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‘Call Jane’, ‘Holy Spider’, ‘Armageddon Time’ Tackle Big Issues In A Challenging Era – Specialty Preview

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Three films opening this weekend highlight women’s rights, class and racism — nothing ripped from today’s headlines exactly, but features with a distinctive moment and point of view that appear particularly relevant today. Call Jane, Holy Spider and Armageddon Time join Tár, Till, The Banshees of Inisherin and others already in theaters as it gets crowded out there in specialty.

The widest release, Roadside Attractions’ Call Jane opens on 1,070 screens. It stars Elizabeth Banks as Joy, a traditional suburban housewife who falls in with a group of activists after a medical board denies her a “therapeutic termination” despite a life-threatening medical condition. The real underground Jane collective led in the film by Virginia (Sigourney Weaver) arranged illegal abortions in 1960s and ’70s Chicago. The film by Phyllis Nagy premiered at Sundance. Deadline’s review said “ it strikes an upbeat, non-judgmental note while exploring the gender and body politics of the time.”

And of this time, too. Since June when the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade, abortion has been illegal or severely restricted in over half of U.S. states with stories mounting of women forced to travel for the procedure while gravely ill and psychologically distraught. This is a major issue heading into the midterm elections next month.

Roadside put the film in a wide cross-section of theaters and markets, a bit heavier on the coasts, aimed at a primarily female audience. “It has beloved actresses and is a story about an ‘everywoman’ in the middle of the situation. [[Joy] is a composite character, a woman who was not strongly motivated by the issue, who finds herself in it,” said Roadside co-president Howard Cohen. “This is very accessible film and that’s what we love about it. It’s urgent without being didactic.”

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The distributor worked with a dozen pro-choice organizations and abortion care providers including Planned Parenthood LA on advance screenings, fundraisers, theatre buy-outs and original content and PSAs with the film’s stars.

Holy Spider, the Ali Abbasi film made a splash at Cannes, where Zar Amir Ebrahimi won Best Actress and indie distributor Utopia beat out competition to ink its biggest deal ever and what will likely be its widest release.

The film, Denmark’s official Oscar submission for Best International Feature, opens at the IFC Center in New York, moving into LA next weekend and expanding slowly through January to potentially reach a few hundred screens. Deadline review here.

Abbasi’s Border won best film in the Cannes sidebar section Un Certain Regard in 2018. Holy Spider also took Best Director at Fantastic Fest.

Amir Ebrahimi plays a courageous young female reporter on the track of a smug serial killer of prostitutes in Iran, who believed he’s doing God’s work. He was protected and support by a system including police, the right-wing press and fundamentalist zealots. The film hits as the rights of women in Iran exploded as a national issue last month. A 22-year-old woman, Mahsa Amini, died in police custody after being detained for not complying with a headscarf mandate.

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Utopia marking chief Kyle Greenberg called the film urgent and timely, but also “stellar entertainment — a true crime film, rooted in film noir.” Q&As this weekend in NY and next in LA are selling well, he said. Los Angeles in particular has a strong Persian community, one of the biggest in the country, that’s extremely supportive of the film.

“We are modeling the release on Drive My Car last year, which really took its time and thoughtfully expanded. We have no intention of rushing it out [but] will platform it into new cities each week into November and December, and the intention is to see it expand wider in January,” said Greenberg. “Without putting the cart before the horse, we are very excited about the potential and the awards conversation.”

Focus Features’ opens James Gray’s Armageddon Time in six locations in NY and LA, expanding next week. The film with Anne Hathaway, Jeremy Strong, Banks Repeta, Jaylin Webb, Tovah Feldshuh, Ryan Sell and Anthony Hopkins debuted at Cannes and screened at Telluride and the New York Film Festival. Grey just nabbed a Gotham Award nomination for Best Screenplay.

This is a deeply personal story of family set in 1980s Flushing, Queens that examines the American dream and the complexity of friendship, namely between young Paul (Banks Repeta) and Johnny (Jaylin Webb), a Black schoolmate. They bond but are ultimately separated in a society marked by race and class that gives Johnny few options. Deadline review here.

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Other notable specialty openings: Sony Pictures Classics presents Luca Guadagnino’s Salvatore Ferragamo doc Salvatore: Shoemaker of Dreams in New York and LA. Michael Stulhbart narrates fashion master’s 1955 memoir, from humble beginnings, to California and a storied studio in Florence, Italy. Showcases a trove of 100-year-old archival footage, a “shoe ballet” created by stop-motion artist PES and commentary by Martin Scorsese, Manolo Blahnik, Christian Louboutin and Ferragamo’s children and grandchildren. World premiered at the 2020 Venice Film Festival.

