With the 2020 summer Olympics around the corner, the timing of the release of the IFC Films romantic comedy Olympic Dreams couldn’t be any more perfect — but this isn’t an ordinary rom-com or a film about the Olympics.
Directed by Jeremy Teicher (Tracktown, Tall as the Baobab Tree, Speed Goggles), who co-wrote it with his wife and real-life Olympian Alexi Pappas and Nick Kroll (Big Mouth), the film was actually shot on location during the Olympic Winter Games in PyeongChang 2018 in Athletes Village. This marks the first time a feature was shot at a the Olympics. To add to that, the film was shot using improvisation of the script in just two weeks.
“Olympic Dreams is IFC Films to its core,” Arianna Bocco, EVP, Film Acquisitions & Production, tells Deadline. “It’s original, independent filmmaking.”
Kroll and Pappas star in the love story between two unlikely — and lonely — people who are at a crossroads in their lives. Penelope (Pappas) is a first-time Olympian and introverted cross-country skier, who, after finishing her event early on in the games, finds herself spending time in Athletes Village with an outgoing volunteer dentist, Ezra (Kroll). As the story unfolds and as Penelope and Ezra spend more time together in Olympic Village, they push one another to embrace qualities they lost sight of in pursuit of their dreams.
The unique film, which Bocco praises as a “crowd-pleaser” premiered at SXSW last year and features other real-life Olympians from the 2018 Winter Games including Freestyle Skier Gus Kenworthy and Freestyle Mogul Skier Morgan Schild.
Olympic Dreams will open in New York and Los Angeles this weekend and will be available on VOD platforms. Bocco said that IFC Films plans to expand to the top 25 markets in the next three weeks and will continue to roll out beyond that.
Watch the trailer below.
After Parasite dominated the Oscars with a historic four wins including Best Picture and Best Director, Neon is nearly doubling its theater count in the U.S. to over 2000 runs this weekend. Bong Joon Ho’s dark comedy masterpiece will also expand to over 400 sites across the UK and Ireland, more than double its initial 136 venues.
The expansion will definitely pad its box office bank globally, but stateside there has been a wild spike in ticket sales for the pic on Fandango. As reported earlier this week, as of Monday, advance ticket sales had jumped 443% week over week on Fandango (February 3-10). As of Monday, the film posted an estimated $539K int 1,060 theaters, seeing a boost of 24% jump from Sunday’s numbers. The film’s domestic cume stands at $36M.
After giving Portrait of a Lady on Fire an exclusive one-week qualifying run in New York and Los Angeles, Neon is ready to release Céline Sciamma’s French period romantic drama starring Noémie Merlant and Adèle Haenel to more cities. The film was selected to compete for the Palme d’Or earlier this year at the Cannes Film Festival where Sciamma made history as the first woman to win the Queer Palm.
Set in France, 1760, the story follows Marianne (Merlant) an artist who is commissioned to paint the wedding portrait of Héloïse (Haenel), who has just left the convent. Not wanting to be married, Marianne arrives as a friendly face as she observes Héloïse during the day and paints her at night. As they spend more time together they become attracted to each other and Marianne’s painting becomes a testament to their love.
In its one-week awards season run, the film had an estimated gross of $67K and performed well at its run at the Angelika in New York and the Arclight Hollywood. Its debut is one of the best averages of any French film in the U.S. in the last 20 years behind Amelie and Coco Chanel. To add to its arsenal of acclaim, the drama sits at 98% on Rotten Tomatoes and is the second best-reviewed film of the year right behind its fellow Neon title Parasite.
Continuing the Valentine’s Day dramatic romance for the weekend, Bleecker Street will debut the drama Ordinary Love. Starring Oscar-nominated Lesley Manville and Liam Neeson, the film follows a couple that has been married for several years, but when Joan is diagnosed with breast cancer, the course of her treatment shines a light on their enduring devotion, as they must find the humor and grace to survive a year of adversity.
Directed by Irish filmmaking duo Lisa Barros D’Sa & Glenn Leyburn from a script from award-winning playwright Owen McCafferty, the film was met with critical acclaim when it premiered at the Toronto International Film Festival. Our own Pete Hammond called it a “true love story”. The film opens in Los Angeles and New York today.
Richard Wong-directed SXSW film Come As You Are starring Grant Rosenmeyer, Hayden Szeto, Ravi Patel, Gabourey Sidibe, Janeane Garofalo & C.S. Lee will also open this weekend. Written by Erik Linthorst, the Samuel Goldwyn comedy is a remake of the 2011 Belgian film Hasta La Vista. Come As You Are is inspired by a true story and follows three young men with disabilities who go on a road trip to a brothel in Montreal that caters to people with special needs. The pic will open on 15 screens this weekend in New York and Los Angeles. It’s also available on On-Demand and digital.
In Enter the Fat Dragon, we’ll get to see martial arts icon Donnie Yen as we have never seen him before (just take a look at the poster). The action-comedy is directed by Kenji Tanigaki and follows Office Zhu who is excited to get back on board as a full-time police officer. While on a routine police escort, the mission derails and the suspect Zhu is escorting mysteriously dies. He enlists the help of wok-wielding restaurant owner and a former undercover inspector to solve this murder mystery and, well, hilarity ensues.
Other noteworthy openings for the weekend include the new feature documentary The Times of Bill Cunningham, which follows the legendary New York Times fashion photographer Bill Cunningham. Renaissance Women Productions will release the indie First Lady starring Nancy Stafford and Corbin Bernsen. Sara Zandieh’s culture-clashing rom-com Simple Wedding will also debut.