Friday, June 30, 2017

The First Ten Bets for TFF #44 / The Distributors: Warners and Paramount / Breathe Will Open BFI- Fest

Welcome my the machine...for Friday, June 30, 2017.


Well, it's arrived.  Since 2011, I have been formally taking a stab at what films will be at The SHOW with what I call "Ten Bets".  For what will be the seventh year running, those begin appearing the last week of June and will run on a weekly, updated basis until the day before the lineup is actually announced-probably Aug. 31.

As to its success...well, this first one you need to take with a gigantic grain of sodium chloride. The success rate of the first Ten Bets each year is less than impressive.

2011: 8/10
2012: 5/10
2013: 6/10
2014: 7/10
2015: 4/10
2016: 3/10

The average over these past six years 5.5 but as you can see, the last two years have been particularly challenging.  Last year's first list only correctly named Moonlight, Toni Erdmann and Fire at Sea.

Okay then, enough's your first "Ten Bets" for 2017:

1) Loveless
2) A Fantastic Woman
3) Wonderstruck
4) Visages/Villages

5) The Florida Project
6) Downsizing
7) You Were Never Really Here
8) 120 BPM
9) The Rider

10) Battle of the Sexes

The Next Bets, in no particular order of likelihood:  Happy End, Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri, The Current War, Loving Vincent, Lean on Pete, Redoubtable, Spoor.


Of the "major" film studios the two that have had the biggest footprint at Telluride over the past few years are Warners and Paramount.

Warners has particularly become a consistent presence in the past five years:

2012: Argo
2013; Gravity, Prisoners
2015: Black Mass
2016: Sully

Certainly Argo and Gravity worked out well for them both in terms of financial success and Oscar success.  Less so for Black Mass and Sully.  Still, you'd have to think that there's a least a decent shpt that Warners returns in 2017 with one film,  So what's in the Warners cupboard that has Telluride potential?

The big question, and maybe the only question regarding Warners this fall and Telluride is:  Do they bring and does Telluride want Denis Villenueve's Blade Runner 2049?

I've been grappling with that question for most of the spring and into the summer.  The case for it is that it is from Warners and it is directed by Denis Villenueve and he and Telluride have a long and pleasant history:

1998-August 32nd on Earth

And as I have said a number of times, the inclusion in recent years of Gravity and Arrival make a pretty good empirical evidence for a film like Blade Runner 2049 to make the TFF lineup.

Finally, I suspect that BR 2049 is going to make a big splash when it opens Oct. 6th.  Too many people have wanted anxiously for so long for the sequel to the 1982 original and I believe Villenueve is going to make the material sing.


I still am not completely sold on the idea.  Had anyone been suggesting this style of film for Telluride prior to 2013 I almost certainly would have said "no way" with Villenueve attached or not.  And Villenueve's track record does show a pattern of gaps between Telluride appearances.  So BR 2049 is no cinch for a T-ride play.

Chances: 30%

And at this point, if BR 2049 does NOT play, I doubt Warners has a film at the fest in 2017.

Paramount Pictures has a spotty Telluride resume:

Arrival played in 2016
Anomalisa in 2015
Labor Day 2013
Up in the Air 2009

Paramount has, in my estimation, three films that they could be interested in bringing to Telluride:

Alexander Payne's Downsizing
George Clooney's Suburbicon
Darren Aronfsky's mother!

All three film makers have been at Telluride within the last few years.  Payne has become a regular and as you can see from the Ten Bets above, I expect him back again this year with Downsizing.

Clooney was in Telluride in 2011 with Payne's The Descendants.  Clooney was a tribute recipient that year but hasn't returned.

Aronofsky sneaked Black Swan at the fest in 2010.


Downsizing 75%
Suburbicon 30%
mother! 25%


We saw the first signs of Andy Serkis' directing debut yesterday with the trailer for Breathe and the announcement from the BFI-London Film Fest that it would open there on Oct. 4th as an European Premiere meaning that it will world premiere somewhere previously not on the European continent. That almost certainly means a play at Telluride, Toronto and/or New York.

My bet, at the moment is Toronto.

The film is being distributed by Bleeker Street Media which partnered with Netflix in 2015 to release Beasts of No Nation.

Here's the trailer for Breathe from YouTube:

And that's a wrap for Friday.  Enjoy your weekend.


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