Good news, everyone! Focus Features has moved the release of writer/director Edgar Wright’s next film, The World’s End, up nearly two months from October 25th to the nice summer date of August 23rd. This is excellent news, as anticipation is high for the third and final entry in the “Blood and Ice Cream Trilogy” from Wright, co-writer/star Simon Pegg, and star Nick Frost that began with Shaun of the Dead and Hot Fuzz. The story for The World’s End centers on five childhood friends (played by Pegg, Frost, Eddie Marsan, Paddy Considine, and Martin Freeman) going through an epic pub crawl in order to reach the fabled pub, “The World’s End”. But as they make their way to the pub, they discover that the fate of humankind is on the line.
The film will presumably still be opening in the U.K. on August 14th, but U.S. audiences now don’t have to wait two full months to see it. The move to summer is a vote of confidence from Focus Features, and on the new release date the pic will face off against the YA adaptation The Mortal Instruments: City of Bones and the critically hailed horror film You’re Next.
It was nigh on three years ago that one mister James Franco, a largely unknown film student at NYU Tisch School of the Arts, presented his behind-the-scenes documentary of Saturday Night Live to the delight of audiences at SXSW. Entitled Saturday Night the film charmed audiences and critics alike once again at Tribeca, (link 1) was then picked up by Adam Yauch’s Oscilloscope, and then… silence.
Until today that is. Hit the jump for news straight from the Franco’s mouth.
More acquisition news from the Toronto International Film Festival:
- Focus Features picked up the U.S. rights to The Place Beyond the Pines, the drama written and directed Derek Cianfrance (Blue Valentine), led by Ryan Gosling, Bradley Cooper, and Eva Mendes.
- Anchor Bay will distribute the Billy Bob Thorton‘s Jayne Mansfield’s Car. Thorton co-stars with Robert Duvall, John Hurt, Kevin Bacon, Katherine LaNasa, Ray Stevenson and Robert Patrick.
- Arclight Films acquired Storm Surfers 3D, the Australian documentary (narrated by Toni Collette) about two-time world surfing champion Tom Carroll and big wave pioneer Ross Clarke-Jones.
Hit the jump for details on each project.
Though it’s tough to argue for the artistic merit of something that began as Twilight fan fiction written on the internet, we’re starting to get an idea of what the feature film adaptation of E.L. James’ “mommy porn” trilogy Fifty Shades of Grey might look like. Producers Michael De Luca and Dana Brunetti have been tapped by Universal and Focus Features to produce the big screen iteration of Fifty Shades of Grey. Somewhat surprisingly the studios did not choose some tween pandering or hyper-commercial duo, as De Luca and Brunetti both produced David Fincher’s The Social Network, with De Luca also producing one of last year’s best films, Moneyball. Focus Features CEO Donna Langley had this to say about the hiring:
“At its core, Fifty Shades of Grey is a complex love story, requiring a delicate and sophisticated hand to bring it to the big screen. Mike and Dana’s credits more than exemplify what we need in creative partners and we’re glad to have them as part of our team.”
Hit the jump for more.
George Clooney is adding another directorial project to his slate. Focus Features has optioned David Grann’s New Yorker article The Yankee Comandante with Clooney attached to direct. The project is, unsurprisingly, political in nature and tells the true story of an American named William Alexander Morgan who helped Fidel Castro and the Cuban rebels overthrow Fulgencio Batista. Morgan became only the second foreigner to land the highly regarded title of Comandante, and throughout the struggle to overthrow Batista he maintained his anti-communist views and remained convinced that Castro was not a communist. Hit the jump for more.
Focus Features announced today that production has commenced on the drama Promised Land. The screenplay was written by Matt Damon and John Krasinski, based on a story by Dave Eggers, and the project was poised to be Damon’s directorial debut before scheduling issues forced him to vacate the director’s chair. Damon’s Good Will Hunting director Gus Van Sant swooped in and swiftly took over directing duties, and now filming has begun. Focus President Jeb Brody draws some very flattering comparisons when describing the project:
“Matt and John’s script is rich in Frank Capra-esque qualities, blending humor and heart while exploring the power of community in this day and age. An actor’s director like Gus will bring forth all the emotions in the story, which is a true passion project for everyone.”
In addition to Damon and Krasinski, the cast also includes Frances McDormand, Hal Holbrook, Rosemarie DeWitt, Scoot McNairy, and Titus Welliver. Hit the jump to read the press release, which includes a plot synopsis.
Focus Features has released new images for Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom (premiering at Cannes, and then opening in limited release on May 25th), Seeking a Friend for the End of the World starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley (opening June 22nd), and the stop-motion animated film Paranorman (opening in 3D on August 17th). Note that the image from Moonrise Kingdom is probably promotional and not from the movie.
Hit the jump to check out the images, and click on the corresponding links to learn more about each movie. You can also find synopses after the jump.
Universal Pictures and Focus Features have come out the victors in the battle for the “mommy porn” series Fifty Shades of Grey. It’s not uncommon for studios to vie for the film rights to certain hot properties, but Fifty Shades of Grey is different for a few reasons. 1. The three-part romance series is heavy on the S&M and erotica, 2. The books rose to prominence as ebooks, and 3. Author E.L. James developed the story for Fifty Shades of Grey from her own Fan fiction work inspired by Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight books. What’s that last part, you say? Oh yes, we now live in a world where Twilight fan fiction is turned into bestselling fiction, which itself is turned into a hot feature film property. Hit the jump for more.
by Ron Messer Posted: February 9th, 2012 at 7:16 pm
Gary Oldman wrapped up his 3-day, 7-film retrospective at New York’s Landmark Sunshine Cinema with a fun, extended Q&A after Wednesday night’s screening of his Oscar-nominated performance in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy.
The first time Academy Award nominee fielded questions from a theater filled with hundreds of his fans with nearly an hour. Oldman also hung around for autographs, pictures and additional questions. Hit the jump for stories from the set of The Dark Knight Rises, his paralyzing doubt on Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy and what he thought while watching Heath Ledger as The Joker.
Eric Bana and Rebecca Hall are set to team up for an untitled international suspense thriller. Focus Features and Working Title films are set to produce the flick, with Boy A helmer John Crowley onboard to direct. The film centers on two ex-lovers who “find their loyalties tested and their lives at risk when they are joined together on the defense team in a terrorism trial.” The film is described as a nail-biting thriller that also plays as an emotional roller coaster. Bana and Hall are stellar performers and the script comes from Eastern Promises scribe Steven Knight, so this one has the ingredients for quite the flick. Production is set to begin in April.
Bana has a number of projects on the horizon, including the thriller Blackbird, the heist pic Brilliant, and he’s next set to play Elvis Presley in Elvis & Nixon. As for Hall, she’ll next be seen in Stephen Frears’ gambling dramedy Lay the Favorite. Hit the jump for the press release.
While the 2012 Sundance Film Festival is only a few days in, more than a few favorites are starting to emerge. Earlier today Sony Pictures Classics picked up the Rashida Jones comedy Celeste and Jesse Forever and Fox Searchlight acquired crowd-favorite The Surrogate (John Hawkes is apparently amazing in the latter). Now Fox Searchlight has made yet another high profile acquisition, as they’ve picked up U.S. rights to Benh Zeitlin’s fantastical drama Beasts of the Southern Wild. The film centers on a six-year-old on the brink of orphanhood who lives in a forgotten but defiant bayou community cut off from the rest of the world.
The pic has been picking up some serious buzz ever since its first screening. Matt called it a must-see and say it’s “a movie unlike anything you’ve seen in recent years.” You can read his full review here. Fox Searchlight plans to release the film this year. Hit the jump for acquisition news regarding the comedy For a Good Time Call… and to read the full press release regarding both films.
We’ve got a few release date changes to report this afternoon. Briefly:
- Relativity has pushed The Raven starring John Cusack back from March to April 27th.
- Relativity’s House at the End of the Street starring Jennifer Lawrence moves from April to September 21st.
- Focus Features has pushed the apocalyptic dramedy Seeking a Friend for the End of the World starring Steve Carell back from April to June 22nd.
Hit the jump for all the details.
The Cuban zombie comedy Juan of the Dead played at last year’s Toronto International Film Festival and now it has been picked up for a North American release by Focus Features’ new digital distribution arm, Focus World. The eponymous character is 40-year-old slacker who makes zombie lemonade out of zombie lemons when a zombie outbreak hits Cuba and he’s able to make some scratch by slaying families’ fresh undead. Some critics have seen it as a political allegory, but director Alejandro Brugues says its commentary on Cuba is how its citizens manage to find a way to deal with poverty.
According to Variety, Focus World plans to release premieres titles across video-on-demand and electronic sell-thru platforms, including cable/satellite providers, iTunes, Xbox 360, Playstation and YouTube. However, Juan won’t go directly to digital distribution. The movie will play U.S. festivals, and begin a theatrical run in April from a separate distributor. I’ve heard it’s a fun, interesting flick, and I look forward to see it in the near future.
One of the greatest (and versatile) actors actors today is receiving a much-deserved retrospective. Focus Features is hosting a three-night series honoring the work of Gary Oldman with screenings of The Contender, Dracula, JFK, Prick Up Your Ears, and Sid and Nancy, culminating in a showing of this year’s Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy. The Tinker Tailor screening will be followed by a live Q&A with the actor, hosted by KCRW’s Matt Holzman. Oldman’s a great talent and I’m immensely jealous of those able to attend. I’d love to see what Oldman has to say not only about his work in Sid and Nancy and JFK, but other films like The Fifth Element and True Romance.
The first screening will be held on Monday, January 9th at the ArcLight Hollywood, with the other screenings set to follow on Tuesday and Wednesday. Tickets are free, but you must RSVP through OldmanRSVP.com. Oldman’s work in Tinker Tailor Soldier Spy is picking up a good amount of Oscar buzz, and he’ll be seen next year in The Wettest County and The Dark Knight Rises. Hit the jump to read the full press release regarding the event.
Focus Features has set 2012 dates for Wes Anderson‘s Moonrise Kingdom, Paul Weitz‘s Being Flynn, and the apocalyptic rom-com Seeking a Friend for the End of the World starring Steve Carell and Keira Knightley. According to TOH, Being Flynn rolls out first and will hit theaters on March 2nd. Paul Dano stars as a young writer who takes in his estranged father (Robert De Niro) when he finds him at a homeless shelter. The film also stars Julianne Moore, Olivia Thirlby, Dale Dickey, and Lili Taylor. Seeking a Friend hits on April 20th and focus on two people who don’t want to be alone as the end of days approaches. The ensemble also includes Patton Oswalt, Connie Britton, Rob Huebel, Melanie Lynskey, Gillian Jacobs, Derek Luke, and Lindsay Sloane. Finally, Moonrise Kingdom opens in limited release on May 25th. The film focuses on two teens fall in love and run away, which turns their town upside down (and possibly for the better). The film stars Bruce Willis, Edward Norton, Bill Murray, Frances McDormand, Tilda Swinton, Jason Schwartzman, and Harvey Keitel.
Hit the jump for a recap of what competition these films will have on their release dates.