Independents are out in force with high-profile fall festival fare from Pricilla to The Holdovers, a big Viva Pictures push with Inspector Sun (voiced by Ronny Chieng), Cannes documentary winner Four Daughters and Waikiki, the debut feature by Hawaiian filmmaker Christopher Kahunahana. the first homegrown feature to be shown there.
Sofia Coppola’s Priscilla from A24 is playing New York (Angelika, Lincoln Square) and Los Angeles (Century City, the Grove) this weekend including sold out Q&A’s with the director and star Cailee Spaeny, Best Actress winner at the Venice Film Festival where Priscilla premiered, see Deadline review. Jacob Elordi stars as Elvis.
The story of the singer’s romantic partner and only wife told from her perspective is based on the book Elvis And Me by Priscilla Presley following her early years as a teenage army brat stationed in West Germany to her surreal arrival at Graceland. Rolls out nationwide next week.
In conjunction with the film, A24, which dabbles in merch as well as beauty through its makeup venture Half Magic, is seeing brisk business in eye kits ahead of Halloween inspired by Priscilla’s iconic look, before the film even opens. This follows a partnership with Euphoria makeup artist Donni Davy on a line based on the HBO series.
Focus Features presents Alexander Payne’s comedy The Holdovers in six theaters in NYC and LA, rolling out next week and going wide Nov. 10. Premiered at the Telluride Film Festival – see Deadline review – and screened at TIFF.
Written by David Hemingson. Paul Giamatti stars as a curmudgeonly New England prep-school teacher forced to remain on campus during Christmas break to babysit the handful of students with nowhere to go. He eventually forms an unlikely bond with one of them — a damaged, brainy troublemaker (newcomer Dominic Sessa) and with the school’s head cook (Da’Vine Joy Randolph), who has just lost a son in Vietnam.
The widest specialty release this weekend, Inspector Sun from Viva Pictures, opens on just under 1,000 screens, a wide play for the distributor.
Directed by Julio Soto Gúrpide, written by Rocco Pucillo, its voice cast stars Ronny Chieng, Emily Kleimo, Jennifer Childs Greer, Rich Orlow and Iain Batchelor. Fired from his detective job after a mission gone awry, Inspector Sun boards a seemingly normal plane for a much-needed vacation. But when an enigmatic millionaire receives a death threat, Sun is back on the case and trapped in a web of lies he must unravel before it’s too late.
Viva started 2023 with its widest release ever, The Amazing Maurice, which played Sundance, opened at $1.4 million in Feb. on about 1,700 screens and grossed $4.3 million domestic ($21 million worldwide). “We were waiting for a movie like Maurice,” said Viva’s VP of theatrical distribution Mayank Jhalani. There haven’t been all that many new animated openings, although Five Nights At Freddy’s from Universal/Blumhouse is on fire this weekend. Jhalani told Deadline the film is leaning into the whodunit aspect of the story, touting Inspector Sun costumes and mysterious gift boxes that require riddle solving sent to and promoted by key mom and kid influencers.
Kino Lorber opens Cannes award-winning documentary Four Daughters by Kaouther Ben Hania at the IFC Center. An exploration of rebellion, memory, and sisterhood that reconstructs the story of Olfa Hamrouni and her four daughters, unpacking a complex family history through intimate interviews and performance to examine how the Tunisian woman’s two eldest were radicalized by Islamic extremists.
The film casts professional actresses as the missing daughters, along with Egyptian-Tunisian actress Hend Sabri as Olfa. The director restages pivotal moments in the family’s life, interwoven with confessions and reflections. Winner of four prizes including L’Oeil d’Or (Best Documentary) when it screened in competition at the Cannes Film Festival, see Deadline review. The director is on hand for Q&As. Expands nationwide in coming weeks.
Waikiki emerged from Christopher Kahunahana’s Sundance Native Lab project Karaoke Kings, winning the Grand Jury Award at the LA Asian Pacific Film Festival in 2020 and collecting accolades since on the festival circuit. It opens in NY and LA this weekend with Q&As at Regal Union Square and Laemmle Noho, then moves to select theaters across Hawaii next weekend — the first homegrown feature to be shown there. The first two Sunday shows at Regal Maui Mall are courtesy of distributor Level 33.
After devastating fires, “Our distributor wanted to do something for Maui,” Kahunahana tells Deadline.
The gritty look at the realities of life in paradise, from the perspective of a Hula dancer working three jobs and living out of her van, may not be “the feel-good movie of the year,” he said, but “I thought maybe people would have the opportunity to take a break, give them perspective on some of the things that they’re going through.”
Hawaii has “always been marketed as this paradise…It’s like, ‘Come here and forget about your life’. But people actually live here” and the tourism industry often doesn’t provide a living wage. It’s not unusual “to have three jobs and you still can’t afford to have a house.”
Stars Danielle Zalopany, Peter Shinkoda, Jason Quinn.
Netflix opens David Fincher’s latest The Killer in about 100 locations. On the streamer Nov. 10. The film, which premiered in Venice (see Deadline review) stars Michael Fassbender, Charles Parnell, Arliss Howard, Sophie Charlotte and Tilda Swinton. After a fateful near miss, an assassin battles his employers, and himself, on an international manhunt he insists isn’t personal. Written by Andrew Kevin Walker based on the eponymous graphic novel series by Alexis Nolent (a.k.a Matz).