Our weekly column on independent films returns with a look at what’s opening this week, what happened at the indie box office last weekend, new distribution deals, and a crackling trailer.
Opening This Week
An amiable comedy, Killing Bono follows two brothers from Dublin, Ireland, who aspired to musical stardom. As it happens, they attended high school with the fellows who became U2, meaning they would forever live in the shadow of their friends. Based on a true story, Killing Bono charts the struggles of the two brothers, played by Ben Barnes and Robert Sheehan (pictured above) with charming acuity, as they travel through the '80s music scene. It’s a joyful trip, even with the inevitable attendant heartbreak, and well-directed by Nick Hamm. The film is currently available via various Video On Demand (VOD) platforms, and opens on Friday in New York before expanding to Los Angeles next week.
The Other F Word asks, What happens when punk rockers become fathers? Featuring a slew of new interviews with currently-working musicians, the film’s biggest revelation is that punk rock fathers are just like most other parents, especially those who must travel extensively for their work. With survival even more dependent on touring, punk rock fathers must balance sometimes-conflicting desires in order to continue making music, provide for their families, and spend time with their children. If it’s not especially surprisingly, the doc is diverting and colorful. The Other F Word opens today in New York and on Friday in Los Angeles, before rolling out to other cities in the coming weeks.
Dragonslayer is a documentary centering on Josh “Skreech” Sandoval, described as “a 23-year-old skate legend from the stagnant suburbs of Fullerton, California.” The film has received very positive reviews since its debut at SXSW and will open on Friday in New York before moving on to other cities.
Director Dito Montiel made a splash with A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints, and he returns to that milieu in The Son of No One, which opens in limited release across the country on Friday. Channing Tatum stars as a detective investigating a double-homicide cold case in his own neighborhood. Al Pacino, Juliette Binoche, Tracy Morgan, and Ray Liotta also star.
Indie Box Office Analysis
Romantic drama Like Crazy easily topped the indie charts, scoring an impressive debut weekend. Opening on four screens, the film earned an estimated average of $30,785. (All figures per Box Office Mojo.) The film, starring Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones as a couple who must deal with the challenges of a long-distance relationship, will expand this weekend across the country.
It’s well-positioned against wide releases Tower Heist and A Very Harold and Kumar 3D Christmas, which both feature comedic hijinks, but Like Crazy must rely on generally positive critical notices and word of mouth if it hopes to make a mark. Yelchin gained notice as a supporting player in 2009‘s Star Trek and Terminator Salvation, and was ready to build on that with a lead role in this summer’s Fright Night, but that movie never took off. Like Crazy may be too intimate a movie to break out big, yet it could prove to have legs with younger audiences against this season’s stuffier awards fare, which usually skews older.
Art house darling Pedro Almodóvar is finding good success with his latest film, The Skin I Live In. The film added 10 screens last weekend and earned an estimated average of $5,829 at 31 locations; the cumulative domestic gross so far is $833,833. No doubt the presence of Antonio Banderas in a leading role has buoyed the box office, and it may be that the film’s edginess -- Banderas plays a plastic surgeon who has created a new type of synthetic skin and experiments on a beautiful woman -- has drawn audiences who might not have otherwise sampled one of Almodóvar’s films in the past. Advance word indicates that The Skin I Live In is more “lively,” for want of a better descriptor, than his recent films, which have been more somber than his earlier work, and so that too may have tempted his older fans to return.
Financial drama Margin Call more than doubled its theater count last weekend, expanding from 56 screens onto 140, and enjoyed an uptick in business, averaging $5,152 per screen. The film has already grossed nearly $1.5 million. While reviews have been mixed, the topic is certainly timely, and has proven to be more attractive than repellant to audiences. The all-star supporting cast, including Kevin Spacey, Jeremy Irons, Stanley Tucci, Paul Bettany, and Demi Moore, definitely helps, as does the current buzz around star/producer Zachary Quinto.
Coming Soon / New Distribution Deals
Death of a Superhero. Drama about a teen artist and the imaginary world he creates, starring Andy Serkis, Thomas Brodie-Sangster, Jessica Schwarz, and Aisling Loftus; directed by Ian FitzGibbon. Acquired by Tribeca Film, which plans to release the film in theaters and via various VOD platforms next year. (Reuters)
Nuit #1. Intimate drama examines a one-night stand, with ?Catherine De Léan and Dimitri Storoge; directed by ?Anne Émond. Acquired by Adopt Films, which has scheduled an opening in late July 2012. (indieWIRE)
Edwin Boyd. Action drama revolving around a bank robbery, starring Scott Speedman, Kelly Reilly, Kevin Durand, and Brian Cox; directed by Nathan Morlando. Acquired by IFC Films. No specific release plans have been announced. (Deadline)
Trailer of the Week
Dennis Farina stars in The Last Rites of Joe May. He plays a man who has survived a long battle with pneumonia; finally leaving the hospital, he confronts the wreckage of his life. He’s always been a small-time hustler; he thought he knew all the angles.
But when he tries to return home, he discovers that his car has disappeared, all his possessions have been sold, and his apartment has been rented out to a a young mother and her 8-year-old daughter. With no other options available, he moves in with them until he can get back on his feet.
The movie, set in Chicago, had its world premiere at the Tribeca Film Festival this spring and recently opened the Chicago International Film Festival. It’s now available via various VOD platforms, and opens theatrically in New York on Friday.
Farina is always a pleasure to watch, especially when he takes on a role that reflects his street-smart savvy. Take a look at the trailer below for a little taste of its independent charms.