News & Updates
August 18, 2019
Two wide releases from top directors with appeal to adult audiences are specialty films, even if their distributors opted to open them in over 2,000 theaters. Warner Bros. had strong reasons for wide-releasing New Line Cinema’s Bruce Springsteen-infused Sundance pickup “Blinded By the Light” this weekend, as did United Artists with Annapurna’s long-delayed Cate Blanchett vehicle “Where’d You Go, Bernadette.”
The question is how to find audiences for these films, as studios and indies alike wrestle with deeply rooted issues in today’s theatrical market. Even Sony Pictures Classics, which has pivoted to documentaries, found a weak initial arthouse audience for fast-frame-rate “Aquarela,” despite top-end reviews and theaters.
In wider release, “The Farewell” (A24) continues to add to its impressive totals. So does Roadside Attractions’ crowdpleasing “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” which showed a strong second weekend with non-specialized audiences as a key element.
Blinded By the Light (Warner Bros.) Metacritic: 71; Festivals include: Sundance, Seattle 2019
$4,450,000 in theaters; PTA: $1,929
Where’d You Go, Bernadette (United Artists) Metacritic: 51$3,450,000 in 2,404 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $1,438
The comparative initial response to two top-end independent films from acclaimed and successful directors is revealing. There are significant differences, as the Saturday gross for Gurinder Chadha’s “Blinded By the Light” (Warner Bros.) shows initial strong growth. Richard Linklater’s “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” (United Artists) also showed an unusual second-day increase, fueled in both cases by older audiences (who are far less likely to attend Thursday early shows).
Many observers question why these specialty-audience films opened so wide. This question came up earlier this summer when Annapurna’s “Booksmart” took that route and opened to $6.9 million. But the following week, “Late Night,” with bigger stars and a $15-million Amazon Sundance buy, had built even more anticipation than “Booksmart,” and went from a four-theater platform with a strong $61,000 PTA to a lesser initial wide result of $5.3 million. And SXSW-launched “Booksmart,” without a name cast, ultimately grossed more than $22 million, almost $7 million more than “Late Night.”
Neither “Late Night” nor “Booksmart” will likely turn a profit. With “Late Night” Amazon has a branded streaming title, while the $6 million “Book Smart” cost less.
“Blinded” and “Bernadette” both represent significant investments for their companies. New Line bought the period British-set Springsteen-themed crowdpleaser from the director of “Bend It Like Beckham” (which tallied an adjusted domestic gross close to $50 million in 2003), for around $15 million after a great Sundance response (for the world, except the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand). “Blinded” seemed to have potential, but as “Late Night” showed, even a great platform run doesn’t guarantee success. The film scored a respectable but not stellar 71 on Metacritic, brought down by a harshly negative New York Times review, which hurt the movie where it should have been strongest.
Universal took wide another similar movie from a top director with great success earlier this summer: Danny Boyle’s “Yesterday,” also set in England and featuring a young Anglo-Asian lead riffing on popular retro music, scored a surprise $75 million domestic.
Presumably, the Beatles bring wider appeal than Springsteen. But when New Line spends $15 million on a mainstream movie intended to hit audiences all over the country, staggering initial dates can be risky while adding to the marketing total.
The Saturday increase is an encouraging sign of upbeat word of mouth. With the mid-August release date, room to run, and a likely 100% theater hold on week two, “Blinded” could reach $20 million-$25 million ahead. That’s still disappointing, but the strategy will be justified if it gets there. Slow rollouts are risky when audiences not only have access to so much content, but “Once Upon a Time in Hollywood” also dominates adult moviegoers.
What comes next: Next weekend will be crucial for “Blinded,” with the possibility that it holds well and then finds enough response to maximize the gross and add to its post-theater value.
Initially, “Where’d You Go, Bernadette” boasted better grosses than “Blinded.” But the film based on the Maria Semple bestseller fell short of the top 10 with a weaker Saturday. Richard Linklater swings both toward studio fare (“School of Rock,” “The Bad News Bears”) and specialty films (“Boyhood,” “Last Flag Flying”). Throw in Oscar-winner Cate Blanchett as a brilliant but blocked designer stymied by parenthood, and the film could warrant a slow rollout.
But Annapurna (who hire and trust top talent) delayed the release several times, and when the movie finally opened (without festival support), “Bernadette” garnered tepid critical response. Not a formula for success. With its reported $18 million initial cost, going limited would have made no sense. A distributor at that point needs to get it open, take its chances, and try to realize as high a gross as possible, even if it’s disappointing.
