A24’s Priscilla by Sofia Coppola catapults from four screens to 1,300, Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers from Focus Features expands to 60 from six and two new indies have wide debuts — What Happens Later from Bleecker Street, directed by and starring Meg Ryan, opens at 1,400 locations and Daisy Ridley-starring The Marsh King’s Daughter from Roadside Attractions at over 1,000.
What Happens Later moved here from its original Oct. 16 perch, avoiding The Eras Tour opening crush. The rom-com debut of Meg Ryan (When Harry Met Sally, Sleepless in Seattle) after a long hiatus co-stars David Duchovny. Based on the play Shooting Star by Steven Dietz, the pic follows a chance encounter between two ex-lovers, Willa and Bill, who are snowed in at a regional airport and indefinitely delayed. See Deadline review.
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The Marsh King’s Daughter stars Daisy Ridley and Ben Mendelsohn in an adaptation of a bestselling 2017 thriller by Karen Dionne, in the vein of Where The Crawdads Sing. That film, also based on a popular book, cleaned up with women and Marsh King‘s distributor is hoping they’ll turn out for this as well. Directed by Neil Burger (Divergent, The Illusionist, The Upside), see Deadline review. Ridley is Helena, a woman whose seemingly ordinary life hides a dark and dangerous truth: her estranged father (Mendelsohn) is the infamous Marsh King, the man who kept her and her mother captive in the wilderness for years. When he escapes from prison, Helena must confront her past knowing that he will hunt for her and her family.
Also out this weekend from Roadside Attractions, searing documentary Beyond Utopia is back for an expanded Oscar-qualifying run on 11 screens in six major markets (following two Fathom Events screenings in October). The documentary by Madeline Gavin combines interviews and secretly shot footage showing the hardships facing North Korean defectors and revealing a brutal way of life unknown to most of the world. Premiered at Telluride.
Other specialty openings: IFC Films presents sci-fi anime romance The Tunnel to Summer, The Exit of Goodbyes on 167 screens. Directed by Tomohisa Taguchi and Kanji Miyake. The Urashima Tunnel can grant any wish, but for a price. A high school boy Kaoru, plagued by a troubled past, teams up with Anzu to investigate the Tunnel in a summer story of nostalgia, young love and the bending time itself. Won the Paul Grimault prize at Annecy.
HBO Documentary Films presents Going To Mars: The Nikki Giovanni Project at the Film Forum in NYC and the Laemmle Royal in LA. Directed by Joe Brewster and Michèle Stephenson (American Promise). The U.S. documentary Grand Jury Prize winner at Sundance travels through time to reveal the enduring influence of Nikki Giovanni, one of America’s greatest living artists and social commentators. Giovanni reckons with the inevitable passing of time in intimate vérité and revealing archival footage intertwined with moments in American history, live readings and visually innovative treatments of her poetry.
At the Gates, a psychological drama from Picturehouse, directed by Augustus Meleo Bernstein, opens in LA (AMC Burbank), expanding to NYC next week (Look 57th and The Quad). Stars Miranda Otto, Noah Wyle, Ezekiel Pacheco, Vanessa Benavente, Sadie Stanley, Jack Eyman. When immigration officers arrive at an affluent family’s home searching for their housekeeper and her son, the employers convince them to go into hiding in the family’s basement closet. What unfolds is a riveting thriller about two families who begin to question each other’s true intentions as the days go by. Deadline review here.
Greenwich Entertainment presents Subject with three runs in NYC (IFC), LA (Laemmle Glendale) and Chicago (Music Box). Jennifer Tiexiera and Camilla Hall produced and directed the film, which premiered at the 2022 Tribeca Festival. It explores nonfiction films and the sometimes fine line between documentation and exploitation going on behind the scene. The film looks at docs, from Hoop Dreams to Capturing the Friedmans, The Wolfpack, The Square and The Staircase, examining the often murky ethical dilemmas and complex relationships that can exist between documentary filmmakers and their real-life participants.
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