Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘I’m So Excited’, ‘How To Make Money Selling Drugs’, ‘The Secret Disco Revolution’, ‘A Band Called Death’, ‘Some Girl(s)’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Spain’s maverick filmmaker Pedro Almodóvar returns to U.S. shores with his latest film, which is a departure from his most recent work. I’m So Excited!, which opened the recent Los Angeles Film Festival but skirted Almodovar’s usual Cannes world premiere slot this year, is a throwback to the director’s 1980s comedies, and Sony Pictures Classics begins its opening in platform release. The director called the film recently “his most gay” — perhaps fitting given yesterday’s Supreme Court decisions and the flurry of gay pride events around the country this weekend. The feature will be joined by several documentary newcomers in the specialty arena Friday including Tribeca Film’s How To Make Money Selling Drugs, which includes a host of notables including 50 Cent, Eminem, Woody Harrelson and Susan Sarandon. Screen Media’s The Secret Disco Revolution also boasts figures from the era, which combines storytelling and comic-irony to recall the disco days. A Band Called Death is also a music-focused nonfiction, spotlighting seminal “pre-punk” band Death. And self-distributed Some Girl(s) stars Adam Brody, Kristen Bell and Zoe Kazan in a new comedy-drama.
I’m So Excited
Director-writer: Pedro Almodóvar
Cast: Javier Cámara, Pepa Charro, Lola Duenas, Antonio Banderas, Penélope Cruz, Antonio de la Torre, Hugo Silva, Miguel Ángel Silvestre
Distributor: Sony Pictures Classics
Almodóvar fans are some of the most loyal around. His most recent film, the dark The Skin I Live In debuted in six theaters in October 2011, with a per-screen average above $37K (nearly $3.2 million cume), while Broken Embraces (2009) bowed in a pair of runs, averaging $53,556 on its way to a $5 million U.S. gross. Those films, however, were outshined at the box office by the Spanish filmmaker’s 2006 release, Volver, which cumed nearly $12.9 million ($39,540 first weekend PSA). His latest, I’m So Excited!, harkens back to early Almodóvar, so how it will be received in 2013 remains to be seen. “I wanted to return to a genre that I was very familiar with in the ’80s,” said Almodóvar at a recent preview screening at the Film Society of Lincoln Center. “It’s a light comedy and discussion… And the discussion is mixed with a lot of alcohol and sex.” The story centers on a group of passengers aboard an ill-fated flight from Spain to Mexico City who look to overcome their anxiety in the face of danger, with hefty amounts of booze, pill-popping and carnal satisfaction as the secrets of their lives are revealed. “Pedro Almodóvar has made the perfect summer movie,” said SPC co-president Michael Barker. “We’re always thrilled when he wants to switch gears. This is our 10th or 11th movie with him and his instincts are always correct.”
Barker said the LA Film Festival was a great place to debut the film, saying it has grown in prominence. He also said Almodóvar’s audience has grown over the years, with new generations of people coming out to see his films. “The thing about Pedro’s audience is he grows with every film and grows across demographics,” noted Barker. “A lot of younger people have been going to his [recent] films that hadn’t seen his [previous] films. He’s become a rock star in a way.” SPC will open I’m So Excited in three New York theaters and two LA locations this weekend. It will head to an additional 8 to 10 cities over the next couple of weeks and will likely be in 100 markets within the next month.
Writer-director Matthew Cooke and producer Bert Marcus worked together on 2010 doc Teenage Paparazzo and immediately began working together on How To Make Money Selling Drugs. The docu takes a look at an array of sides in the drug war including users, dealers, prison employees and lobbyists. It also includes interviews with celebrities on the topic, which Marcus calls “the biggest public policy failure of the past half century.” “My company funded the film fully,” said Marcus. “We have great investors who have put together a film fund for this and other documentaries going on in the year. Everybody’s been touched by this — no matter who you are — everyone’s been touched.” Marcus said a number of people appearing in the film had hesitance before agreeing to participate, but expects some of the celebs will appeal to younger audiences. He said previous efforts to bring the war on drugs to the big screen appealed to particular demographics, but hopes Selling Drugs will cross over to several demos.