Kevin Smith fans will get their first crack at his latest film, Yoga Hosers, at select locations around the country Labor Day weekend. The film features both Smith’s and Johnny Depp’s daughters at the center of the comedy-thriller. Jerry Lewis takes the spotlight in Max Rose, opening Friday via Paladin, the first feature starring role for the 90-year-old in two decades. The film opens the holiday weekend which for years was known for the telethon that bared his name. FIP is opening Indian-produced female-action title Naam Hai Akira in over 70locations, a pioneering genre for the subcontinent’s movie biz, while Drafthouse Films will launch zany Danish comedy, Klown Forever in a day-and-date rollout.
Also headed to theaters in limited release is Screen Media’s Zoom starring Gael García Bernal, Alison Pill and Jason Priestly as well as Lionsgate’s No Manches Frida and FilmRise’s White Girl.
Director-writer: Kevin Smith
Cast: Lily-Rose Depp, Harley Quinn Smith, Johnny Depp, Natasha Lyonne, Kevin Smith, Haley Joel Osment, Austin Butler, Adam Brody, Justin Long
Distributor: Invincible Pictures
Following a nine-city tour including July’s Comic Con, Kevin Smith’s latest, Yoga Hosers, is headed for its theatrical release Friday. Released via Invincible Pictures, which partially financed the project, it had initially been slated to open a month prior, but changed to Labor Day weekend to avoid the mid-summer log-jam. Yoga Hosers is the second title in Smith’s “True North Trilogy,” which includes Tusk (2014) and the final being Moose Jaws.
Yoga Hosers follows 15-year-olds Colleen Collette and Colleen McKenzie, the two previously unnamed Manitoban convenience store clerks from Tusk. When an ancient evil rises from beneath Canada’s crust and threatens their big invitation to a Grade 12 party, the pair join forces with Guy Lapointe, the manhunter from Tusk, to fight back.
“Initially we were approached by StarStream Entertainment with the script,” said Invincible’s Thomas Ashley, who is also an executive producer on the feature. “We’ve always been fans of Kevin Smith, and we put up 25 percent of the equity in late 2014. We knew that Lily-Rose Depp and Harley Quinn Smith were involved and that Johnny Depp was attached.”
More cast was added in addition to financing, though a holding pattern took place before production started due to talent availability. The shoot took place in L.A. over a month. XYZ handled foreign sales, while WME took domestic.
“Even though we are the distributors of the film we were ideally looking to sell it to a bigger studio, but they had a hard time getting their heads around the audience,” said Ashley. “This has teen leads in a wacky scenario written for a female teen audience. We had a number of offers, but we figured we weren’t getting the kind of deal we wanted with the P&A spend along with the theatrical commitment. So we were prepared to do it ourselves.”
Smith toured in nine cities beginning in early June in New Orleans through early August ending in Red Bank, NJ. With the exception of one location, the title screened only once per city. Ashley noted that every screening of the feature was “sold out,” and ticket sales from the tour totaled $300K.
“Initially we had picked late July [for the theatrical release], but there were a lot of big films coming out, so we thought it was getting crowded,” said Ashley. “We were doing well with the tour, so we wanted to keep that momentum, so we decided to wait until [Labor Day weekend].”
Yoga Hosers had an event with Fathom Tuesday evening ahead of its roll out in 175 locations Friday. It will expand based on performance. The title will be available via Invincible’s FlixFling streaming service in early fall, followed by traditional on-demand platforms.
Director-writer: Daniel Noah
Cast: Jerry Lewis, Kerry Bishé, Dean Stockwell, Kevin Pollak, Illeana Douglas
After a preliminary cut of Daniel Noah’s drama Max Rose debuted at the 2013 Cannes Film Festival, the title, starring Jerry Lewis, is finally beginning its U.S. theatrical run Labor Day weekend, a holiday that had been synonymous with the Jerry Lewis telethon for years. The film also marks the first starring role for Lewis, now 90, in over two decades.
In the film, Lewis plays a retired jazz musician whose beloved wife of nearly six decades has just passed away. Though his career wasn’t everything he hoped for, Max always felt like a success because his beautiful, elegant Eva was by his side. Then, while going through her effects, he discovers a love note from another man, a shocking revelation that leads him to believe his entire marriage, indeed, his entire life, was built on a lie. Following a period of anger and withdrawal, Max decides to confront the man who “stole” his wife in the hope that what he learns will provide the answers he so desperately needs.
“[Paladin] got involved earlier this year….Jerry Lewis is someone I’ve grown up watching,” said Paladin head Mark Urman. “I had heard the film existed, but when I did see it, I was taken by its sincerity and effectiveness as entertainment. It’s a film about an older man actually played by a man of an older age. He’s in fine form physically, and his nuanced performance is touching and skilled.”
