled films, the best adjusted all-time number openers with three or more theaters have been “The Motorcycle Diaries” ($77,000) and “Amelie” ($72,000). In recent decades the top subtitled specialized grosser “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” boasted $69,000, but in 16 theaters, the film was a bigger total opener.

The opening number for “Parasite” doesn’t guarantee anything like the ultimate results of those films, though “Motorcycle” at $25 million could be a target. Some initial platform blockbusters didn’t resonate with audiences — “The Master” and “Steve Jobs” both opened bigger, then failed to reach $20 million.

But “Parasite,” backed by noisy awards talk, is headed for a level for a subtitled film that should be higher than anything in recent years. The range is substantial, and we’ll have more about that this week. But for now, look on in awe.

What comes next: Patience is required for a film that could be hurt by too much, too soon. The plan for now is adding seven cities as well as a few new theaters in New York/Los Angeles this week, with 15 more the following, and up to 100 theaters in 25 cities by the end of the month.

Ben Rothstein

El Camino: A Breaking Bad Movie (Netflix) Metacritic: 72; also streaming

$(est.) 40,000 in 12 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 3,333

Amazingly, 12 of the some 125 theaters showing Netflix’s already streaming coda to Vince Gilligan’s AMC series reported grosses. These don’t include any of the Alamo locations, which likely scored higher. The shows were limited to two for just the weekend, and it appears the bulk of the interest was Friday night. Netflix’s expected breakout theatrical dates ahead are “The Irishman” and “A Marriage Story.” The inclusion of important chains like Arclight and Harkins with these bookings suggests a deeper penetration ahead, though still without most top chains. That said, these are curious and somewhat positive numbers for this film, given that it’s showing parallel to streaming, unlike the early exclusive platforms planned for other top titles.

What comes next: Catch it on Netflix.

The King (Netflix) Metacritic: 63; Venice 2019; Festivals include: 63

$(est.) 10,000 in (est.) 2 theaters; PTA: $(est.) 5,000

Timothée Chalamet as Henry V costars with Robert Pattinson in “Animal Kingdom” director David Michôd’s Shakespearean drama “The King,” which played in at least two theaters in New York and Los Angeles. No grosses were reported, but spot-checking individual show sales suggests around $10,000 total in these.

What comes next: Netflix showings start on November 1.

Mister America (Magnolia) Metacritic: 42; also playing on Video on Demand

$(est.) 10,000 in 2 theaters; PTA: $:$5,000 Cumulative: $(est.) 115,000

Tim Heidecker’s political mockumentary had event screenings prior to the weekend in over 100 theaters. Its two regular dates this weekend added to the total.

What comes next: This also debuted on VOD, where most of its action will be.

“Pain and Glory”

Sony PIctures Classics

Week Two

Pain and Glory (Sony Pictures Classics)

$289,147 in 23 theaters (+19); PTA: $12,572; Cumulative: $574,571

The huge initial numbers for “Parasite” –which tripled the PTA for “Pain and Glory” in one less opening weekend theater — should not obscure the impressive early results for Almodovar’s latest film.

Second weekend comparisons: among SPC’s recent fall awards releases, the PTA is about what “The Wife” did its second weekend, a third more than “Whiplash,” and about 75% of “Call Me By My Name.” All were crossover, wider-play films.

For subtitled films, it’s a level rarely seen. “PAin and Glory” is currently playing mostly at theaters that respond well to foreign-language fare– the handful of top crossover multi-screen locations are somewhat less impressive. But early in its expansion, which is will likely be slower and not as broad as “Parasite,” this looks like it should be SPC’s biggest foreign-language title since Oscar-winning “Amour.”

Lucy in the Sky (Fox Searchlight)

$73,000 in 198 theaters (+161); PTA: $369; Cumulative: $154,612

As bad as the initial grosses were for this astronaut romance starring Natalie Portman and Jon Hamm, the expansion was much worse. Going forward under Disney, we must assume that the respected and autonomous Fox Searchlight will take a disappointing project like this straight to streaming without an initial theatrical initial play. The PTA works out to around 40 patrons per theater for the weekend.

War (Yash Raj)   35-2770

$(est.) 780,000 in 270 theaters (-35); PTA: $2,888; Cumulative: $(est). 3,550,000

One of the biggest Indian international releases of the year (a contemporary military action film) took a normal second weekend drop but still is over $3 million in a modest number of core theaters.

My People, My Country (China Media)   70-1836

$(est.) 300,000 in 83 theaters (+13); PTA: $(est.) 3,614; Cumulative: $(est.) 2,136,000

This short film compilation has grossed close to $3 million already. Seven short films are cobbled together to glorify the Chinese Revolution. That’s a pittance compared to it multi- hundred-million home-country haul (in just over two weeks), but nonetheless it’s both impressive and unsettling.


