Fox Searchlight is ready to put another stake in the ground for this year’s awards-season race with the theatrical release of Terrence Malick’s starring August Diehl and Valerie Pachner. The release marks a reunion between the Fox Searchlight and Malick after 2011’s Tree of Life starring Brad Pitt and Jessica Chastain, which garnered three Oscar nominations.
“We are thrilled to reunite with Terrence and his team, plus new craftspeople we didn’t yet work with on Tree of Life,” said Frank Rodriguez, SVP General Sales Manager, Fox Searchlight Pictures. “It has been a long and fruitful relationship. It has been wonderful to work with August Diehl and Valerie Pachner as well.”
Based on true events, A Hidden Life tells the story of the modest hero Franz Jägerstätter (Diehl), an Austrian farmer-turned-World War II conscientious objector who refused to fight for the Nazis. Pachner stars as his wife, and the film also features the late Bruno Ganz and Michael Nyqvist.
The film made its world premiere at the Cannes Film Festival and had an extensive festival run including Telluride, Toronto and AFI Fest among others. There were also word-of-mouth Jewish film festival screenings in nine markets and faith-based screenings in 11 markets. And in a rare occurrence, the film held a private screening for Vatican officials, Vatican press and global faith-based press in the Vatican Film Library event space with Malick in attendance.
Rodriguez said the run of film festivals and word-of-mouth screenings have proven a success, giving the film some awards-season ammunition.
If A Hidden Life follows the same path as Tree of Life, it will certainly be a noteworthy contender. Tree of Life grossed more than $54 million worldwide and $13.3 domestic, becoming the second most lucrative film at the box office for Malick after A Thin Red Line. It won the Palme d’Or at Cannes and nabbed Oscar noms for Best Picture, Director and Cinematography. Along with Jojo Rabbit, Fox Searchlight came to play this awards season.
A Hidden Life is set to open this weekend at the Angelika, Landmark 57, and Cinema 1 in New York, as well as Arclight Hollywood and Landmark West L.A. in Los Angeles. On December 20, it will expand to more theaters in L.A. and New York as well as 46 new markets including Atlanta, Charlotte, Cleveland, Providence, Houston, Minneapolis, Baltimore, Denver, Nashville, Indianapolis, Milwaukee, Scottsdale, Philadelphia, Cincinnati and Sacramento among others. to name a few. Rodriguez said it should get to around 100-125 theaters across the U.S. and Canada next week.
“We may add a few runs between the 25th and 27th of December, but our next big push will be for January 3 and 10 when we will add most of the smaller- and medium-sized markets,” he added. “On the 17th we will add all remaining — mostly smaller art houses — cities across North America.”
Adam Sandler has been getting his fair share of buzz in Josh Safdie and Benny Safdie’s Uncut Gems. The crime thriller made its debut at Telluride and the Toronto Film Festival to quite an ovation, and it currently sits at a noteworthy 92% on Rotten Tomatoes.
The A24 film, written by the Safdies and Ronald Bronstein, follows jeweler Howard Ratner (Sandler), who makes a series of high-stakes bets that could lead to the windfall of a lifetime. As a result, he must perform a high-wire act, balancing business, family and encroaching adversaries on all sides in his relentless pursuit of the ultimate win. As you can tell from the first trailer from the film, everything doesn’t go as he hoped. Uncut Gems also stars Lakeith Stanfield, Julia Fox, Kevin Garnett, Idina Menzel, Eric Bogosian and Judd Hirsch. Scott Rudin, Eli Bush and Sebastian Bear-McClard serve as producers.
The buzz was alive and well during the film’s festival run and will more than likely translate to the masses as there is an appeal to see Sandler play an unexpected role like Howard Ratner. The Saturday Night Live alum is known for his comedy but has proven his chops in more drama-leaning movies including Punch Drunk Love, Spanglish, Reign Over Me and more recently Noah Baumbach’s The Meyerowitz Stories, which was in the Cannes main competition section in 2017. His box office draw for his comedies have certainly been successful, and his more dramatic roles have done fairly well including Punch Drunk Love, which made a worldwide gross of over $24 million. Spanglish and Reign Over Me made over $55 million and $22 million, respectively.
Uncut Gems is set to open in five theaters in New York and Los Angeles today before expanding nationwide December 25.
Director Benedict Andrews paints a portrait of French New Wave icon Jean Seberg in the Amazon Studios political thriller Seberg, which will have its limited qualifying run this weekend before dropping February 21 on Amazon.
The film was inspired by true events and stars Kristen Stewart as the titular Breathless star. It made its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival before going on to Toronto and numerous festivals. Seberg spent half her life in France and in the late ’60s she was targeted by Hoover’s illegal FBI surveillance program COINTELPRO. Because of her political and romantic involvement with civil rights activist Hakim Jamal (Anthony Mackie), she was also a target of the FBI’s attempts to disrupt, discredit and expose the Black Power movement. Seberg died at the age of 40 in which some deemed as a probable suicide.
Seberg was written by Anna Waterhouse and Joe Shrapnel and also stars Jack O’Connell, Margaret Qualley, Zazie Beetz, Yvan Attal, Colm Meaney and Vince Vaughn.
Also opening this weekend is Alla Kovgan’s stunning 3D documentary Cunningham which puts a spotlight on the legendary iconic dancer and choreographer Merce Cunningham and the last generation of his dance company. His story is told through re-creations of his landmark works and never-before-seen archival footage of him, John Cage and Robert Rauschenberg. The film from Magnolia Pictures immerses viewers in the choreographer’s world and will be released in both 2D and 3D.
Other releases include Michael D. Olmos’ post-9/11 immigrant drama Windows on the World as well as Wang Xiaoshuai’s Chinese Portrait, a conceptual documentary that captures the state of China via portraits of factory and construction workers, farmers, commuters, miners and students.