What comes next: “Bernadette” likely will fare far less well; unless it holds better than expected, it could quickly disappear.
Sony Pictures Classics
Aquarela (Sony Pictures Classics) Metacritic: 84; Festivals include: South by Southwest 2018, Venice 2018, Sundance 2019
$23,474 in 5 theaters; PTA: $4,693
Despite the recent success of several documentaries (often celebrity-related), some acclaimed efforts struggle to find interest. That’s the case with this strongly reviewed, visually stunning study of water and its power, which failed to connect with initial New York/Los Angeles audiences. This had the benefit of playing at some of the best available theaters in both cities, making the result more disappointing. The film comes from Participant Media, a frequent high-end non-fiction film provider. The film’s promotional materials include the line “the ultimate theatrical experience” which should set this apart from other releases, but not so far. It’s odd that SPC did not do more to make an event around the film’s fast-frame-rate presentation in New York’s Landmark at 57 West (the only theater showing the film at 96 frames per second) and other more numerous 48 frame-per-second formats.
What comes next: Word of mouth along with SPC’s usual ability to attain top theaters everywhere could help boost this above its weak initial reaction.
End of the Century (Cinema Guild) Metacritic: 84; Festivals include: New Directors/New Films, Frameline 2019
$10,398 in 1 theater; PTA: $10,398
This Argentine drama about two men who unexpectedly reconnect 20 years after their initial encounter had a strong initial response at New York’s IFC Center. The film, propelled by strong reviews, had an above average initial result for a subtitled film of late.
What comes next: This will have a slow expansion, with Los Angeles opening mid-September (Landmark is showing the film in multiple theaters among upcoming dates).
Seth Johnson, Courtesy of Roadside Attractions and Armory Films
The Peanut Butter Falcon (Roadside Attractions)
$294,090 in 49 theaters (+32); PTA: $6,002; Cumulative: $589,915
Roadside continues to include heartland theaters early in this movie’s run. This story of a 22-year-old special needs man who pursues his dream of wrestling success continues to show interest and word of mouth appeal outside normal specialized theaters. The careful handling so far is paying off. This well-selected date allows room for the drama to grow and could yield a sleeper success.
After the Wedding (Sony Pictures Classics)
$86,957 in 26 theaters (+21); PTA: $3,345; Cumulative: $159,378
Bart Freundlich’s gender-switching remake of Susanne Bier’s earlier Danish arthouse comedy about a family reunion gone bad showed a modest second weekend expansion. Starring Julianne Moore and Michelle Williams, the movie continues to deal with mixed reviews. The comparative gross falls well below the second weekend of “The White Crow,” SPC’s best grossing narrative release so far this year.
One Child Nation (Amazon)
$49,569 in 19 theaters (+17); PTA: $2,609; Cumulative: $79,367
Despite continued great reviews as the standout documentary opens in new cities, this expose of China’s draconian population control policy is drawing only modest response in its initial big city theaters.
Ongoing/expanding (Grosses over $50,000)
The Farewell (A24) Week 6
$1,502,000 in 861 theaters (+157); Cumulative: $12,838,000
Still expanding, Lulu Wang’s return-to-China dramedy continues to pull added interest. The results per theater as well as the total gross are dropping, but the trajectory for the total is now headed to over $16 million. This year, that number is terrific for any specialized/festival world title, but even more so for a primarily non-English language one.
Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 8
$186,319 in 154 theaters (-19); Cumulative: $2,259,000
Off its peak in terms of number of theaters, this rousing documentary about women sailors circumnavigating the globe continues to find interest. It could end up at $3 million or better. It is SPC’s top grosser this year.
Luce (Neon) Week 3
$163,965 in 58 theaters (+34); Cumulative: $530,402
With Octavia Spencer and Naomi Watts giving this interracial adoption drama some added heft, Neon is expanding this drama slowly with hope that word of mouth will boost it ahead of wider dates. At the same third weekend point, it is grossing somewhat less than their recent “Wild Rose” at a similar number of theaters.
Tel Aviv on Fire (Cohen) Week 3
$60,566 in 30 theaters (+2); Cumulative: $234,586
As usual, Israeli films (this one, a comedy about a Palestinian who becomes a successful local TV writer) find interest more easily than many subtitled films. Further play ahead is likely, particularly with the film holding well in ongoing theaters.
