Friday, June 16, 2017

The Distributors: Sony Pictures Classics / Trailer for Goodbye Christopher Robin

Welcome to Friday everyone...leaving La La Land today to head back to Casa Patterson...


As I wrote yesterday, I'm beginning the annual summer assessment of film distribution companies as a way to try to read the Telluride tea leaves.

I tend to begin this each summer with Sony Pictures Classics because, certainly in my time as an attendee, no other distributor has had as strong and continuous presence at TFF than SPC.  As I reminded everyone yesterday, here is the legacy of SPC over the past several years:

2016: The Eagle Huntress, Maudie, Norman, Toni Erdmann (4)
2015: Son of Saul (1)
2014: Foxcatcher, Leviathan, Red Army, Mr. Turner, Wild Tales, Salt of the Earth and Merchants of Doubt (7)
2013: The Invisible Woman, The Lunchbox, The Past, Tim's Vermeer and Jodorowsky's Dune (5)
2012: The Gatekeepers, At Any Price, Rust and Bone, No, Wadjda, Amour (6)
2011: A Dangerous Method, In Darkness, Footnote, A Separation (4)
2010: Incendies, Of Gods and Men, Tamara Drewe, Another Year, The Illusionist, Inside Job (6)
2009: The Last Station, The White Ribbon, Coco Before Chanel, A Prophet, An Education (5)
2008: Waltz with Bashir, I've Loved You So Long, O'Horten (3)
2007: Brick Lane, When Did You Last See Your Father, Persepolis, The Band's Visit, The Counterfeiters, Steep! (6)
2006: Jindabyne, The Lives of Others, Volver, The Italian (4)
2005: Breakfast on Pluto, Capote, Cache, The Child (4)
2004: Being Julia, House of Flying Daggers, Bad Education, Merchant of Venice, Up and Down, Yes (6)
2003: The Fog of War, My Life Without Me, The Triplets of Belleville, Young Adam (4)

SPC averages 4-5 films per year at the fest. Looking at the films that are listed as under the SPC umbrella at's a thought or two about those SPC films:

Initially, I'm not gong to assess films from SPC that played Sundance but are not yet in release (ex: Call Me By Your Name, Novitiate) due to Telluride's "first North American showing" policy but I will have a note about that below.  That leaves eight films to evaluate.

In order of TFF likelihood (at least for right now):

1) Loveless/Zvyagnistev.  The factors:  Played Cannes were it won awards and was well reviewed (88 Metascore).  Zvyagnistev played T-ride in '14 with Leviathan.  Chances: 80%.

2) A Fantastic Woman/Lelio.  The factors: Played Berlin where it won awards and was really well reviewed (96 Metascore).  Lelio played T-ride in '13 with Gloria.  Chances: 75%.

3) The Rider/Zhao.  The factors: An SPC purchase at Cannes after a very good play in the Director's Fortnight (86 Metascore).  Despite a young director and a cast of unprofessional actors, this is a film that I just have a gut instinct about in as far as TFF is concerned.  Chances: 60%.

4) Happy End/Haneke.  The factors:  Despite some critical disgruntlement, the film has a respectable Metascore (78) and Haneke's history is very strong with TFF (Amour, The White Ribbon , Cache). Chances: 55%.

After those four, the SPC slate seems a bit murkier as far as predicting films with a possible Telluride fest play.

5) Final Portrait/Tucci.  The factors: The biopic about artist Alberto Giacometti stars Geoffrey Rush (who was in T-ride in '10 with The King's Speech).  Stanley Tucci wrote and directed the film which played Berlin.  That plus a good Metascore (76) give it the #5 spot.  Chances: 40%.

6) The Silent Man/Landesman.  The factors: Liam Neeson stars as Mark Felt, the Deep Throat of Watergate fame.  It hasn't played festivals to this point.  If TFF is looking to program a film that "feels" reflective of the current environment in Washington; this could be a way to do that.  Chances: 25%

7) The Leisure Seeker/Virzi.  The factors: Like Silent Man, The Leisure Seeker has not played at a fest as yet.  It stars Helen Mirren (The Last Station '09) and Donald Sutherland.  Chances: 20%

Note about The Silent Man and The Leisure Seeker.  Though neither has played a festival, neither did SPC films Norman nor Maudie last don't count either film out.

8) Based on a True Story/Polanski.  The factors:  The film was not reviewed well following its Cannes play (Metascore 43) and Polanski's inability to accompany the film to the U.S.  makes it the least likely of the eight SPC films listed here.  Chances: 5%.

One final note:  Although I doubt that Telluride plays another Sundance film this year, it's not impossible.  Last year both Manchester by the Sea and The Eagle Huntress played Sundance first and there was a lot of buzz that Birth of a Nation might make the same journey until the film got mired in director Nate Parker's controversy.  Sooo...2% chances for Call Me By Your Name and Novitiate.

Monday's look will be The Weinstein Company.


If you didn't see it yesterday, Fox Searchlight dropped a trailer for Simon Curtis' Goodbye Christopher Robin starring Domnhall Gleeson as Winnie the Pooh creator A.A. Milne.  Margot Robbie co-stars as his wife.

Here's the trailer from YouTube:

The scenes look lovely and obviously, Fox Searchlight, which has dated the film for an Oct. 13th release, thinks it has an awards player on its hands.

Could it play Telluride?  I'll be assessing its chances as I look at the FS slate next week.

Here's additional coverage of the releases of the trailer from:


The Playlist

The Film Stage


Come back on Monday...


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