Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
This weekend boasts a big number of Specialty Releases ranging from star-powered features to smaller offerings with non-pro actors. Jeff Nichols’ Mud with Matthew McConaughey and Reese Witherspoon opens in over 300 theaters courtesy of Roadside Attractions, while Cinedigm’s Arthur Newman stars Emily Blunt, Colin Firth and Anne Heche. Sony Classics will platform release At Any Price, which stars Dennis Quaid, Kim Dickens, Zac Efron as well. The Weinstein Company with its Pacific adventure, Kon-Tiki. Mira Nair’s The Reluctant Fundamentalist with Kate Hudson, Liev Schreiber and Kiefer Sutherland had a wild ride before it finally opened the Venice Film Festival last August and Terence Nance’s An Oversimplification Of Her Beauty received new life after winning a Gotham Award. Joining the fray this weekend are Torch Films’ Aquí Y Allá and Factory 25’s Sun Don’t Shine which will open in L.A. and New York respectively.
Director-writer: Jeff Nichols
Cast: Matthew McConaughey, Tye Sheridan, Jacob Lofland, Reese Witherspoon, Sarah Paulson
Distributor: Roadside Attractions
Writer-director Jeff Nichols had the idea for Mud back in college during the ’90s. The film follows two teenage boys who encounter a fugitive (McConaughey) and form a pact to help him evade the bounty hunters on his trail and to reunite him with his true love. “I was thinking who I’d like to hang out with on an island on the Mississippi River and that was Matthew McConaughey”, joked Nichols who spoke at the Apple Store in SoHo last weekend in New York. “And I liked him in Lone Star”. “He is the DNA of the project”, said McConaughey. “I’ve done over 40 films and I’ve never done one in which we stayed so closely to the script as on this film”. The Cinema Society hosted the New York premiere of Mud last Sunday and Nichols and McConaughey were joined by Reese Witherspoon and Sarah Paulson at the event and party at nightspot Harlow. Witherspoon did not join the Apple store conversation and she also notably cancelled scheduled appearances on GMA and Fallon following her recent arrest in Georgia. Asked if he thought Witherspoon’s turn from the public eye might affect the film’s opening weekend, Roadside Attractions chief Howard Cohen sounded upbeat. “We’re doing a big television buy and we have Matthew out everywhere”, he said. “We’re totally focused on the great things we’ve done and she’s great in the movie. It happened and it’s played out, but she’s great and did a ton of press ahead of time and she also attended the premiere and I don’t think it will have an impact”. (more…)