Yorgos Lanthimos’ Venice Golden Lion Winner Poor Things is here with Searchlight Pictures sewing up nine theaters in four major markets for leg one of the Emma Stone-starring surreal-period-comedy-horror.
The film debuts in NYC (AMC Lincoln Square, Regal Union Square, Alamo Drafthouse, Brooklyn) and LA (AMC Century City, AMC The Grove, AMC Burbank 16) as well as San Francisco (AMC Metreon, Alamo Drafthouse Mission) and Austin (Alamo Drafthouse South Lamar). Lanthimos, Stone and stars Mark Ruffalo and Willem Dafoe join Q&As in New York and tickets have been selling out. Stone hosted SNL last Saturday, joining the exclusive “five-timers club”, and made stops in recent days at Good Morning America, Sunday Today and ABC News Live Prime to talk up the fantastical tale.
Stone plays Bella Baxter, a young Victorian woman mysteriously brought back to life by the brilliant and unorthodox scientist Godwin Baxter (Dafoe) who lives as the doctor’s ward. But Bella is eager to learn and hungry for the worldliness she is lacking. She runs off with Duncan Wedderburn (Ruffalo), a slick and debauched lawyer, on a whirlwind adventure across stylized European cities with multicolored skies. An innocent, free from the prejudices of her times, Bella grows increasingly steadfast in her purpose to seek equality and liberation. See Deadline review.
Poor Things’ unique look was recreated in an immersive pop-up experience this week at the Maison Premiere in Brooklyn, which invited guest into the Salon of Seduction — “inspired by the captivating life of the film’s heroine” with peep-show-style booths, hand-crafted cocktails, snacks and performances from the film, which also screened at Telluride, New York Film Festival and various international fests. Won the Bronze Frog for cinematographer Robbie Ryan and the Audience Award at CamerImage, as well as the Audience Awards at the Stockholm Film Festival and Adelaide Film Festival.
Screenplay by Tony McNamara. Also stars Ramy Youssef, Christopher Abbott, Suzy Bemba, Jerrod Carmichael, Kathryn Hunter, Vicki Pepperdine, Margaret Qualley abd Hanna Schygulla.
Searchlight will add Boston, Chicago, Dallas, DC, Portland, Orlando, Toronto, Vancouver and other markets next week, expanding to about 80 thereafter. International release in January/February.
Anselm from Sideshow/Janus Films is iconic director Wim Wenders portrait of the great German artist Anselm Kiefer. Ambitious and unusual — shot in 3D and 6K-resolution — it presents a cinematic experience of the artist’s work that explores human existence and the cyclical nature of history, inspired by literature, poetry, philosophy, science, mythology and religion. For over two years, Wenders traced Kiefer’s path from his native Germany to his current home in France, connecting the stages of his life to the essential places of his career that spans more than five decades. Producer Karsten Brunig. Executive producer Jeremy Thomas.
Premiered in Cannes, Deadline review here. Opens in NYC at IFC Center and Lincoln Center’s Walter Reade Theater, adding LA next week and rolling on from there. “We saw it at Cannes and loved, loved loved it,” said Sideshow co-founder and partner Jonathan Sehring. The 3D makes it “event like, which really attracted us.” Sideshow in partnership with Janus jumped into the scene with Drive My Car and EO and has been rolling out films steadily this year. Anselm may its strongest opening so far with multiple sold out shows in both theaters.
Sehring called Wenders “a master of 3D” and “one of the only filmmakers who’s taken that technology and really done something very, very special.” This film — one artist filming another — is particular, “it’s so personal for him…It’s one of the many layers of why this film works so well.” Wender’s 2011 doc Pina, about German dancer and choreographer Pina Bausch, was also 3D.
Bleecker Street opens the film version of Waitress: The Musical on 1,214 screens. Directed by Brett Sullivan and Diane Paulus, this is the Tony-nominated Broadway phenomenon on the big screen. Featuring composer-lyricist Sara Bareilles as Jenna Hunterson, a waitress and expert pie maker stuck in a small town and a loveless marriage. When a baking contest in a nearby county offers her a chance at escape, Jenna fights to reclaim a long-forgotten part of herself. Also stars Charity Angél Dawson; Caitlin Houlahan; Drew Gehling; Dakin Matthews; Eric Anderson; Joe Tippett; Christopher Fitzgerald. Premiered at Tribeca, see Deadline review.