Roadside Attractions

Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)

Judy (Roadside Attractions) Week 3

$3,225 in 1,627 theaters (+169); Cumulative: $14,974,000

The per-theater average dropped a modest 30% in a week with a little expansion. This strong Best Actress contender has already reached almost $15 million, approaching or passing a level early in its run reached by Oscar-winners “Room,” “Still Alice,” and “La Vie en Rose.” The early-season release is working in terms of achieving a decent total, though most winners open later. The trick ahead, after a few more weeks of decent numbers, will be to sustain a later presence.

The Peanut Butter Falcon (Roadside Attractions) Week 10

$278,567 in 304 theaters (-319); Cumulative: $19,513,000

This sleeper success is heading toward $20 million. And with “Judy” adding up totals quickly, it means Roadside soon will have two films reach that level in a short period of time.

Linda Ronstadt: The Sound of My Voice (Greenwich) Week 6

$262,080 in 168 theaters (-36); Cumulative: $$3,231,000

Greenwich has maximized this boomer music nostalgia documentary with a rapid release that could still see it reach $4 million.

Where’s My Roy Cohn? (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4

$101,815 in 57 theaters (+31); Cumulative: $361,474

Likeable subjects and nostalgia work best for documentaries these days. The returns for this one, about an evil character and bad memories, continues to show the ability to attract serious adults although not at the same level of other recent successes.

Brittany Runs a Marathon (Amazon) Week 8

$66,679 in 110 theaters (-238); Cumulative: $6,978,000

One of Amazon’s big Sundance acquisition is winding down far from its hoped-for pace. It will limp to $7 million, which both makes a case for reduced festival spending and elevated streaming priorities for similar films.

Fantastic Fungi (A23a) Week 3

$63,134 in 6 theaters; Cumulative: $143,182

This visually stunning documentary about the role of fungus plants in nature boasts an inventive release pattern. In its third week the movie opened in New York, with Los Angeles still to come. The main element in this weekend’s gross was a sold-out event presentation at San Francisco’s historic Castro Theater.

Also noted:

The Farewell (A24) – $34,160 in 39 theaters; Cumulative:  $17,623,000

Official Secrets (IFC) – $33,841 in 43 theaters; Cumulative: $1,883,000

First Love (WellGo USA) – $33,010 in 40 theaters; Cumulative: $159,309

Miles Davis: Birth of the Cool (Abramorama) – $17,171 in 16 theaters; Cumulative: $516,836

Source: IndieWire film

October 13, 2019

‘Joker’: A Dance Critic Breaks Down Joaquin Phoenix’s Unnerving Moves

There’s a scene in “Joker” where Joaquin Phoenix’s Arthur Fleck dashes into a rancid public bathroom after a harrowing killing spree on the New York City subway. With Arthur emboldened by his sudden taste for violence — and Phoenix by Hildur Guðnadóttir’s unsettling string score — he begins to dance. As depicted by the sinewy, gaunt, physically starved Phoenix, it’s an eerie act of undulation (and was reportedly an improvisation by the actor), and less a dance than some kind of animalistic channeling of psychic forces. Whether that’s Phoenix acting as Arthur, or Phoenix having some kind of fourth-wall-breaking spasm, who knows? It’s in the movie, and it is what it is.

The New York Times’ dance critic Gia Kourlas has weighed in on Phoenix’s performance, and she says that the actor is a “great dancer” in a recently published piece.

“It’s not just the way he moves, with uncultivated finesse — dreamily, animalistic, like a rock star. Or how, when he stretches his arms out side to side, he evokes the ghosts of Jim Morrison or Brandon Lee in ‘The Crow.’ It has more to do with the nuanced way his body can express emotion; you see the mind at work, and because of that the dancing enters another realm,” Kourlas writes.

Kourlas is careful to remind that this scene, now already iconic, is not the first time we see Arthur dance. “Dance is Arthur’s escape, his life force. The first time he dances isn’t in the pivotal scene in a grimy public bathroom, after he’s committed his first murders. It’s in the apartment he shares with his mother as ‘Shall We Dance,’ the 1937 Fred Astaire-Ginger Rogers film, plays on the television. The number is ‘Slap That Bass’: ‘The world is in a mess/with politics and taxes/and people grinding axes/there’s no happiness.’”

She goes on to liken Phoenix’s footwork to some of the great modern dancers: “Pale and gaunt with wavy hair pasted to the sides of his face, his appearance, at times, has a touch of Rudolf Nureyev or Sergei Polunin — two Russians with attitude. His skin stretches tautly over muscles and protruding ribs. But it’s not just a cosmetic transformation. Nor is what he does ballet. Mr. Phoenix has the sinewy ability to turn his body — particularly his back — into a Butoh horror show of odd, freakish angles.”

Read the rest of Kourlas’ piece via The New York Times. IndieWire Crafts Editor Bill Desowitz recently did a deep-dive into Phoenix’s dancing sequences with the film’s composer.

Source: IndieWire film