Four new Specialty films arrive at the box office with Valentine’s Day fast approaching, and each has its own view of amour. Alex Ross Perry’s Golden Exits starring Emily Browning, Adam Horovitz and Jason Schwartzman examines jealousy. Pantelion’s La Boda de Valentina is a rom-com, set to bow in three hundred theaters in the U.S. Friday in a day and date release with Mexico. India’s Pad Man is a decidedly unique story of love centered on a man motivated to help his wife and in turn creates a revolution. And Good Deed Entertainment is opening Brian Crano’s Permission with Rebecca Hall, styled as an ‘anti-Valentine’s’ romance.
Director-writer: Alex Ross Perry
Cast: Emily Browning, Adam Horovitz, Chloë Sevigny, Mary-Louise Parker, Jason Schwartzman, Analeigh Tipton, Lily Rabe
Distributor: Vertical Entertainment
Following his previous Queen of Earth, director Alex Ross Perry was to do a comparatively bigger project in terms of budget before turning his sights to Golden Exits. While spending time on the earlier project, he met with various actors, including many who ended up in this film that ultimately became his follow-up to Queen of Earth.
“The actors were meeting me about this $3-5M movie, but then I wrote to them [later] and said that I had liked our meetings,” said Perry. “I said that that movie [we had originally met about] wasn’t happening but told them that we could collaborate on another film. [Golden Exits] shot in April, which was the same timing as the other [project].”
Alex Ross Perry’s fifth feature unfolds among a loosely-connected group of professional, domesticated Brooklynites when a young, pretty, available outsider lands in their midst. Adam Horovitz plays an archivist whose new, young assistant Naomi (Emily Browning) provokes jealousy from his therapist wife and suspicion from her jaded sister Gwen. Meanwhile, Naomi’s casual meetings with Buddy (Jason Schwartzman) test his fidelity to his wife Jess (Analeigh Tipton). Jess’ sister and confidante is also the long-suffering personal assistant to Gwen.
Joe Swanberg, who served on some of Perry’s previous projects including Queen of Earth, planted an idea in Perry’s mind about making a film in his Brooklyn neighborhood that had a smaller budget than his 2014 film, Listen Up Philip, but “feels big.”
“At Sundance in 2016, I was telling producers and investors that this script would be coming to them immediately,” said Perry. “I could bang my head against a wall about why [my next film] wasn’t bigger, or I could take that energy and feel it’s not going either forward or backward. It’s still a progression.”
The filmmaking team, including producer Joshua Blum, tapped a group of people Perry has worked with previously. Said Perry: “If you don’t overreach then it’s OK to [circle back] with them on other films. I feel comfortable doing that with some investors.”
Golden Exits shot over 15 days between April and May 2016 in Brooklyn, including the Prospect Heights and Cobble Hill neighborhoods. Perry gathered most of the same crew he had been working with on his previous three projects. “There was no learning curve,” said Perry.
After the shoot, Perry let the film sit a bit while turning to another writing project, then picked it up at various points in the summer before engaging in a more concentrated edit in September. Added Perry: “It was nice to put it down and step away and come back with new eyes.”
Golden Exits opened at the 2017 Sundance Film Festival, followed by Berlin in February and later, a string of international and domestic festivals including San Francisco International Film Festival, BAMcinemaFest, and Denver International Film Festival.
Golden Exits will open exclusively at Metrograph in New York Friday, followed by the Laemmle Monica Film Center in Santa Monica along with locations in Dallas, Scottsdale, Tampa Sterling Heights, MI and Bensalem, PA.
La Boda de Valentina
Director: Marco Polo Constandse
Writers: Beto Gómez, Santiago Limón, Issa López
Cast: Omar Chaparro, Marimar Vega, Ryan Carnes, Kate Vernon, Jesús Zavala, Tony Dalton
Romantic-comedy La Boda de Valentina is a project of Mexico’s Videocine, which is a partner in U.S. based distributor, Pantelion. The Spanish and English-language feature, which has been under development for a few years, came to Pantelion through Videocine and will be released this weekend in both the U.S. and Mexico.
The film centers on Valentina who seems to have the perfect life in New York, with a perfect job and a perfect boyfriend, Jason Tate — far away from her scandalous political family in Mexico. When Jason proposes to her and wants to meet the family, her two worlds clash. Adding to the hilarious chaos, her family brings her ex, Angel, into the picture and convinces Valentina to go along with a sham marriage to him in an effort to stop further negative press as her father runs for re-election. In the end, Valentina must choose where her heart belongs.
“On the marketing side, we’re using Mexican publicity, the premiere there and junkets to leverage our efforts here,” said Pantelion’s Edward Allen. “We did send some influencers down to Mexico to cover [the feature] and we brought [some] talent to the U.S. to be interviewed and discuss the movie a couple weeks ago.”
