Cohen Media Group hopes a Spanish film can dent the tough market for foreign language fare, Bleecker Street is out with a hostage drama and A24 presents Owen Kline’s directorial debut about a teenage cartoonist as the arthouse market flexes more muscle than it has in weeks.
The dearth of new releases itself nudged some distributors to grab a window now before a more crowded fall, including UAR’s supersized specialty opening of the Idris Elba, Tilda Swinton-starring Three Thousand Years Of Longing on 2,436 screens, considerably wider than originally anticipated.
George Miller’s fantasy fairytale, written by Miller and Augusta Gore, is based on the 1994 A.S. Byatt short story ‘The Djinn in the Nightingale’s Eye’. Swinton is a complacent academic, Elba is the Djinn (a kind of spirit genie) she encounters at a conference in Istanbul in the 2022 Cannes Film Festival out-of-competition entry. Deadline review here.
The Good Boss (El Buen Patron) with Javier Bardem will be Cohen Media Group’s biggest release since Agnès Varda and JR’s 2017 doc Faces Places, and highest-profile openings in years as well on 13 screens in five markets (NY, LA, San Francisco, Boston, Washington, D.C.) Friday, expanding nationally to up to 200 locations in top 50 markets next weekend. CMG acquired Spain’s submission for the 2021 International Feature Oscar out of San Sebastian last year. It swept a record 20 Goya nominations, and six wins including Best Picture, Best Actor for Bardem, and Best Director and Best Original screenplay for Fernando Leon de Aranoa.
Bardem plays the paternalistic owner of a company that manufactures industrial scales. Deadline review here.
CMG’s head of marketing and distribution Justin DiPietro said film is foreign language, but not highbrow. He hopes the story, which includes an egomaniacal boss, an attractive intern and an angry laid-off factory worker “plays well to everyone” in a market that’s challenging for specialty films, particularly with subtitles. The Good Boss is starting its 45-day exclusive theatrical run following a weeklong Bardem retrospective (Boundless Bardem) at the Quad Cinema in NYC. The Oscar Best Actor nominee for Being The Ricardos is currently filming Dune: Awakening in Jordan.
CMG, which also owns Landmark Theatres and U.K. cinema group Curzon, just acquired London-based international sales company HanWay Films, expanding the arthouse umbrella of Charles S. Cohen. HanWay has a dozen features in release or soon to be, and eight titles in production or scheduled to go this year.
Bleecker Street thriller Breaking opens on 902 screens, starring John Boyega and the late Michael K. Williams. The feature directorial debut from Abi Damaris Corbin world premiered at Sundance, taking the Special Jury Award for Ensemble Cast in the U.S. Dramatic Competition.
Breaking is based on the true story of former U.S. Marine Brian Brown-Easley (Boyega), who takes a bank and several employees hostage when he is denied support from Veteran’s Affairs, setting the stage for a tense confrontation with the police. Written by Corbin and Kwame Kwei-Armah based on the 2018 article ‘They Didn’t Have to Kill Him’ from the online Armed Forces-focused publication Task & Purpose. With Nicole Beharie, Selenis Leyva, Connie Britton and Jeffrey Donovan.
A24 presents Owen Kline’s feature debut Funny Pages in about 30 theaters (including LA’s Alamo Drafthouse downtown Los Angeles, and NYC’s Film at Lincoln Center and Angelika Film Center) and on demand. Produced by the Safdie brothers. The coming-of-age comedy and Cannes Directors’ Fortnight title about a misguided teenage cartoonist who rejects the comforts of his suburban life stars Daniel Zolghadri, Matthew Maher, Miles Emanuel, Maria Dizzia and Josh Pais. Written by Kline. Deadline review here.
Quiver Distribution presents the Neil LaBute written and directed erotic thriller Out Of The Blue in theaters and on demand. Starring Diane Kruger, Ray Nicholson, Hank Azaria, and Chase Sui Wonders, it opens in five markets (LA, NYC, Atlanta, Houston and Orlando). Ex-con Connor (Nicholson) falls for enigmatic beauty Marilyn (Kruger), plunging into an adulterous affair that quickly escalates into talk of murdering her abusive husband.
Action/genre expert Well Go USA opens Alienoid, from Korea, written and directed by Choi Dong-hoon, on 110 screens. With Kim Tae-ri, Kim Woo-Bin, Ryu Jun-yeol. The story of Guard and Thunder, a duo who manage alien prisoners that have been locked up in humans’ brains. They become time-travel entangled with sorcerers who pursue a legendary Divine Blade in the year 1391.
Blue Fox Entertainment presents Jane on 31 screens (including NYC’s AMC Empire and the LA Laemmle NoHo). Written and directed by Sabrina Jaglom. With Madelaine Petsch, Melissa Leo. When Olivia (Petch) is deferred from her dream college she begins to spiral, embarking on a social media war against those in her way. Jane is a partnership with new streaming service Creator +.
Greenwich Entertainment opens documentary The Youth Governor at Laemmle Monica. In the halls of California’s Capitol, 4,000 teenagers run a fully functioning simulated government, complete with legislators, party bosses and elections. Over four months, three candidates emerge in the race for the 72nd Youth Governor. With peers scrutinizing every word, these young candidates discover the mix of ambition, confidence, shamelessness and drive it takes to win. Directed by brothers Jaron and Matthew Halmy. Blumhouse Television is behind the documentary, with Jason Blum serving as executive producer.
Argot Pictures’ Let The Little Light Shine adds a run at NYC’s IFC Film Center. The Kevin Shaw doc opened last weekend at the Gene Siskel Film Center in Chicago. Parents, students and educators fight for the survival of a top-ranked elementary school in an African American neighborhood – the Chicago National Teachers Academy – which is threatened by a proposed new school favoring the community’s wealthier residents.
Kino Lorber opens Aly Muritiba’s Private Desert, Brazil’s submission to the 94th Academy Awards, at the Quad Cinema. With Antonio Saboia, Luthero Almeida, Pedro Fasanaro. Written by Henrique dos Santos and Muritiba. Daniel is a police academy instructor put on forced leave after a violent incident. The only thing holding him together is an online romance with gender-fluid Sara, whom he has never met in person. When she suddenly disappears, he travels across the country to find her. Debuted at Venice last year. Opens in LA at Laemmle Theatres, adding a handful of markets in September.
Saban Entertainment is releasing shark-attack thriller Maneater on 18 screens and on demand. Written and directed by Justin Lee. With Nicky Whelan, Trace Adkins, Jeff Fahey, Shane West. A group of friends’ idyllic island vacation turns gruesome nightmare when they’re targeted by an unrelenting great white.