Reel Women: November UK Releases

Welcome back to Reel Women, the monthly feature that highlights the films being released in the UK that are written and/or directed by women. The clocks have gone back, it’s dark and cold outside, so what better way to spend the dark evenings than in the cinema?! This month there’s dramas, rom-coms and the start of the Christmas-themed releases. Oh, and there’s a little film about wizards and another small animated film featuring well-known Disney characters.

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2 November

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms

Directed by Lasse Hallström and Joe Johnston
Written by Ashleigh Powell and Tom McCarthy

When Clara (Mackenzie Foy) is transported to a magical world of her mother’s making, she’ll do anything to protect it.

The Nutcracker and the Four Realms is Ashleigh Powell’s first produced screenplay. She’s attached to adapt the books The Paper Magician and The Hazel Wood into screenplays.

 

Juliet, Naked

Directed by Jesse Peretz
Written by Evgenia Peretz, Jim Taylor and Tamara Jenkins

After Annie (Rose Byne) breaks up with Duncan (Chris O’Dowd), she embarks on an unlikely romance with a famous singer-songwriter who happened to be Duncan’s favourite musician.

Tamara Jenkins is a writer-director who was Oscar nominated for her original screenplay The Savages (2007). Her latest film, Private Life, is a new Netflix Original. Evgenia Peretz is a writer and producer, Juliet, Naked is her second produced screenplay.

 

King of Crime

Directed by Matt Gambell
Written by Linda Dunscombe

The biggest player in British cyber-crime goes head to head against some Islamic extremists by playing the biggest scam of his life.

As well as writing King of Crime, Linda Dunscombe was also a producer on the film, and the films casting director.

 

 

6 November

Widows

Directed by Steve McQueen
Written by Gillian Flynn and Steve McQueen

Four women whose dead husbands’ criminal actives leave them in trouble, conspire to come together to survive the forces that are out to get them.

Gillian Flynn is an author and screenwriter who adapted her own novel, Gone Girl (2014) to critical acclaim earning her a Golden Globe nomination.

 

 

9 November

Wildlife

Directed by Paul Dano
Written by Paul Dano and Zoe Kazan

A boy witnesses his parents’ (Carey Mulligan and Jake Gyllenhaal) marriage fall apart.

Zoe Kazan is an actress and screenwriter whose acting credits include What If (2013), Meek’s Cutoff (2010) and The Big Sick (2017). Her previous screenplay was Ruby Sparks (2012) in which she played the titular role.

Our review

 

Outlaw King

Directed by David Mackenzie
Written by Mark Bomback, Bathsheba Doran, David Harrower, James MacInnes and David Mackenzie

The story of how Scottish Robert The Bruce (Chris Pine) fought to defeat and repel the much larger occupying English army.

Outlaw King is Bathsheba Doran’s first feature film, but she’s written episodes of multiple TV shows including Broadwalk Empire and Masters of Sex.

Our review

 

The Other Side of Everything

Directed by Mila Turajlic

A documentary about Serbian filmmaker Mila Turajlic, who learns more about her family history and her country’s tumultuous political inheritance after opening a locked door in her mother’s apartment in Belgrade.

Mila Turajlic is a producer and director who was also the cinematographer for The Other Side of Everything.

 

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16 November

Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald

Directed by David Yates
Written by J.K. Rowling

Albus Dumbledore (Jude Law) tasks Newt Scamander (Eddie Redmayne) to take down Gellert Grindelwald (Johnny Depp) who believes wizards are better than muggles.

J.K. Rowling needs no introduction. After writing the Harry Potter book series that turned into a global phenomenon, Rowling is now the writing the screenplays for the Fantastic Beasts series.

 

The Princess Switch

Directed by Mike Rohl
Written by Robin Bernheim and Megan Metzger

Netflix’s first Christmas themed film of the year, The Princess Switch is about how one week before Christmas, Margaret, the gorgeous Duchess of Montenaro, switches places with Stacy, a “commoner” from Chicago, who looks exactly like her.

Robin Bernheim is a writer and producer of films and TV shows including Quantum Leap and Star Trek: Voyager. The Princess Switch is Megan Mertzger is first produced screenplay.

 

Hell Fest

Directed by Gregory Plotkin
Written by Seth M. Sherwood, Blair Butler and Akela Cooper

A masked serial killer turns a horror-themed amusement park into his own personal hunting ground.

Blair Butler is a writer, director and producer. Hell Fest is her first feature film. Hell Fest is Akela Cooper’s first feature film screenplay as well but she has written multiple episodes of the TV shows Grimm, Luke Cage and The 100.

 

 

23 November

Back to Berlin

Directed by Catherine Lurie-Alt

Documentary about eleven motor bikers have a mission to take the Maccabiah torch from Israel to the site of the infamous 1936 Berlin Olympics, for the first Jewish Olympic Games on German soil.

This is Catherine Lurie-Alt’s first film.

Nativity Rocks!

Written & Directed by Debbie Isitt

The fourth film about St Bernadette’s Primary School in Coventry and the staff and students there who audition for a coveted place in a spectacular Christmas rock musical competition.

Debbie Isitt has written and directed all four Nativity films – the first two films, starring Martin Freeman and David Tennant, are on Netflix if you fancy getting into the Christmas spirit early.

The Judge

Directed by Erika Cohn

Documentary about Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first woman appointed to a Shari’a court in the Middle East.

Erika Cohn is a producer and writer and The Judge is her second feature-length documentary.

 

 

30 November

Ralph Breaks the Internet

Directed by Phil Johnston and Rich Moore
Written by Phil Johnston and Pamela Ribon

Ralph and Penelope discover the internet and go on a whole new adventure.

Pamela Ribon is an actress, producer and writer whose previous screenwriting credits include Smurfs: The Lost Village (2017).

 

Disobedience

Directed by Sebastián Lelio
Written by Sebastián Lelio and Rebecca Lenkiewicz

Ronit (Rachel Weisz) returns home to her Jewish community after being shunned by them years before for her attraction to a female friend. When Ronit and Esti (Rachel McAdams) meet again their passions reignite.

Disobedience is Rebecca Lenkiewicz’s second feature film. Her previous film was Oscar winner Ida (2013) and her next film is Colette starring Keira Knightley which is released in the UK early next year.

 

The Wild Pear Tree

Directed by Nuri Bilge Ceylan
Written by Akin Aksu, Ebru Ceylan and Nuri Bilge Ceylan

An aspiring writer returns to his native village, where his father’s debts catch up to him.

Ebru Ceylan is a writer and director whose debut short film Kiyida (1998) was nominated for the Palme d’Or for Best Short Film at Cannes Film Festival. The Wild Pear Tree is her third feature-length screenplay.


And that’s it for this month’s Reel Women. That’s 16 films from a wide range of genres that are released in the UK that are made by women in November. Do let us know what you think of any of these films if you get a chance to see them – some might be easier to find than others!

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Weekend BO Report: ‘Venom’ Smashes The October Opening Record With $80m

Written by Dapo Olowu

In a year where ‘Black Panther’ became the 3rd biggest film of all time in the States, ‘Infinity War’ broke both the domestic and worldwide opening record, and ‘Incredibles 2’ became the only animation to break $600m in the U.S.A., it’s really no surprise that Spider-Man spinoff ‘Venom’, even with poor reviews, became another superhero record-breaker. Its $80.3m opening completely smashes the October record of $55.8m held by 2013s ‘Gravity’, and almost certainly has Sony greenlighting a sequel as we speak.

It’s almost double that of nearest competitor ‘A Star is Born’, whose $42.9m is the 4th biggest musical opening of all time (behind ‘Beauty & The Beast’, ‘Pitch Perfect 2’, and ‘High School Musical 3’). In-line with our expectations, it also grossed around $14.2m from 31 countries, including $5.3m from the U.K. This, of course, again couldn’t compare to the might of ‘Venom’; its $125.2m from around 60 countries gave it the October record for a global opening, too. What’s even more impressive is that it managed well over $100m without China, who isn’t getting a release until November 2nd.

The question now for the two films is, where can they go from here? Both films have very different target audiences in mind, with ‘Venom’s young male audience (59% male, 64% under 25) differing massively from ‘ASIB’s older female crowd (66% female, 86% over 25). The two thus won’t have to concern themselves with eating into eachother’s markets, and while ‘Venom’ has barely any superhero competition until ‘Aquaman’, ‘ASIB’s critical reception (including an A on Cinemascore) should provide it with a lengthy Box Office run.

To be precise, a performance similar to ‘Gone Girl’ would see Bradley Cooper’s directing debut close in on $200m domestically, and a run like ‘The Amazing Spider-Man 2’s would see ‘Venom’ end on a solid $180m – a success story for both movies. Of course, ‘TASM 2’ being a summer blockbuster and ‘Gone Girl’ being based on a best-selling book means we should take these comparisons with a pinch of salt, but their opening weekend performances show real potential for breakout hits.

Last weekend’s winner ‘Night School’ saw a 54% fall to gross $12.5m, in behind ‘Smallfoot’s $14.4m. The Universal Studios comedy is now just $3m away from $50m domestically, while ‘Smallfoot’s just $7.7m away from the same number. Rom-com ‘Crazy Rich Asians$2.2m leaves it on $169.2m in the U.S., just $7m away from becoming the 5th biggest romantic comedy in American history.

We only saw ‘Venom’ doing $65m this weekend, so how surprised were you by its gross? And with Bradley Cooper’s directing debut earning rave reviews and $42.9m, is a star truly born here? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: ‘A Star Is Born’ Will Shine Bright But ‘Venom’s $65m Opening Will give It Top Spot

Written by Dapo Olowu

It’s here. It’s finally here.

After 21 years (yes, 21) after it was first considered a viable project, Sony’s ‘Venom’ hits U.S. shores on Friday, looking to dim the light of Bradley Cooper’s A Star is Born’. The Spider-Man spinoff ‘Venom’, starring Tom Hardy and Riz Ahmed, aims to kick things off with a $65m gross, making it the biggest opening for an October release ever, comfortably beating ‘Gravity’s $55.8m from 2013.

This isn’t to say that ‘A Star is Born’ won’t open big. The R-rated musical, the 3rd remake of the 1937 classic, should earn $40m in its first 3 days – just under ‘High School Musical 3: Senior Year’s $42m to become the 3rd biggest opening for a musical ever. There’s a strong belief that the $36m-budgeted Warner Bros. flick could even break $50m, a figure that transforms the romantic drama from light counter-programming to a viable competitor for ‘Venom’.

Differing audiences aside, it’s easy to see why: both films are fronted by Hollywood A-listers, (Cooper, Gaga, Sam Elliott, & Dave Chappelle vs. Hardy, Ahmed, Michelle Williams, & Jenny Slate), and both stem from pretty popular source material. Lady Gaga fans have even taken to creating fake Twitter accounts to trash ‘Venom’ and bolster the musical’s opening figures, as if the Sony/Marvel film’s 30% Tomatometer score isn’t hurting it enough.

The apparent hurt may even have dulled the excitement for ‘Venom’, which had been flying high for months (the April trailer even broke into the top 20 most-watched worldwide ever within 24 hours). While a few at first predicted an opening closer to $100m, tracking has fallen to under $70m, for an opening close to ‘X-Men: Apocalypse’.

This may still be good enough to kick off the franchise Sony hoped for, especially as its international release from 59 markets this weekend (not including Japan and China) may bring in an additional $100m. The film, directed by ‘Zombieland’s Ruben Fleischer, features journalist Eddie Brock (Hardy), who investigates the operations of the Life Foundation and its CEO, Carlton Drake (Ahmed), but gets attached to an alien symbiote.

A Star is Born’, on the other hand, is a critical hit that’s even been touted for awards come the end of the year. After working its way through various festivals (Venice, Toronto, San Sebastián, and Zurich), it’s now boasting 93% on Rotten Tomatoes to further bolster audience anticipation. It stars Cooper (who also directed, produced, and wrote) as musician Jackson Maine, who falls for young, unknown singer Ally (Lady Gaga).

Looking past the opening weekend, we can’t see ‘Venom’ having as strong a run as ‘A Star is Born’. B.O. runs like Sony’s previous ‘Spider-Man’ films with similar critical receptions (‘TASM 2 and ‘Spider-Man 3’) have ‘Venom’ barely reaching $150m, while ‘A Star is Born’ could have a chance of reaching $200m domestically. It’s the final gross that studios ultimately look upon, meaning while ‘Venom’ will be happy winning the opening weekend battle, it’ll be the longer legs (sorry, lungs) of ‘A Star is Born’ that’ll win it the domestic war.

Elsewhere, last weekend’s top 2 ‘Night School’ and ‘Smallfoot’ continue their own battle, looking to gross close to $13m respectively. Slasher film ‘Hell Fest’ will remain in the top ten by the skin of its teeth, earning around $2m to bring its domestic figure to $10m.

It’s unlikely, but could ‘A Star is Born’ muster a surprise to win this weekend? Where do you see both films ending? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Report: ‘Night School’ Gets An A With The Biggest Comedy Opening Of The Year

Written by Dapo Olowu

It may not have hit the $30m heights we expected, but the $27.3m earned by ‘Night School’ in its freshman weekend still put it comfortably atop of the Box Office class, and confirmed its place as the U.S.’s biggest comedy opening of 2018.

Who said comedies were dead?

In a year where we’ve had to rely on rom-com ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ to provide the genre’s biggest opening at $26.5m, Kevin Hart and Tiffany Haddish proved that creating an original comedy isn’t just possible, but profitable. The Malcolm D. Lee flick, Universal’s Studios’ second consecutive number one, received a respectable A- on Cinemascore, right in-line with other Hart films such as ‘Think Like a Man Too’, which opened to $29.2m and finished on a solid $65.2m in 2014.

It also marks co-lead Haddish’s second biggest opening of all time, and her second $20m+ opening after appearing in just 6 films.

A lack of direct competition in coming weeks gives ‘Night School’ some breathing space as we enter the tail-end of the year, and coupled with the opening weekend’s audience nearly hitting all four major quadrants (even gender splits and 59% being over-25), the legs on this film could definitely stretch. ‘Johnny English 3’s the next real test, and that comes into play at the end of October. Daylight, it seems, is on the horizon for ‘Night School’.

From marvellous to just ‘meh’, Warner Bros’ ‘Smallfoot’ stomped in at number 2 with $23m – again just under our forecast. It’s not a bad opening, but isn’t really a great one either for a film with an $80m budget. Just like ‘Storks’ from 2016 and recent PG films, it’s child-friendly nature and decent critical reception should be enough for the film to leg it out, although it faces heavy competition from ‘Goosebumps 2’ next Friday.

Its international footprint was similarly unremarkable. It made $14m from 49 countries, bettering ‘Night School’s $5.5m from 14, for a worldwide total thus far of $38.5m. Still, it’s domestic weekend gross was enough to almost double that of ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’, whose $12.6m leaves last weekend’s winner just $6m away from hitting the $50m domestic mark.

Gregory Plotkin’s slasher ‘Hell Fest’ may not have frightened the Box Office, but Lionsgate won’t be complaining, as a $5.1m start off of a similar budget is decent business. The C on Cinemascore, 37% on Rotten Tomatoes, and the fact that 40% of its gross so far was made on the opening Friday alone means that, on the other hand, it’ll be incredibly front-loaded, but with horror films like this potentially better-suited for Blu-ray and digital releases, ‘Hell Fest’, unlike its viewers, won’t be losing any sleep.

The weekend’s final wide release, drama ‘Little Women’, opened to almost half of our expectations, bringing in a paltry $705k from just 643 cinemas across the United States. The seventh adaptation of the ‘Little Women’ book at least ends this report on a high note – it marks studio Pinnacle Peak’s biggest ever opening for a film. Sure, it’s also the only film they’ve ever released, but that doesn’t have the same ring to it, does it?

So ‘Night School’ becomes the biggest comedy opening of the year, but where does it go from here? Could it realistically hit $75m? