Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘Promised Land’, ‘West Of Memphis’, ‘Allegiance’, ‘Tabu’
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Sapphires,’ ‘Gimme The Loot,’ ‘Hunky Dory,’ ‘Come Out And Play,’ ‘Starbuck,’ ‘New World’
Brian Brooks is Managing Editor of MovieLine.
Matt Damon and Gus Van Sant collaborate on their third project together, Promised Land, headlining the holiday weekend’s specialty releases and the final round of newcomers for 2012. Van Sant came in as director after Damon tapped him to spearhead the film, which is set in small town Pennsylvania. Also headed to theaters is Sony Pictures Classics‘ West Of Memphis, the latest film centered on the so-called Memphis Three who many believe were wrongly convicted of a grisly murder in a notorious miscarriage of justice. The military takes the spotlight in Allegiance with Aidan Quinn and Bow Wow, which opens via XLrator Media and Adopt Films opens its foreign-language Berlin ’12 pick-up Tabu.
Director: Gus Van Sant
Writers: John Krasinski, Matt Damon, Dave Eggers (story)
Cast: Matt Damon, Frances McDormand, John Krasinski, Hal Holbrook, Rosemarie DeWitt
Distributor: Focus Features
Focus Features came on board with Promised Land after the script was completed in partnership with Participant Media. The story moved from an Alaska mining operation backdrop to a small town in Pennsylvania, which must choose whether to allow an energy company to extract natural gas through the controversial method popularly known as “fracking.” Matt Damon originally was set to direct the film but his schedule made it impossible. He reached out to Gus Van Sant with whom he worked with on Good Will Hunting and Gerry to take on the project. “They thought the project might go away, but then he contacted me – and a year ago, I said yes”, Van Sant said during a pre-release event last month in New York. “It is modest [in budget terms] but spiritually strong,” said Focus CEO James Schamus. “For people looking for an audience experience that doesn’t include a body count, this is a great chance. It’s an alternative.” Although starring some big names, the pic’s budget came in at roughly $15 million.
Specialty Preview: ‘The Impossible’, ‘Promised Land’, ‘Hyde Park On Hudson’ Hope To Gain Momentum
While the title has remained relatively under the radar compared with some of the other heavy-hitting Oscar contenders crowding theaters, the pic has sparked the ire of pro-fracking interests who have already decided it’s “anti-fracking.” A pro-fracking pic is in the works and proponents have “been very active in framing the movie as a fracking movie”, said Schamus. “It’s a little movie that’s national and they’ve managed to frame it in a particular way and have been extremely effective. They’ve managed to make it appear as an issue movie but it’s not”, he said “Just got to get the movie out there. It’s been educational.” Promised Land opens in 25 theaters across 14 markets this weekend including LA, New York, San Francisco, Chicago, Boston and Washington, D.C. Focus will expand to 1,500 runs on January 4th.