Magnolia presents sci-fi mystery Next Exit in NY and LA. The film by debut director Mali Elfman premiered at Tribeca. Katie Parker stars as a research scientist who makes headlines by proving she can track people after death. Her radical scientific study, looking for volunteers for a pain-free passing to the afterlife, attracts two young misfit strangers. On VOD Nov. 4.

A24 and Apple TV+ present Causeway with Jennifer Laurence and Bryan Tyree Henry in limited release and on the streamer. The film premiered at TIFF and played the BFI London Film Festival. Deadline review here. Lawrence is Lynsey, an wounded Afghanistan veteran who return home to live with her mother (Linda Edmond) in New Orleans, taking tentative steps to recovery. Directed by Lila Neugebauer from a screenplay by Elizabeth Sanders, Luke Goebel, and Ottessa Moshfegh.

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Netflix presents Elvis Mitchell documentary Is That Black Enough For You?!? in three theaters: IFC Center in NYC, the Bay in LA and Landmark Opera Plaza in San Francisco. World premiered at the New York Film Festival.

The streamer opens The Wonder opens next Wednesday in 30 theaters in 15 cities including IFC Center in NY, the Landmark Westwood and the Bay in LA and TIFF Bell Lightbox in Toronto. Debuted at Telluride. Directed by Sebastian Lelio. Florene Pugh is an English nurse in 1862 engaged to come to rural Ireland to tend to peasant girl Anna (Kila Lord Cassidy), who survives for months without eating as tourists and pilgrim mass to her side. Adapted from the a novel by Emma Donoghue. Deadline review.

3388 Films releases A Hundred Billion Key, the hit comedy from Vietnam that premiered Stateside at the Newport Beach Film Festival earlier this month. By Vo Thanh Hoa. The film is adapted from Kenji Uchida’s award-winning 2012 Japanese film Key of Life. It follows a notorious assassin who loses his memory and fortune at the local bathhouse.

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Rhino Entertainment and Trafalgar Releasing present Grateful Dead Meet-Up 2022 on Nov. 1 in about 500 theaters in U.S./Canada. Celebrating the 50th anniversary of one of the Grateful Dead’s most iconic gigs from the Tivoli Concert Hall in Copenhagen, Denmark, on Apr. 17, 1972. The performance was part of the band’s legendary Europe ’72 tour and resulting blockbuster live album, which was released 50 years to the date of the Nov. 5 screenings. This was the group’s first major live concert broadcast anywhere (Danish television). Fully restored, remastered and color corrected.

The Avenue releases The System, a thriller written and directed by Dallas Jackson, starring Tyrese Gibson Terrence Howard, Jeremy Piven, and Lil Yachty. Gibson is a former marine recruited by authorities to go undercover in a notoriously dangerous prison, following a drug bust.



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Box Office

‘Black Panther: Wakanda Forever’ Closes In On $550M WW – International Box Office

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Refresh for latest…: In its sophomore frame, Disney/Marvel’s Black Panther: Wakanda Forever sent its worldwide cume well past the $500M mark, with an estimated $546.3M through Sunday.  The split is $288M domestic and $258.3M from the international box office.

The Ryan Coogler-directed sequel is currently the No. 8 highest-grossing Hollywood release of 2022 overseas. Globally, it is at No. 7.

The second offshore weekend was good for $69.8M in 50 material markets. That’s a 49% drop from opening which is better than the majority of other MCU titles for the same suite of markets, including Thor: Love and Thunder and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness (both -56%) as well as Spider-Man: No Way Home (-60%).

Holds were strong in parts of Europe — Germany and Netherlands were each off by 31%, the UK down 48%. Elsewhere, Australia dipped 39%, Brazil was down 43%, and Mexico and Taiwan off 45% apiece. BP2 remains the No. 1 non-local movie in all markets.

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The Top 5 markets to date are the UK ($27.1M), Mexico ($22.8M), France ($21.6M), Brazil ($14.2M) and Korea ($14M).

The IMAX international cume is $13.6M with $34.9M global. 

In its global opening frame last weekend, Wakanda Forever scored the 3rd highest start for any Hollywood title during the pandemic era, as well as the 2nd biggest global opening of 2022 to date and the 5th highest international launch weekend posted by any Hollywood film of the pandemic era. 

Last Tuesday, BP2 propelled Disney across $3B at the worldwide box office, the 14th year that the studio has achieved the milestone.

