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Three promising major releases boasting name directors, savvy specialty distributors and top theaters — “High Life” (A24), “Peterloo” (Amazon Studios), and “Amazing Grace” (Neon) —opened this week with uneven results. Not one of the films has potential to break out for crossover national play at a time when theaters are hungry for strong product.
The Best Robert Pattinson Performances: From 'Good Time' to 'High Life'
Robert - Pattinson - Vehicle - Life - Claire
Robert Pattinson vehicle “High Life” from the great Claire Denis performed the best in top locations, with a respectable initial number. “Amazing Grace” also showed some audience interest, but less than its earlier Oscar-qualifying run promised. Mike Leigh’s delayed “Peterloo” lagged behind.
Specialized film is at a crossroads. Given streaming alternatives like Netflix and Amazon (which will play around with conventional theatrical windows more in future), these three films beg the question of whether dedicating three months to an initial theatrical release remains the smartest move for such important films.
Claire - Denis - Career - Years - Debut
Claire Denis’ career spans 30 years. Her debut, colonial African drama “Chocolat,” broke out in 1988, followed by critics’ fave “Beau Travail.” “High Life,” an English-language space travel film starring Robert Pattinson and Juliette Binoche, garnered high-end reviews consistent with most of her releases, opening stronger than any of her previous films. The film drew moviegoers at four major theaters at a decent level, though with a second-day drop. This is a younger-skewing specialized film, which makes A24 a logical distributor and gives it a chance to find (along with its well-known cast) ongoing interest as it expands.
What comes next: That expansion beyond core specialized theaters starts this Friday.
Aretha - Franklin - Church - Sessions - Sydney
The historic 1972 Aretha Franklin church recording sessions, filmed by Sydney Pollack and long-delayed because the singer blocked its release, reopened this week last December after strong one-week Oscar-qualifying runs in New York and Los Angeles, when it generated rave reviews...
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