Honeyland (Neon) Week 4
$56,997 in 32 theaters (+20); Cumulative: $211,721
The slow expansion of this highly regarded non-fiction account about different cultures among Macedonian beekeepers continues to show steady interest.
Toni Morrison: The Pieces I Am (Magnolia) Week 9
$(est.) 56,000 in 58 theaters (+11); Cumulative: $(est.) 727,000
Though this documentary hasn’t had anything like the response that Magnolia’s “I Am Not Your Negro” (a similar look at a literary-figure), the death of Toni Morrison led to some continued interest in this well-reviewed film.
David Crosby: Remember My Name (Sony Pictures Classics) – $45,492 in theaters; Cumulative: $385,946
The Nightingale (IFC) – $45,409 in 39 theaters; Cumulative: $184,257
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (Roadside Attractions) – $40,502 in 65 theaters; Cumulative: $860,500
Last Black Man in San Francisco (A24) – $37,490 in 29 theaters; Cumulative: $4,486,000
Jay Myself (Oscilloscope) – $13,550 in 2 theaters; Cumulative: $71,579
Echo in the Canyon (Greenwich) – $29,325 in 35 theaters; Cumulative: $3,250,000
The Biggest Little Farm (Neon) – $17,370 in 27 theaters; Cumulative: $4,340,000
Wild Rose (Neon) – $13,893 in 17 theaters; Cumulative: $1,615,000
Jay Myself (Oscilloscope) ) – $13,550 in 2 theaters; Cumulative: $71,579
Sword of Trust (IFC) – $12,633 in 20 theaters; Cumulative: $317,512
Source: IndieWire film
August 17, 2019
With the Toronto International Film Festival’s 2019 edition unspooling September 5 through September 15, IndieWire has compiled all of the film acquisitions out of the fest so far. Check back for updates as the festival unfolds.
Look for the upcoming awards season’s major Oscar players to bow in Toronto, including the world premiere of “The Goldfinch,” the Safdie Brothers’ “Uncut Gems,” the Mr. Rogers film “A Beautiful Day in the Neighborhood,” Sundance winner “Clemency,” and many more. There are also gems to be found across the Discovery, Platform, Midnight Madness, and Contemporary World Cinema programs, as well as highly anticipated auteur works in the Masters sidebar, including new films from Terrence Malick, Bertrand Bonello, Kiyoshi Kurosawa, Marco Bellocchio, Ken Loach, and Roy Andersson, among others.
IndieWire will be on the ground covering the festival to keep you up-to-date with reviews, interviews, features, and more news.
“Blow the Man Down”
Buyer: Amazon Studios
Section: Contemporary World Cinema
In Danielle Krudy and Bridget Savage Cole’s seaside noir “Blow the Man Down,” two sisters in a small Maine fishing village try to disguise a violent crime while evading the imperious proprietor of a local brothel, played by Margo Martindale.
Buyer: Warner Bros.
Section: Gala Presentations
Co-directed by Thom Zimny and Bruce Springsteen (in his filmmaking debut), the project is reportedly a concert film with some added riffs, all spinning off the new eponymous record from The Boss released earlier this year.
Source: IndieWire film
August 17, 2019
It was our first day of shooting on “The Ballad of Lefty Brown.” The sun had just dipped behind the mountains. As darkness descended, we raced to get our final shot. Despite the rush, the crew was buzzing with excitement. I wish I could say it was because of stunning image or a powerful moment of performance. No. Word had spread that Peter Fonda had landed in Montana.
I can’t think of another actor who occupies such a unique space in the history of cinema. On the one hand, Peter is a counterculture icon. Half of “Easy Rider.” The star of “The Wild Angels.” “The Trip.” On the other hand, he’s Hollywood royalty. Son of Henry. Brother of Jane. Father of Bridget. The man who followed up a landmark, generation-defining film with a Western, “The Hired Hand,” might have been a commercial flop, but today it is regarded as a genre classic, a beautiful, evocative portrait of frontier life. He’s an iconoclast. I wanted him for the role of legendary frontier rancher Edward Johnson because he’s a talented and creative actor. But also because of the history he brought to the role — the connection to an older Hollywood that doesn’t really exist anymore.
Peter and I met for the first time at the Casa Del Mar in Santa Monica. We sat at a table in the back of the bar. I drank coffee. He sipped water from a Nalgene bottle. Of course, he wore tinted sunglasses. He was a storyteller. He told me the story of his 82-foot sailboat Tatoosh, which he lived on for almost a decade. The story of his love affair with his wife Parky, who he fell for in Hawaii in 1974 but took 37 years to marry. The story of an acid-fueled conversation with John Lennon that inspired the song “She Said She Said.” That’s how it was with Peter. Whether we were having a meal, sharing a ride, or getting ready to get a shot, there were always stories to be told. Sometimes to the never-ending chagrin of my AD.
In the film, Peter plays Johnson, a character modeled on John Wayne. He’s tamed the West and now plans to protect the frontier as a senator from the newly formed state of Montana. He’s a larger-than-life hero, especially to his devoted sidekick Lefty Brown, played by Bill Pullman. And he dies on page 13. Shot in the head. It’s a shocking and brutal murder. Peter loved that moment. He called it his “Brando Death.” An opportunity to die in such an epic, memorable fashion that it would reverberate through the rest of the film.
We spent hours discussing how I would film his murder. Where the squib would go. How his body would slink from the saddle and land in the dirt. He sent me long, thoughtful emails about camera angles and shutter speed; about the type of rifle he would carry (the Henry Golden Boy repeater instead of John Wayne’s signature Winchester) and specifically the assassin’s rifle — a Remington Creedmoor Rolling Block. The depth of his knowledge was truly humbling.
We shot “The Ballad of Lefty Brown”in Montana not that far from where Peter used to have a ranch. After the shoot, he told when he sold that ranch he vowed he never wanted to see the mountains of Montana again. He was done with the snow, and the creeks, and the Yellowstone River. But if there was a production in place and film the camera, he couldn’t resist the call.
Peter could be funny. He could be inappropriate. When he was, he wasn’t afraid to apologize. He knew his way around a camera better than any actor I’ve ever worked with, able to discuss frame-rate, film stock and other gear like he just stepped out of the camera department. We had Peter on set for three 14-plus-hourD days, including multiple gunfights and one rain-drenched night shoot. It was to say the least, arduous. It was also my privilege.
Source: IndieWire film
August 17, 2019
Canadian filmmaker Xavier Dolan’s epic drama “The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” has been sitting on the shelf, at least stateside, since its world premiere at the 2018 Toronto Film Festival. Boasting Dolan’s most ambitious cast to date — including Kit Harrington, Jacob Tremblay, Natalie Portman, Kathy Bates, Thandie Newton, and Susan Sarandon — “Donovan” was met with jeers at the festival, including by IndieWire’s critic Eric Kohn. In a new interview with the Globe and Mail, Dolan now says that the film originally ran a lengthy four hours long. As it stands, the film currently runs a cool two hours.
“I shot the film that I wrote, but the film that I wrote was a 160-page script that made no choices,” Dolan said. “You now want to focus on something [the editing] that I’ve been focusing on for two years and I don’t know how inspired I can be to talk about that. I usually edit movies in two months, not two years. It was at times brutal and invigorating to rediscover something you think you know by heart.”
Dolan opted not to take the film to Cannes after critics savaged his 2016 chamber drama “It’s Only the End of the World,” which ended up winning the festival’s Jury Prize and is, actually, quite good. Originally, “Donovan,” which centers on a pen-pal relationship that develops between a young boy and a closeted TV star, was set to star Jessica Chastain. But at the last minute, Dolan cut her role entirely from the film, stressing that it had “nothing to do” with her performance.
Allegedly, the four-hour cut included a prologue involving Rainer Maria Rilke’s “Letters to a Young Poet” which, like the premise of “Donovan,” chronicles a correspondence between an established artist and an eager acolyte. There was also said to be narration from Michael Gambon’s character, who appears as a vision in the version that screened at TIFF.
The genesis of “Donovan” came from Dolan’s early interest in Leonardo DiCaprio. After seeing him in “Titanic,” Dolan ended up sending the then-rising actor a fan letter. “‘Titanic’ is not just the film I loved as a child, it’s the beginning of many things,” Dolan said. “Probably a sexual awakening, but also a cultural awakening, a cinematic awakening and a life awakening in that I realized how ambitious the film was. It inspired me to consider all the options I had artistically — that I could act, design clothes, even shoot films. None of these options had ever seemed possible before.”
Dolan’s latest film, “Matthias & Maxime,” earned acclaim at the 2019 Cannes Film Festival and, like “Donovan,” still awaits a U.S. release. But Dolan has previously exercised patience when it comes to distribution, as his 2013 psychosexual thriller “Tom at the Farm” took two years to make it to U.S. theaters.
“The Death and Life of John F. Donovan” hits Canadian theaters on August 23.
