UPDATED, April 21, 4:25 PM: A24 today said it has moved the U.S. release of its Sundance head-scratcher Swiss Army Man back by a week. The fantastical film starring Paul Dano and Daniel Radcliffe now will open June 24 in Los Angeles and New York, with a national rollout set for July 1.
PREVIOUSLY, April 5: A24 acquired domestic rights to polarizing Sundance pic Swiss Army Man after the festival premiere in January. Such is its confidence in Daniel Radcliffe’s flatulent, rotting corpse, that it’s now going to bring the movie to the world, also taking global rights and partnering with distributors and platforms to market and release overseas. I hear that deals in some majors markets are already closed and more are forthcoming. The initiative to take foreign on the film, which is a first for the company, follows the hiring of Head of International Sasha Lloyd in January.
The North American release is set for June 17 in New York and Los Angeles, with a nationwide expansion to follow July 1 that currently makes it the only R-rated comedy on July 4 weekend. Radcliffe (hopefully armed with a bottle of Pepto-Bismol) is expected to travel with the film for the offshore rollout.
Swiss Army Man, which also stars a more alive Paul Dano, was written and helmed by The Daniels (aka Daniel Kwan & Daniel Scheinert). They scooped the directing prize in Park City in January. The story follows what happens when Hank (Dano), a young man stranded on a deserted island, meets Manny (Radcliffe), a corpse that washes up on shore one day. The two become fast friends and take an epic journey together that eventually leads Hank back to the woman of his dreams. Mary Elizabeth Winstead co-stars.
The film sparked walk-outs and head-scratching in Park City, but the quirks and the buzz clearly have folks interested. Yesterday’s trailer release generated three times more views in under 12 hours than similarly millennial A24 films Spring Breakers and The Witch. Spring Breakers, which premiered in Venice in 2012, went on to cult success overseas with $17.6M. The Witch is currently in release in 12 markets via Universal and grossed $6M through Sunday with 13 more releases planned.
In a statement, A24 said, “In our short history, we have seen great success from releasing bold, original films that have distinct and cut-through storytelling and talented young cast who connect with their audience. The Daniels are visionaries and have created one of the most original, funny and heartfelt movies we’ve seen in a long time. It’s exactly what smart younger audiences around the world want.”
A24 has shown itself a savvy player in its nearly four years. Films it acquired won three Oscars at the 2016 Academy Awards: Best Actress for Brie Larson’s performance in Room; Best Documentary for Amy; and Best Visual Effects for Ex Machina. Upcoming titles include Jeremy Saulnier’s Green Room; and Andrea Arnold’s potential Cannes entry American Honey.