Festival favorites, coming to a theater near you!
It’s a common occurrence – a film makes a big splash at a film festival, gets a lot of buzz, and doesn’t hit wide release for months (sometimes, in extreme cases, even years). Festivals are not just events for cinephiles, they are also open markets for a huge number of titles looking for a distribution company. Does distribution guarantee that a film will get the care and the marketing push it may deserve? Not necessarily. But when a film gets picked up by a well-known studio, the odds in their favor rocket skyward – and such is the case with two well-received films from this year’s Toronto International Film Festival.
Lionsgate has just locked down deals for two (very different) TIFF films. First up, the studio has paired up with Roadside Attractions to distribute Jennifer Westfeldt’s “Friends with Kids.” The film has a lot to recommend it, including a great comedic cast that is made up of Adam Scott, Westfeldt, Jon Hamm, Kristen Wiig, Maya Rudolph, Chris O’Dowd, Megan Fox, and Edward Burns. The film focuses on the changing friendships amidst a tight-knit group of pals in the wake of major lifestyle changes – namely, what happens when some friends have kids and some don’t.
Westfeldt has long been a name to watch on the indie scene, having previously written and starred in two great independent films – “Kissing Jessica Stein” and “Ira & Abby.” “Friends with Kids” marks her directorial debut, and all signs point to it being an excellent buy for Lionsgate.
On the horror side of things, the studio has also picked up Adam Wingard’s “You’re Next.” The Midnight Madness pick was very popular at this year’s festival, garnering a runner-up nod for Cadillac People’s Choice Award For Midnight Madness. The film reunites Wingard with screenwriter Simon Barrett, who previously worked together on another TIFF hit, “A Horrible Way to Die.”
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No, the real story is that women can have just as much fun playing in the comic sandbox of adolescent behavior, poor judgment and gross-out gags and that both male and female audiences find it just as funny. "Bridesmaids" found box-office gold in a girl-bonding romp filled equally with outlandish bridal showers and alcohol-fueled slapstick aggression, grand romantic gestures and furtive sex, high couture and low blows.
Wiig, like so many underutilized and highly creative performers before her, answered the lack of substantial roles by writing one for herself and her fellow funny ladies, but she built the character of Annie on a foundation of disappointment and anxiety that women and men both can relate to. An entrepreneur picking up the pieces from a failed business, she's broke, in a job she hates, a roommate situation that drives her farther into depression and a relationship with a cad who undercuts her self-esteem with every sleepover. When her best friend (fellow "SNL" regular Maya Rudolph) announces that she's getting married, the sinkhole just gets worse, especially when she finds herself competing with a spoiled society girl (Rose Byrne) who proclaims herself the new best friend.
For more DVD and Blu-ray releases, check out the Hot Tips and Top Picks for September 20