Brian Brooks is managing editor of MovieLine.
A film starring Nicole Kidman, Zac Efron, Matthew McConaughey, Macy Gray, and John Cusack may sound like a packaged star vehicle of some sort, but apparently it’s not. It’s Lee Daniels’ follow-up to his 2009 Oscar-favorite Precious and it has divided audiences with wild supporters and vocal dissenters at festivals since debuting in Cannes. The Paperboy will be hitting theaters after its NY Film Festival debut this week and the rest will be box office history. Veteran actor Matthew Lillard will open his pic, Fat Kid Rules The World, about a suicidal high school dropout who is recruited to join an upstart punk band through self-distribution beginning in New York. Doc The Revisionaries, meanwhile, will use its Texas base to drive a later national roll out. And Magnolia is hoping to scare up audiences with its multi-filmmaker title, V/H/S.
Fat Kid Rules The World
Director: Matthew Lillard
Writers: Michael M.B. Galvin, Peter Speakman, K.L. Going (novel)
Cast: Jacob Wysocki, Matt O’Leary, Billy Campbell, Dylan Arnold
Distributor: Outsider Films
Veteran actor Matthew Lillard made his first foray into directing with a short in 2009 before going behind the camera again for his comedy Fat Kid Rules The World. But he had long considered the filmmaker hat when he first optioned the book 10 years ago. “Finding an opportunity to get it made took so long,” he said. Before launching into his acting career, he took on directing as a high school kid. But, getting the deal done on Fat Kid Rules The World, of course, took more than simply the desire. After the film won an Audience Award at the SXSW Film Festival, Lillard and his producers thought they’d be off and running into distribution. “But all we got was a bunch of options to release it on VOD,” he said. “Looking at it and understanding where we were at, we figured we were probably not going to make our money back, but I decided not to stop until we broke even.” So Lillard and crew turned to crowd funding site Kickstarter and promptly raised $158K in 33 days to help self-distribute the title. “We realized we had a pretty extensive reach in the social media world,” Lillard said. “I have fans, [Pearl Jam lead guitarist] Mike McCready who did the music for the film does as well, so we knew we could reach that [audience].” (more…)