Source: IndieWire film
August 17, 2019
At 79 years old, inimitable Hollywood icon Peter Fonda passed away this week, leaving behind a legacy of iconic work. He is survived by his older sister, actress Jane Fonda, and his daughter, actress Bridget Fonda. In tribute to his career, here are five Fonda performances to seek out:
A I P/Kobal/Shutterstock
“The Wild Angels” (1966)
Cult hero Roger Corman’s 1966 biker outlaw film put Peter Fonda on the map as one of the faces of the New Hollywood, and forever memorialized the actor as a Harley-Davidson icon. The film that Leonard Maltin once called “OK after 24 beers” stars Fonda as Heavenly Blues, the leader of a hard-partying San Pedro motorcycle gang, opposite Bruce Dern, Nancy Sinatra, and Diane Ladd. Fonda went on to co-star with Dern in Corman’s 1967 psychedelic film “The Trip.”
“Easy Rider” (1969)
Dennis Hopper’s wild road movie arrived in Hollywood like a brick through a windshield, shattering conventions and inspiring generations of filmmakers to come. Fonda and Hopper play drug-smuggling motorcyclists making their way across the country for Mardi Gras, and along the way they get entangled with shady hitchhikers and end up taking a seriously bad dose of LSD in one of the film’s trippiest sequences. “Easy Rider” remains a countercultural touchstone, made all the more iconic by Fonda’s brilliant turn. He earned a Best Original Screenplay Oscar nomination for co-writing with Hopper and Terry Southern.
“Ulee’s Gold” (1997)
Peter Fonda received his only Best Actor nomination for playing a reclusive, widowed beekeeper in Victor Nuñez’s drama. Ulee is on a mission to piece his broken family back together, which includes making amends with his criminal son, in jail for a robbery gone wrong. Roger Ebert wrote “Peter Fonda here reveals a depth of talent we did not suspect.”
Bob Marshak/Artisan Pics/Kobal/Shutterstock
“The Limey” (1999)
Steven Soderbergh’s atmospheric neo-noir pivots on Terence Stamp as a dangerous Englishman who comes to Los Angeles to avenge his daughter’s murder. Fonda emerges one of the prime suspects, a record producer with a checkered past in drug-trafficking. Stamp and Fonda make for a compelling tete-a-tete, as we watch two legendary actors at the top of their game.
“3:10 to Yuma” (2007)
James Mangold’s remake of the 1957 Delmer Daves classic includes Fonda in a memorable supporting turn as a Pinkerton agent tasked with hunting down Russell Crowe’s outlaw Ben Wade. After “3:10,” Fonda continued to work steadily up until his death, including in “The Ballad of Lefty Brown” in 2017.
Source: IndieWire film
August 16, 2019
“Everyone kept telling us, you have to go to SXSW, it’s the best audiences.” – Director Gene Stupnitsky
Good Boys tells the story of three best friends (Jacob Tremblay, Keith L. Williams, and Brady Noon) who get invited to their first kissing party and accidentally destroy a drone they weren’t allowed to touch. To replace it, they skip school and set off on an epic odyssey of bad decisions, involving inadvertently stolen drugs, the police, and lots of tears.
“We just had all these stories of us; of what it was like to try to navigate sixth grade, your friendships, and girls and how it’s all starting to bubble up for the first time.” – Writer, Lee Eisenberg
During the Q&A, SXSW Director of Film, Janet Pierson asked if the Good Boys watched any coming of age films in order to prepare for their roles. Noon admitted he and Williams got consent to have a sleepover and watch Superbad.
Lastly, an audience member asked if the young cast members had to convince their parents to do the film. Tremblay and Noon’s parents were all for it, in fact Tremblay actually read the script with his parents. Williams had more of hard time, “I actually didn’t want to do it at first because of all the swearing…but my mom just told me to just pray about it and it’s just acting!”
Good Boys opens in theaters nationwide on August 16, you can watch the trailer here.
<!–[if lte IE 8]>
See you in March!
World Premiere of Good Boys – Photo by Matt Winkelmeyer/Getty Images for SXSW
Source: SxSW Film
August 13, 2019
Looking to increase brand awareness, drive business, network, or gain exposure? Then join us and be a part of the 2020 SXSW Trade Show! This can’t-miss event runs March 15-18.
As the largest exhibition at SXSW, in no other part of SXSW will you find this many creative businesses and organizations together in one place. In fact, 2019 brought together more than 175 businesses and organizations from 25 countries, all dedicated to forward-thinking innovation of all kinds.
