The sequel to a popular British family film, a heavy metal re-release, an Apple title from TIFF and Abigail Disney’s Takedown of the American Dream populate the specialty film weekend in a market that has found a firmer footing ahead of awards season and amid could lack of blockbuster fare.
“I think there’s a lot we should celebrate,” said Kyle Greenburg, Utopia’s chief marketing and sales officer. His publication, along with Abramorama, of the restored 2009 document Anvil!: The Story of the Anvil rocked $16,000 gross, or $8,000 per screen, from two single-show premieres ahead of a one-day run next Tuesday across 200 screens, including AMC and Regal theaters and top art houses. It was played last night in LA at the Saban Theater with Anvil performing live alongside Scott Ian from Anthrax followed by a Q&A moderated by Steve-O. Last week, Peter Dinklage hosted a screening at New York’s Angelika with director Sacha Gervasi.
The document follows the Canadian heavy metal band who released their influential 1982 album Metal on Metal, which would inspire artists like Anthrax and Metallica, then disappeared from the map to begin what would become decades of work in the dark . In his debut film, Gervasi followed guitarist Steve “Lips” Kudlow and drummer Robb Reiner as a roadie, capturing their story as they stumble through a harrowing European tour. Includes performances by heavy metal icons such as Metallica’s Lars Ulrich, Guns N’ Roses’ Slash, Motörhead’s Lemmy, Anthrax’s Scott Ian and Slayer’s Tom Araya.
Speaking of music docs, Neon’s David Bowie opus by Brett Morgen, moon time daydream, expands to 733 screens this week after a grand opening. Sony Pictures Classics just announced that Hallelujah: Leonard Cohen, A Journey, A Song as of July has surpassed $1 million at the domestic box office for a total of over $1.2 million worldwide.
This weekend: Blue Fox Entertainment railway children, inspired by the early 1970s family film, opens on over 900 screens. Morgan Matthews directed and Danny Brocklehurst wrote the screenplay, based on a treatment by Jemma Rodgers. Stars Jenny Agutter, Sheridan Smith and Tom Courtenay. Three evacuated children are sent to a Yorkshire village in 1944 as life in British cities becomes increasingly dangerous during the Second World War. Settling into country life, they are thrown on a dangerous quest when they discover an injured American soldier hiding in the railroad yard.
Quiver Distribution presented bandit on 100 screens. Directed by Allan Ungar and written by Kraig Wenman. Josh Duhamel stars as a charming career criminal who escapes from a US prison in Michigan and crosses the border into Canada, where he assumes the identity of a certain Robert Whiteman. After falling in love with Andrea (Elisha Cuthbert), a caring social worker he can’t take care of, he turns to bank robbing and discovers he’s exceptionally good at it. Addicted to the hustle and bustle of his double life, Robert turns to loan shark and notorious gangster Tommy Kay (Mel Gibson) for bigger opportunities. But a ruthless detective (Nestor Carbonell) will stop at nothing to bring him down.
Fresh from TIFF, Apple opens Peter Farrelley’s The biggest beer run of all time on three screens in LA, NYC and Dallas, expanding next week. Starring Zac Efron, Bill Murray, Russell Crowe. Appointment overview here. In Farrelly’s first film in 2018 green book, Efron plays Chickie Donohue, who tries to support his neighborhood friends serving in Vietnam by doing something outrageous – traveling alone to the front lines to bring the soldiers a little piece of home, their favorite can of American beer. Along the way he confronts the reality of war, reconnects with childhood friends and is thrust into the complexities and responsibilities of adulthood. Based on a true story. Written by Farrelley, Brian Hayes Currie, Pete Jones.
(Considering Netflix’ Blond expands to over 50 theaters in over 25 cities across the US and Canada, including Paris, Quad, Nitehawk Prospect Park and the Cinema Arts Center in NY; the Bay, Landmark Nuart, Los Feliz and Laemmle Monica in LA; and the TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. The streamer’s A jazzman’s blues by Tyler Perry will be continued in around 10 theaters in seven cities, including the Landmark Westwood and the Bay in LA.)
documentaries: Abigail Disney and her Fork Films are out The American Dream and Other Fairy Tales on a dozen screens. The documentary, which had its world premiere at Sundance, looks at America’s dysfunctional and unequal economy and asks why the American dream has worked for the rich but is a nightmare for those born less. An often vocal critic of the company her grandfather, Roy Disney, founded with his brother Walt—her great-uncle—she uses her family’s history to examine systemic injustice. Disney directed with Kathleen Hughes.
Greenwich Entertainment presents Buried: The alpine meadow avalanche of 1982 across eight screens in the Bay Area, Reno and Tahoe — markets closest to the ski area where the third largest avalanche in US history occurred at Alpine Meadows Ski Resort in Lake Tahoe. It sparked a desperate five-day search for eight missing people. The film by Jared Drake and Steven Siig tells of the avalanche, the miraculous rescue attempts and the trauma that still haunts the survivors today. Will expand to 50 runs next week, primarily in top mountain markets including Boise, Salt Lake City and Boulder.
Soilsiú Films presents The young Plato by Neasa Ni Chianain and Declan McGrath (school of Life) in NYC (Angelika Film Center) and Boston (Dedham Community Theater) with a regional expansion next week including DC, Dallas, San Diego, Sacramento, Plano, TX and Fairfax, VA. Follows the dream of Elvis-loving principal Kevin McArevey, an outsider determined to change the fortunes of an inner-city community plagued by urban decay, sectarian aggression, poverty and drugs. His boys-only primary school in post-conflict Belfast, Northern Ireland, becomes a hot house where violence is questioned as the headmaster sends his young charges home each day with the wisdom of ancient Greek philosophers. The boys are calling on their parents and neighbors to abandon the prejudices that have kept this low-level civil war simmering for decades.
Elsewhere in the specialty: Screen Media presents Richard Hughes The executor with Antonio Banderas at ten locations. Also starring Kate Bosworth, Mojean Aria, Zolee Griggs and Alexis Ren with 2 Chainz. Banderas is Miami’s top mob enforcer, sacrificing everything to take down the criminal organization he’s spent his life building after discovering his boss (Bosworth) is putting a young runaway’s life in grave danger.
Good Deed Entertainment Presents carmen by Valerie Buhagiar on five screens (NYC Cinema Village, LA Laemmle Monica, Chicago, Detroit, San Francisco and Columbus). Starring: Natasha McElhone, Michaela Farrugia, Steven Love. In a sun-kissed village in Malta in the 1980s, McElhone, a 50-year-old woman, finds romance and a new start in life after years of bondage. In Malta, it is traditional for a younger sister to devote her life to the Church when an older brother enters the priesthood. Inspired by true events.
AMC+ and RLJE Films available section 8 on five screens and AMC+. By Christian Sesma, starring Ryan Kwanten, Dolph Lundgren, Dermot Mulroney, Scott Adkins and Mickey Rourke. After avenging the murder of his wife and child, a former soldier is sentenced to life imprisonment. He’s been given a shot at freedom when a shadow government agency recruits him for an off-the-books assignment, but soon realizes Section 8 isn’t what it seems.
Lionsgate and Saban Films present DIG in 10 theaters including NY and LA. with Thomas Jane, Harlow Jane, Emil Hirsch and Liana Liberato. Steve Brennan (Jane) tries to piece together a life shattered by a traffic incident that killed his wife and left his teenage daughter Jane (Harlow) deaf and upset. Directed by K. Asher Levin.