Two releases, very well reviewed and pretty widely available by recent specialty standards, look set to heat up the arthouse box office this weekend — Pig with Nicolas Cage in one of his best performances in years and Roadrunner: A Film About Anthony Bourdain open on 600 and 952 screens respectively, and only in theaters.
Oscar-winning filmmaker Morgan Neville’s (20 Feet From Stardom, Won’t You Be My Neighbor?) documentary about the late chef, writer and adventurer Bourdain is an intimate look at his rise to world-renowned cultural icon, capturing his presence, voice and inner demons. Vigorous marketing by distributor Focus Features was made possible by public familiarity with the Peabody and Emmy-award winning Bourdain, whose weekly series Parts Unknown moved to CNN in 2012 after running for years on Discovery’s Travel Channel (where it was called No Reservations). The intrepid master storyteller tragically took his own life in 2018 at age 61.
The media campaign included a national CNN buy (CNN Films is a producer) and a presence in top markets across morning and late night (Today, GMA, The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon, The Late Show with Stephen Colbert). Last weekend, Focus in partnership with reservation experts Resy recreated Bourdain’s famed NYC bistro, Les Halles, welcoming 1,200 to the pop-up restaurant open to the public. Focus also worked up recipe cards of some of Bourdain’s favorite dishes for exhibitors to promote ticket sales.
“People couldn’t get enough of those,” said Focus’ President of Distribution Lisa Bunnell. “Bourdain is really a well known, well loved popular figure.” As such, she doesn’t see the doc as a pure arthouse play although she is positive about specialty prospects. “It will take some time. There will always be room for specialty films in the market. A lot of theaters are at 100 percent capacity. The marketplace is starting to come alive again.”
Production companies — CNN Films, HBO Max, Tremolo in association with Zero Point Zero; producers — Caitrin Rogers and Neville; Editors — Eileen Meyer, Aaron Wickenden; executive producers Amy Entelis, Courtney Sexton, Lizzie Fox.
See trailer here:
Pig from Neon, directed by Michael Sarnoski, has Nicolas Cage as a former star chef turned rumpled, reclusive truffle hunter who supplies top restaurants. He lives alone in the Oregon wilderness but must return to his past in Portland in search of his beloved foraging pig after she is kidnapped.
Regarding the two films, Deadline’s Pete Hammond said: “On the same weekend as the release of Morgan Neville’s fascinating documentary on Anthony Bourdain, this fictional movie ironically offers some alternate food for thought, as it were, on the cutthroat competition among high-end restaurants and the complex lives of the unique personalities drawn to it.”
Pig also co-stars Alex Wolff and Adam Arkin. Cage produced the film along with Pulse Films, BlockBox Entertainment, Valparaiso Pictures, and Cage’s Saturn Pictures. The script is based on a story by Sarnoski and Vanessa Block, who is also a producer.
MORE TO COME…