New for SXSW 2020, the Trade Show will feature 20 distinct pavilions on the show floor that align with the SXSW Conference Tracks, giving tens of thousands of attendees and decision makers a hands-on, experiential showcase that brings the conference conversations to life with endless unexpected discovery opportunities.
For businesses and organizations, having a presence at the Trade Show is an unparalleled opportunity to network and promote your brand across the creative industries, all while experiencing the latest innovations from around the world.
Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to be a part of the SXSW Trade Show! Space is limited so apply to exhibit today!
Photo by Merrick Ales
The post Apply to the SXSW Trade Show: The Hands-On, Experiential Showcase appeared first on SXSW.
Source: SxSW Film
August 13, 2019
SXSW and Mercedes-Benz are once again joining forces to present the third edition of me Convention, an annual conference where curious and creative minds gather to examine worldwide developments, share their visions of a better future, and create solutions to reach them.
This year’s me Convention returns to Frankfurt am Main in Germany, running Wednesday, September 11 – Friday, September 13 during the International Motor Show (IAA), and programming announcements have begun with the return of Startup Cities and a new focus on local entrepreneurship in the host city’s neighborhood.
Startups Around the World
For the third year running, the presentations in the Startup Cities track will give representatives of cities around the world an opportunity to demonstrate how their home supports and inspires entrepreneurship. Twelve cities have been confirmed so far, representing countries ranging from Belgium to Taiwan, and including our very own Atlanta, Georgia. Explore the unique ecosystems of these cities, the mechanisms used to promote cooperation between business and institutions, and what problems have been overcome to make each of them a great place to start a new business.
Local Revolutions and Global Impact
The 2019 me Convention will shine a light on how regional efforts can have worldwide potential, starting right on their own doorstep. Startups and organizations will present research and products on themes ranging from AI to corporate sustainability, including groups from the Karlsruhe Institute of Technology, Startup Mannheim, and Stuttgart’s Startup Autobahn. Highlights include the Startup Bootcamp, where five teams of young people will develop and pitch a business idea to a jury including Dorothee Bär, Germany’s State Minister for Digitization, and a Cybersecurity Escape Room from Frankfurt’s TechQuartier, where you can dive into the experience of hacking a bank.
International startups can also submit an application to be part of the Reeperbahn Startup pitching competition that will take place at the me Convention on Friday, September 13.
Join Us In Frankfurt
These kinds of ideas are at the heart of me Convention – fostering and celebrating insight, inventiveness and inspiration. Register to attend and join in the conversation, find new collaborators, and work together to #createthenew at me Convention 2019 from September 11–13 in Frankfurt.
Take a look back at the 2018 me Convention photo gallery with event highlights to get a taste of what’s in store this year.
Stephanie Lampkin at the 2018 me Convention – Photo by Markus Nass
The post Local Entrepreneurs and Global Startups Journey to me Convention 2019 in Frankfurt appeared first on SXSW.
Source: SxSW Film
August 11, 2019
Christopher Nolan’s Sound Designer Spills Behind-the-Scenes Secrets From ‘Dunkirk’ and ‘The Dark Knight’
Richard King — sound designer and supervising sound editor on films including “Dunkirk,” “Inception,” “The Dark Knight,” and “Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World,” all of which won him Academy Awards for Best Sound Editing — has been creating aural effects for movies since 1983. He’s a longtime collaborator with Christopher Nolan, realizing the sonic worlds of all of the British auteur’s films since “The Prestige.” King also serves as supervising sound editor on Nolan’s upcoming, mystery-enshrouded “Tenet,” which currently has a trailer playing in theaters ahead of screenings of “Hobbs & Shaw.”
In a recent Reddit AMA, King shared some of the secrets to his success, including the innovative foley techniques he employed on 2017’s World War II epic “Dunkirk.” (For filmmakers, King has also made available a sound effects library.)
With regard to one of the exhilarating plane-crash sequences in “Dunkirk,” King said: “Chris had the genius idea of having the plane’s engine winding up instead of sputtering as it goes down. I put a billiard ball in my dryer at home to get random banging to simulate like a crank shaft is broken loose. He’s going 100 knots so at that speed hitting water is like hitting concrete. The penultimate moment had to be huge. That’s a sound we worked on for a long time to try to give it the biggest metal crack we could make.”
King also added, “Loud sounds like explosions are more startling and effective if they’re preceded by a little silence. For instance, the scene where the British soldiers are hiding in the metal trawler which the Germans begin using as target practice. It’s shocking because it’s a fairly quiet scene.”