MORE…

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Audiences Gobble Up ‘The Menu’ Thursday Night With $1M+; ‘Wakanda Forever’ Ends First Week With $220M+

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EXCLUSIVE: The Searchlight absurdist genre comedy got off to a promising start with $1M+ last night in previews, we hear. That number is up there with recent comps as Barbarian which did $850K on its Thursday night before a $10.5M opening, and The Northman, another Anya Taylor Joy movie, which posted $1.35M before a $12.2M start. The opening weekend estimate for the Mark Mylod directed movie which also stars Ralph Fiennes, Nicholas Hoult and John Leguizamo among others is around $8M. If this movie gets to $10M, it would be a nice oasis for counterprogramming in the face of Disney and Marvel Studios’ mammoth Black Panther: Wakanda Forever which is expected to do a second weekend in the $70M-range. That preview number for The Menu includes some cash from Wednesday and previews that began at 5PM yesterday. The Menu is 91% certified fresh on Rotten Tomatoes and currently has a good audience score of 83%.

Wakanda Forever posted a $7.5M Thursday, -8% from Wednesday for a first week of $220.7M. The pic crossed $400M worldwide on Wednesday.

Universal’s movie about the New York Times reporters who exposed movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, She Said, isn’t expected to do much this weekend, in the low single digits. Previews from 1,600 theatres that began at 5PM were only $160K. Remember, despite any low grosses from these arthouse-type films, in the post-pandemic era, their awards season chances won’t be slowed. I mean, some of the big awards contenders don’t even report their box office grosses. She Said is 85% certified fresh critics score on Rotten Tomatoes and has a 92% audience score from the few who’ve seen it.

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Deadline’s Deep Dive Into ‘Bones And All’, ‘She Said’, And More New Releases – Take Two

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Editor’s note: Deadline presents the 40th episode of its video series Take Two, in which Pete Hammond and Todd McCarthy tackle the artistry of films just opening in theaters every weekend. Each has reviewed and written about the craft for decades and built a remarkable breadth of knowledge of films past and present. What we hoped for when we asked them to do this was a concise, mature and thoughtful conversation comparable to what we saw from Roger Ebert and Gene Siskel.

This week we look at the new releases Bones And All , She Said, and Polish International Film entry EO. Timothee Chalamet, Taylor Russell, and Mark Rylance star in director Luca Guadagnino’s award winning Bones And All, an unlikely love story set against the world of cannibalism, but what is it really about? Guadagnino won the Best Director award at the Venice Film Festival for this, his first film shot in America, specifically the American midwest with a story that goes in unpredictable directions but does it really work? It will be playing wide for Thanksgiving holiday and beyond. What is the appetite for it?

And find out what we say about She Said, the kind of critically acclaimed and serious drama Harvey Weinstein used to champion at Miramax and The Weinstein Company. That won’t be the case here for this Universal release because Weinstein’s criminal role is at the center of it, an authentically told story of the New York Times journalists, Jodi Kantor and Megan Twohey who broke open the case against Harvey in getting the multitude of women victimized by his various sexual assaults finally getting to have their say. Many of them are even in the film that stars Carey Mulligan and Zoe Kazan as those courageous journalists, and even includes Ashley Judd playing herself. Directed by Maria Schrader and written by Rebecca Lenkiewicz, this is a film about women, in front of and behind the screen, who went against the odds to be able tell an extraordinary story. How well do they succeed, and will audiences even bother to see it even as Weinstein is on trial again, this time in Los Angeles after being sentenced to 23 years in prision in New York. Find out what we say about him and why this is a must see.

Finally we do a deep dive into one of the year’s finest international films, the official Oscar entry from Poland, veteran director Jerzy Skolimowski’s moving, wry, and compelling EO. The film focuses on a donkey and his wild journey, but is it really about humanity and the people he meets along the way. It won a prize at Cannes where it debuted in May, and now it hits theatres.

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To watch our conversation just click on the link above.

Hammond has been Deadline’s Awards Columnist for the past decade, covering what now seemingly is the year-round Oscar and Emmy seasons. He is also Deadline’s Chief Film Critic, having previously reviewed films for MovieLine, Boxoffice magazine, Backstage, Hollywood.com and Maxim, as well as Leonard Maltin’s Movie Guide, for which he was a contributing editor. In addition to writing, Hammond also hosts KCET Cinema Series and the station’s weekly series Must See Movies.

McCarthy is a veteran trade publication film critic, columnist and reporter who has also written several acclaimed books and documentary films. He served two stints on the staffs of Variety and The Hollywood Reporter and extensively covered film festivals internationally for both publications. His film Visions of Light: The Art of Cinematography won the best documentary prizes from the New York Film Critics and National Society of Film Critics associations, and he won an Emmy for writing the documentary Preston Sturges: The Rise and Fall of an American Dreamer. He also directed the documentaries Man of Cinema: Pierre Rissient and Forever Hollywood.



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