Specialty Box Office Preview: ‘Bless Me, Ultima’, ‘Inescapable’, ‘Rubberneck’, ‘Red Flag’, ‘Kai Po Che’
Specialty B.O. Preview: ‘The Sapphires,’ ‘Gimme The Loot,’ ‘Hunky Dory,’ ‘Come Out And Play,’ ‘Starbuck,’ ‘New World’
Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Producer Mark Johnson returned to New Mexico where he spent time with Breaking Bad for his latest, Bless Me, Ultima. The coming-of-age story is a staple in the Mexican-American community and beyond and will roll out on 263 screens. Canadian director Ruba Nadda’s latest, Inescapable with Alexander Siddig, Joshua Jackson, Marisa Tomei had to change production locations following the chaos of the Arab Spring. Actor-director Alex Karpovsky took on two productions somewhat simultaneously and distributor Tribeca Film is opting for a double-bill rollout in New York. And this weekend’s second biggest specialty release, Kai Po Che from UTV Communications will take the Indian-set story to 110 theaters this weekend.
Bless Me, Ultima
Director-writer: Carl Franklin
Writer: Rudolfo Anaya (novel)
Cast: Luke Ganalon, Joseph A. Garcia, Miriam Colon
Distributor: Arenas Entertainment
Oscar-winning producer Mark Johnson first came on board Bless Me, Ultima a half-decade ago after a meeting at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills. Executive producer Christy Walton financed the feature, which is based on a book of the same title. “I had not heard of the book, though it is considered a cornerstone of Chicano literature and its required reading in many public schools,” noted Johnson. “I immediately read it. I’m a sucker for coming of age stories, but this is more of a coming of age spiritual story. The main character is trying to understand why people do evil things. It’s about the nature of the world.” Set in New Mexico during World War II, the story is centered on the relationship between a young man and an an elderly medicine woman who helps him contend with the battle between good and evil that rages in his village. The production headed to New Mexico, where Johnson had worked producing TV’s Breaking Bad. “Christy Walton didn’t demand [stars] in the cast. It is based on an 8-year-old boy and his grandmother,” said Johnson who added that the cast includes American and Mexican actors. “I’ve done a lot of movies with young boys including the Narnia movies. Casting a child is very difficult. They’re not actors in the way adults are actors. It’s much more about instinct and feeling something naturally rather than just thinking about what is required to do.”