When asked about his favorite “sound accident,” King said, “I accidentally crashed a Mercedes Benz once and got an incredible impact sound.” King also said, “We crashed into an airplane hangar within 2 feet of an airplane propellor. We revved up an electric car so high that the engine seized up and I got a great shuddering clunk sound. We dropped a concrete k-rail on a car, inadvertently crushing the microphone inside. We got a great crash sound up until the mic was destroyed. These are accidents I would not suggest repeating, but we got some great sounds (and nobody got hurt).”
To achieve the terrifying gun sounds in “Dunkirk,” King said, “The guns in the opening sequence in the town of Dunkirk were a combination of great production sound(!) and the German machine guns that we recorded. The production gun sounds had a great crack and had the benefit of the natural reverb of the narrow cobblestone street. They were also played very loud, which makes them abrasive and shocking. They also sound harsh and raw because there’s no sound absorption on that street, it’s like a little stone canyon, which makes it bright and abrasive.”
King said that the hardest sound he ever worked on was for “The Dark Knight Rises.” “We didn’t want [the bat] to sound like a helicopter,” he said. “It needed more of a flangey whir. It was a long process to try to figure out how to accomplish that without making it just sound like a big fan.”
This year, King also served as supervising sound editor on “Dark Phoenix.”
Source: IndieWire film
August 11, 2019
For a change, a narrative feature rather than a documentary opened best among this week’s new releases. “The Peanut Butter Falcon,” about a challenged young man and his dreams of wrestling glory, opened to multiple cities to very encouraging initial results and a real shot of crossover success.
The tough-minded “One Child Nation” also had a promising start at two theaters, one on each coast. Breakout success “The Farewell” grossed over $2 million with its expansion to 700 theaters, but that’s less than it made last weekend. Still, this very successful film already has passed $10 million.
The Peanut Butter Falcon (Roadside Attractions) – Metacritic: 69; Festivals include: SXSW 2019
$205,236 in 17 theaters; PTA (per theater average): $12,108
A creative and atypical release pattern paid off for Roadside Attractions with the initial seven-city release, with five heartland markets joining New York and Los Angeles. A reported special Cinemascore survey with an A+ grade suggests that this offbeat story has a real shot at sleeper success.
The plot revolves around a boy with Down syndrome who dreams of becoming a wrestler, and his unlikely support team including Shia LaBeouf and Dakota Johnson. With marketing support from several special-needs groups and an extensive word-of-mouth advance screening program, this scored in multiple locations. It was the top grosser in a range of locations, from the core specialized The Landmark in Los Angeles and other, mostly wider-release locations, including Salt Lake City.
It takes significant work to get any narrative feature a good initial gross. These numbers, though not spectacular, suggest a very bright future , particularly going into late August when more theaters will be eager to play.
What comes next: After a limited expansion this weekend, the following will see around 800 theaters or more.
After the Wedding (Sony Pictures Classics) – Metacritic: 53; Festivals include: Sundance 2019
$57,124 in 5 theaters; PTA: $11,425
Veteran indie director Bart Freundlich teamed with his wife Julianne Moore (as well as Michelle Williams) for this remake of Susanne Bier’s earlier Danish drama about family tensions when a far-flung clan gathers for nuptials. With mediocre reviews, this showed so-so initial results despite strong support that included five top New York/Los Angeles theaters. SPC has often used the late summer period to launch similar films, but these results are only half as good or less than for previous titles like “The Wife,” “Equity,” “Grandma,” and “Love Is Strange.”
“Gloria Bell,” also starring Moore in an English-language remake of a subtitled arthouse success, opened earlier this year in five theaters to a PTA of $29,000, on its way to a $5.6 million total.
What comes next: This expands to other top markets Friday, with the chance that it finds traction across the country.
One Child Nation (Amazon) – Metacritic: 83; Festivals include: Sundance 2019
$22,244 in 2 theaters; PTA: $11,122
As successful as documentaries have been, it remains a challenge for serious-issue titles to gain a foothold. This, one of the best reviewed of the year, tackles extreme population birth control policies in China. Amazon opened at two theaters in New York and Los Angeles, with a good result in each (including some sold-out shows).
What comes next: Eight new cities this Friday, with Amazon planning a full theatrical release.