Max Rose had its U.S. premiere in March, timed to Lewis’ 90th birthday, at the Museum of Modern Art in New York, which hosted a “mini-retrospective” of Lewis’ films. The company eyed Labor Day weekend for the title given Lewis’ 40 year-role as the face of the Jerry Lewis Telethon in aid of the Muscular Dystrophy Association.
“[The telethon] on Labor Day weekend was a part of my childhood and adolescence,” said Urman. “Jerry Lewis would own Labor Day. He was inexhaustible…, so we thought it was resonant to do Max Rose on Labor Day. We also wanted to be at the top of the fourth quarter before the flood of performance films [are in full swing].”
Paladin will open Max Rose Friday exclusively in New York City ahead of a roll-out in Los Angeles September 9 along with suburban locations in New York. On September 16, the title will head to other major markets around the country. “We’re booked on 65 screens,” said Urman. “There’s not a huge audience that’s 90 years old, but there’s certainly a senior audience that has been responsible for finding unlikely successes…It’s very gratifying and is a testament that Jerry is a legend. There are very few people who reaches his rank.”
Urman added that Lewis has been active doing a round of major press from L.A. in the lead-up to the film’s release both in print and for television. Added Urman: “It’s of a caliber he frankly deserves. He worked like a soldier last week.”
Naam Hai Akira
Director-writer: A.R. Murugadoss
Cast: Sonakshi Sinha, Konkona Sen Sharma, Amit Sadh
FIP became involved with Naam Hai Akira at the start of the project. The Indian-focused distributor had been working with filmmaker A. R Murgadoss on Tamil films when he pitched the idea of a female-driven action thriller. “This genre of film has not been tried in the last few years and hence we agreed to go ahead with the film,” commented Rohit Sharma, Head of International Sales & Distribution Sales at Fox Star Studios India. “The director has delivered two Hindi language action blockbusters in the past few years, Ghajini and Holiday. He now returns with actress Sonakshi Sinha in this action film. He has a hit film track record so far and that was another reason to do the project.”
The title centers on a college girl Akira (Sonakshi Sinha) who has grown up with the ideals of being self reliant. Her life spirals out of control when she becomes unwittingly involved in a crime involving four corrupt police officers and she takes them on single-handedly in a bid to prove her innocence.
“In our current slate of romance and drama genre of films, this was a good fit,” added Sharma. “The film also talks about woman empowerment and social issues in India.” FIP is targeting its core group of Indian diaspora as well as Bollywood fans of Bangladeshi and Indian background. Sharma noted that “female-driven action films in the genre of Kill Bill” are rare for Indian audiences, so in that sense, Naam Hai Akira is a trailblazer.
Added Sharma: “We are using the Indian pay TV channels for the marketing of the film as well as local Indian cable channels in addition to social media platforms, print and radio channels for creating awareness and visibility.”
Naam Hai Akira will open simultaneously across 35 countries Friday. In the United States, the title will bow in 71 locations.
Director: Mikkel Nørgaard
Writers: Casper Christensen, Frank Hvam
Cast: Casper Christensen, Frank Hvam, Mia Lyhne, Simone Colling, Lars Hjortshøj
Distributor: Drafthouse Films
Following up on its July 2012 release of Danish-produced Klown, Drafthouse Films is reuniting with Nordisk Film director Mikkel Nørgaard and comedy duo Casper Christiansen and Frank Hvam for Klown Forever this weekend.
Based on a long-running Danish TV sitcom, Klown follows the misadventures of best friends Casper and Frank as they bumble through a number of poorly laid plans and disastrous social situations. In the first installment, the pair were riding the fallout of an ill-fated excursion to a riverside brothel. Klown Forever picks up five years later, with their strained friendship at risk when Casper relocates to Hollywood. In a last-ditch attempt to salvage his relationship with his best friend, and escape an increasingly humdrum domestic life, Frank follows Casper, and their predictably unpredictable brand of chaos ensues.
Klown (2010) grossed over $12.4 million worldwide, though its theatrical take stateside was only $70K. Klown, however, like this weekend’s Klown Forever, had a day and date release. Additionally, the Austin-based company released the entire television series in 2012.
“We were profitable with the original Klown stateside, and both Klown and Klown Forever were blockbuster hits in Denmark, and together, they are one of the top comedy series releases ever over there,” noted Drafthouse VP marketing and distribution Sumyi Antonsson. “In addition to fans of the original Klown, we’re expanding our targeting to a larger comedy audience. The film is filled with twisted, provocative humor which we’re embracing, especially with our trailer and other marketing materials we’re seeding out.”
In addition to on-demand platforms, Klown Forever will head to 9 markets including New York and Los Angeles, and will continue to expand to over 20 markets throughout the month.