Sony Pictures Classics is launching a qualifying run for animated The Peasants at Angelika’s Village East in NYC and Laemmle Royal in LA. Poland’s official Academy Award submission premiered at TIFF.
By DK Welchman and Hugh Welchman, the film tells the story of Jagna, a young woman determined to forge her own path within the confines of a late nineteenth century Polish village — a hotbed of gossip and ongoing feuds, held together, rich and poor, by pride in their land, adherence to colorful traditions and a deep-rooted patriarchy. When Jagna finds herself caught between the conflicting desires of the village’s richest farmer, his eldest son and other leading men of the community, her resistance puts her on a tragic collision course with the community around her.
Magnolia Pictures/Magnet Releasing present horror Lord Of Misrule in limited release in LA and 20 more markets. Directed by William Brent Bell, written by Tom de Ville. Rebecca Holland (Tuppence Middleton) has recently taken over as the vicar of a small town. When her young daughter Grace (Evie Templeton) goes missing at the local harvest festival, a desperate search begins, dredging up secrets that emerge from the town’s dark past.
Supernatural horror The Cello from Destiny Media Entertainment directed by Darren Lynn Bousman (Saw II, Saw III, Spiral) and starring Samer Ismail, Tobin Bell and Jeremy Irons opens on 288 screens. The under-the-radar horror pic was filmed in Saudi Arabia and the Czech Republic and is in Arabic and English. Saudi cellist Nasser (Ismail) aspires to greatness but is held back by his dilapidated old instrument. When a mysterious shop owner offers him a gorgeous red cello he finds musical inspiration But the new instrument has a nefarious past. There’s an ancient conductor (Jeremy Irons), death and suffering. What is playing such a perfect instrument worth?
Utopia presents Concrete Utopia by Um Tae-hwa, a dystopian survival thriller as an earthquake renders much of Seoul into a smoldering ruin. But as survivors begin their efforts to restore order, the real calamity begins. Opens in seven theaters in NY, LA and Toronto with more coming next week. Stars Lee Byung-hun. This is Korea’s entry for the Best International Feature Film category at the Oscars. Um Tae-hwa’s first film, Vanishing Time: A Boy Who Returned, received the Best New Director award seven years ago at the Grand Bell Awards.
A Father’s Promise, from Abramorama, opens at Look Cinemas in Manhattan with additional cities to follow. Directed by Rick Korn and executive produced by Sheryl Crow, the documentary is the story of professional musician Mark Barden, whose life changed instantly when his son Daniel was murdered at Sandy Hook Elementary. He dropped everything and devoted his life to preventing gun violence. The film watches as he turns tragedy into activism and, doing so, rediscovering his lost passion for music. Featuring performances and interviews from Susan Tedeschi and Derek Trucks, Karen Fairchild of Little Big Town, Darryl DMC McDaniels, Bernie Williams, and more, as well as music by John Lennon, Bruce Springsteen, Van Morrison, Steve Winwood, David Shaw (The Revivalists), and others.
Expansions: NEON’s Anne Hathaway-starring Eileen by William Oldroyd moves up to 532 screens in week two. The distributor has also set qualifying runs for Origin, which opens Jan. 19. The Venice-premiering film by Ava DuVernay is inspired by the life and work of Pulitzer Prize winner Isabel Wilkerson (Aunjanue Ellis) as she pens her seminal book, Caste: The Origin of Our Discontents.
Rose, written and directed by Danish Director Niels Arden Oplev (Girl With The Dragon Tattoo) and starring Sofie Gråbøl, Lena Maria Christensen, Anders W. Berthelsen and Søren Malling, opens in LA following a New York run. Produced by Thomas Heinesen. The story of two sisters whose relationship is tested on a highly anticipated coach trip to Paris.
Netflix expands Bradly Cooper’s Maestro to 200+ theaters in approx. 60 markets. Goes wider next week. The streamer is also introducing Aardman Animations Chicken Run: Dawn Of The Nugget in a handful of locations.