La Boda de Valentina is the second film Pantelion has released day and date with Mexico — the first being 2015 comedy A La Mala, which also opened in February of that year. A La Mala grossed $3.6M stateside.
“On that [movie] we didn’t do as much [on the marketing side] as what Mexico did,” said Allen. “We split the talent, but with La Boda de Valentina, we’re really using the assets being created in Mexico. [We had] Univision and Telemundo go down to Mexico.”
La Boda de Valentina is a more bilingual feature compared to A La Mala, since one member of the love triangle speaks primarily English. Still, the company is targeting its top Hispanic markets in the U.S., specifically a female audience that, according to Allen, “enjoys Spanish-language films and identify with a bicultural sensibility.”
Pantelion, which will likely release a half-dozen titles this year, plans to open La Boda de Valentina in 330 theaters in the U.S. Friday. Expansion will depend on performance.
Director-writer: R. Balki
Cast: Akshay Kumar, Sonam Kapoor, Radhika Apte
Distributor: Sony Pictures Releasing International
The script for Bollywood’s Pad Man is adapted from the real life story of Arunachalam Muruganantham, who is responsible for the menstrual hygiene revolution in India. Muruganantham’s story is also about love, according to Vivek Krishnani, Managing Director, Sony Pictures Entertainment, India.
“It was hard to not feel inspired and overawed by the story of a man who brought such massive social change in India by inventing a low cost sanitary pad making machine, because he was driven by his love for his wife…,” commented Vivek Krishnani, Managing Director, Sony Pictures Entertainment, India. “Incidentally, the film is the first such collaboration between actor Akshay Kumar and director R. Balki and we are glad it happened with us.”
The feature is set in rural India, where a determined inventor upsets his family and invites talk of scandal when he tries to develop and market a low-cost sanitary pad with the goal of improving feminine hygiene and erasing the stigma around menstruation.
R. Balki adapted the story over two months after meeting Arunachalam Muruganantham. Commented the filmmaker: “I was bowled over by this man.” Sony Pictures Entertainment, India partnered with KriArj Entertainment, Mrs. Funnybones Movies, Cape of Good Films and Hope Productions to produce Pad Man.
“I told Akshay that I wanted him to star as ‘Pad Man,’” said Balki. “Akshay is one of the rare film actors and superstars who still has a lot of simplicity about him. He has a very self-effacing character and incidentally on both these counts Arunachalam and Akshay are very similar.”
Filming took place in the temple town of Maheshwar in the Indian state of Madhya Pradesh as well as in Delhi followed by New York over 49 days.
Pad Man will open day and date with India. Stateside, it will bow in 150 locations targeting the Indian diaspora audience in targeted markets.
Director-writer: Brian Crano
Cast: Rebecca Hall, Dan Stevens, Gina Gershon, Francois Arnaud, David Joseph Craig, Morgan Spector, Jason Sudeikis
Distributor: Good Deed Entertainment
Distributor Good Deed Entertainment caught romantic-comedy/drama Permission starring Rebecca Hall and Dan Stevens at last year’s Tribeca Film Festival, which the company will open in a day and date release this weekend.
Permission centers on Anna and Will, who were each other’s first every-things: first kiss, first love, first and only relationship. Now, 10 years in, at Anna’s 30th birthday party, as Will is about to propose, the couple’s best friend makes a drunken toast, suggesting that they should sleep around before their inevitable marriage. The joke lands like a lead balloon, but the thought lingers until Anna proposes that they try opening their relationship – as a sexual experiment. Together, they venture out of the purely monogamous boundaries of their relationship and, along the way, evolve.
Good Deed is styling Permission as an antithesis of next week’s holiday devoted to romance. “It’s an edgy, hip, cool, anti-Valentine’s Day film,” said Good Deed Entertainment’s Kristin Harris. “[We’re targeting] an educated coastal audience, but it plays predominantly to females, 25-plus. It also plays to people who have been in a long-term relationship and can relate to that experience. It’s an anti-rom-com to enjoy this [time of the year].”
In the lead-up to this weekend’s roll-out, Good Deed is doing a series of one-off screenings around the country in addition to taped Q&As in conjunction with the New York Film Critics Series.
“It deals with issues in a grounded way,” added Harris. “It’s rare to see a film where the female lead is smart. She has ownership of her decisions and her sexuality. She ultimately decides what her life may be outside her relationship as a means to understand herself.”
Along with being available on-demand, Good Deed Entertainment will open Permission in theaters in 10 markets including Los Angeles at Sunset 5 and in New York at Village East. Rebecca Hall will take part in select Q&As on Saturday in New York.