Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.

Wong Kar-wai’s The Grandmaster arrives in North America re-worked to appeal to audiences here and faith that it will appeal to both art house and broader audiences alike. The lauded Hong Kong director has received critical and box office success with In The Mood For Love and perhaps to a lesser degree with My Blueberry Nights and 2046, and distributor TWC is looking to turn out ticket buyers who are loyal to the filmmaker or fans of martial arts. Former mumblecore filmmaker Joe Swanberg steps up his game with his comedy Drinking Buddies, parlaying into a production that did not follow DIY orthodoxy. The film has already been a big moneymaker on VOD, so theatrical will likely be icing on the cake. Short Term 12 has won awards from SXSW to Locarno. The film, which Cinedigm is opening in limited release will try and replicate that success theatrically. Cannes ’12 closer Thérèse hits theaters as well. Starring Audrey Tautou, the film is the final feature from the late Claude Miller. Vertical Entertainment is banking on its thriller Scenic Route starring Josh Duhamel and Dan Fogler to bring out genre fans. The film has also tested positively with women. Una Noche takes on the phenomenon of Cuban immigration. The title played at a festival in Havana before finally being banned there. And Ketchup Entertainment is skirting the usual L.A./New York roll out for the Southeast where its latest, Savannah starring Jaimie Alexander and Jim Caviezel finds its base.

The Grandmaster
Director-writer: Wong Kar-wai
Writers: Zou Jingzhi, Xu Haofeng
Cast: Tony Leung, Zhang Ziyi, Zhang Jin, Song Hye-kyo, Le Cung, Leung Siu-Lung, Chang Chen
Distributor: The Weinstein Company

Hong Kong filmmaker Wong Kar-wai’s latest has undergone an evolution since opening in China earlier this year, coming in at 130 minutes. By the time it screened as the Berlinale opener, it came in at 122 minutes and it will land at 108 minutes when it hits screens this weekend. The feature centers on martial arts master Ip Man, the man who trained Bruce Lee. “We test screened it and there were some confusions in the storyline that make it hard to follow for some people, but there are no significant changes to the storyline,” said TWC president of Theatrical Distribution, Erik Lomis. (more…)