SXSW isn’t a sales-dominant fest, but two years ago Universal’s Bridesmaids debut here paid off when the Kristen Wiig pic became a $288 million global box office hit. Now studios with spring openers and genre fare are hoping SXSW can be a similar launching pad for strong word of mouth. Here are the mainstream pics hoping to squeeze hot buzz out of SXSW:
The Incredible Burt Wonderstone (Warner Bros.):
Director: Don Scardino, Story by Chad Kultgen & Tyler Mitchell and Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley. Screenplay by Jonathan Goldstein & John Francis Daley. Cast: Steve Carell, Jim Carrey, Olivia Wilde, Steve Buscemi. Warner Bros opens the Steve Carell – Jim Carrey magician comedy nationwide next week but the mixed critical reaction after its SXSW opening night premiere won’t help.
Evil Dead (Screen Gems):
Director/Screenwriter: Fede Alvarez, Screenwriter: Rodo Sayagues. Cast: Jane Levy, Shiloh Fernandez, Lou Taylor Pucci, Jessica Lucas, Elizabeth Blackmore. Producer Sam Raimi’s fingerprints have been all over this quasi-remake, which was the hottest ticket in town on Day One. Raimi didn’t make the trip to Austin to stump for Evil Dead with director Fede Alvarez and fellow producer Bruce Campbell — he was busy opening Disney’s Oz: The Great And Powerful — but the gory R-rated remake made an impression on the late night genre crowd.
Related: Joss Whedon Q&A On Eve Of SXSW
Much Ado About Nothing (Lionsgate-Roadside Attractions):
Director: Joss Whedon. Cast: Amy Acker, Alexis Denisof, Nathan Fillion, Fran Kranz, Jillian Morgese. Whedon tackles Shakespeare’s classic with a modern day noir-comedy retelling that he shot as “relaxation” while making The Avengers. Mainstream awareness prior to SXSW has been relatively low, however. Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions will need all the buzz they can get out of their Austin debut and Whedon’s presence.
Spring Breakers (A24):
Director-Screenwriter: Harmony Korine. Cast: James Franco, Selena Gomez, Vanessa Hudgens, Ashley Benson, Rachel Korine, Gucci Mane. Four co-eds rob a fast food joint to finance their dream spring break, only to be swept away in the dangerous lifestyle of a Florida rapper-thug. A24 and Annapurna Films open Harmony Korine’s brightly provocative thriller in NY/LA a week after its SXSW debut.
Director: Joseph Kosinski. Writers: Joseph Kosinski, Karl Gajdusek, Michael Arndt. Cast: Tom Cruise. Technically Universal’s sci-fi Tom Cruise starrer about a soldier court-martialed to a distant planet isn’t an official SXSW film. But the studio is jumping ahead of the pack in using SXSW as a major marketing opportunity, pairing with VICE Magazine to host an Oblivion-branded space during prime days when the plugged in technorati are wandering the fest. This is a sure sign of developments to come for the expanding SXSW Film and Interactive conferences – A&E and WB have similarly come to town to promote TV properties to buzz-builders on the ground.