$144,357 in 24 theaters (+19); PTA: $6,015; Cumulative: $317,765
Careful handling for this sensitive family drama involving an adopted Eritrean son (with Naomi Watts and Octavia Spencer among the cast) has initially paid off with a promising second-weekend result in top cities. Narrative titles like this, which had good but not great reviews and fall outside awards season, are now a major challenge. A key step for those with potential good word of mouth is to get them into the right theaters with support and hope audiences respond. This has been positioned to move ahead.
Them That Follow (1091)
$87,750 in 195 theaters (+192); PTA: $450; Cumulative: $103,970
Oscar-winner Olivia Colman’s first release after “The Favourite” represents a major change of pace in her role as part of an Appalachian snake-handling religious cult. Distributor 1091 nearly doubled the theater count for the second-weekend expansion, with a very minor response.
The Nightingale (IFC)
$71,826 in 27 theaters (+25); PTA: $2,660; Cumulative: $119,785
Jennifer Kent’s followup to her acclaimed “The Babadook” added multiple cities its second weekend. This Australian revenge saga came in with a theater average about three fourths of her earlier work in a similar number of screens. That topped out at about $1 million.
Tel Aviv On Fire (Cohen)
$77,591 in 27 theaters (+16); PTA: $2,874; Cumulative: $146,158
Israeli films have carved out a niche for themselves, often ahead of other subtitled releases. That’s reflected in the grosses for this comedy about a Palestinian who accidentally finding success as a TV writer. It’s moved quickly into multiple markets with some interest.
Jay Myself (Oscilloscope)
$11,450 in 1 theater (no change); PTA: $11,450; Cumulative: $49,435
Though not at the level of its very strong opening five days, this documentary by photographer Stephen Wilkes about his mentor, Jay Maisel, held well in its second weekend at New York’s Film Forum. Los Angeles opens this Friday ahead of other cities.
Love, Antosha (Lurk)
$11,200 in 7 theaters (+6); PTA: $1,600; Cumulative: $19,880
After its exclusive Los Angeles opening, this loving portrayal of the late Anton Yelchin added New York and elsewhere. Response was minor.
Piranhas (Music Box)
$6,053 in 10 theaters (+9); PTA: $605; Cumulative: $10,940
The lack of interest in subtitled films is no help for this story about Sicilian kids as Mafia guns for hire. It hit top cities to very little response.
Ongoing/expanding (grosses over $50,000)
The Farewell (A24) Week 5
$2,217,000 in 704 theaters (+295); Cumulative: $10,327,000
With a significant increase in theaters, the gross for Lulu Wang’s breakout Sundance hit crossed the $10 million mark in its fifth weekend. However, the gross was $200,000 less than the prior weekend and it fell from the top 10 (five new wide releases grabbed spots). The drop isn’t a major concern, though it suggests limits to the crossover appeal of this majority-subtitled film. It’s normal for ongoing theaters to have a 30% drop weekly at this stage. Assuming no aggressive further expansion, this weekend suggests a total gross of over $15 million.
Maiden (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 7
$254,273 in 173 theaters (+42); Cumulative: $1,917,000
Steady as she goes described the fairly consistent response to this documentary about an all-female round-the-world boat crew.
David Crosby: Remember My Name (Sony Pictures Classics) Week 4
$85,498 in 47 theaters (+9); Cumulative: $298,037
This music documentary focused on a key icon continues its slow expansion. The result so far, though steady, is not at the level of other recent films about similar subjects.
Echo in the Canyon (Greenwich) Week 12
$69,854 in 60 theaters (-44); Cumulative: $3,196,000
More music doc interest for this celebration of a broad group of Los Angeles musicians, with above-average response continuing.
The Last Black Man in San Francisco (A24) Week 10
$54,582 in 52 theaters (-22); Cumulative: $4,404,000
One of the few narrative specialized feature successes this year (its gross nearly all from arthouse locations — it topped out at 207 theaters), this is still sustaining interest in its 10th week.
Pavarotti (CBS) – $42,500 in 41 theaters; Cumulative: $4,531,000
Marianne & Leonard: Words of Love (Roadside Attractions) – $39,500 in 63 theaters; Cumulative: $791,652
Sword of Trust (IFC) – $36,912 in theaters; Cumulative: $300,018; also on Video on Demand
Honeyland (Neon) – $32,470 in 12 theaters; Cunulative: $129,662
The Biggest Little Farm (Neon) – $30,355 in 45 theaters; Cumulative: $4,301,000
Wild Rose (Neon) – $29,400 in 38 theaters; Cumulative: $1,579,000
Source: IndieWire film