Indie Roundup reviews the past week of news from the independent film community and provides a peek at what's coming soon. Pictured above, clockwise from upper left: The Brothers Bloom, Sunshine Cleaning, Away We Go, The Class.
Acquisitions. Courtesy of our friends at indieWIRE, we learned of two deals over the past week. City of Life and Death has been picked up by National Geographic Entertainment. Directed by Lu Chuan, the film presents another tale of Japan's occupation of Nanking, China in 1937. We should hear more about it after its upcoming international premiere at the Toronto film festival. Release plans are for later this year or early in 2010. The horrors of Nanking are certainly receiving plenty of attention now in the film world, but I wonder if we're reaching a saturation point?
You'll be able to watch Andrea Arnold's Fish Tank at home, thanks to IFC Films, which will make the film available via their IFC in Theaters 'on demand' program. It will also be playing in theaters, though no release date has been announced. Fish Tank, a coming-of-age drama starring Katie Jarvia and Michael Fassbender, had its world premiere at Cannes, where it shared a special Jury Prize. I really liked Arnold's first film, Red Road, so I'm glad her sophomore effort has been picked up.
Why bring earplugs to a movie? Indie Weekend Box Office explains, after the jump.
Indie Weekend Box Office. What did you see last weekend? Davis Guggenheim's electric guitar doc It Might Get Loud led all comers, earning an average of $13,240 at the seven locations where it opened, according to Box Office Mojo. In his Indie Spotlight, Eric D Snider wrote: "Sound kind of boring? Well, what if I told you it's really an excuse for Jimmy Page, The Edge, and Jack White to get together and jam so hard it makes your face fall off?" Clearly, that was a good marketing hook! Don't forget your earplugs.
Also debuting last weekend: Kaminey ($8,551 per-screen; 85 theaters); Cloud 9 ($6,617 at one theater); Grace ($3,087 per-screen; two theaters); Taxidermia ($2,236 per-screen; two theaters); Earth Days ($2,408 at one theater); American Casino ($1,397 at one theater); and My Fuhrer ($1,197 at one theater).
I don't pay as much attention as I should to Indian films, but Kaminey is the latest example of a foreign-language picture that plays very well without much, if any, mainstream attention. Directed by Vishal Bhardway, Kaminey stars Shahid Kapur as identical twins. They hate each other, but their real quirk is that one lisps and the other stutters -- I know, guaranteed comedy, right? They've led "carefully separated lives" before they are joined together for a "dark comic ride" and 'collide head on with gangsters, rebel soldiers, rogue politicians, and cracked cops." Boy, that sounds like a lot of fun. I really have to start carving out three more hours from my weekly schedule so I can see movies like this.
Despite -- or maybe because of -- the presence of Ashton Kutcher, Spread failed to generate much interest, grossing only $1,194 per-screen at 103 locations. (Or, maybe everyone read the reviews, which were mostly negative.) That's not even as good as Life Partner, which made $1,919 per-screen, and did not feature Demi Moore's husband.
The film that really deserves sympathy, though, is Patrik, Age 1.5, opened by Regency Releasing and making just $408. Directed by Ella Lemhagen, it concerns a gay Swedish couple who "adopt what they think is a 15-month-old orphan, only to meet their new son, a 15-year-old homophobic delinquent." Figuring that movie tickets are about $10.00, you'd think that more than 40 people would want to see that movie, but it was a tough weekend.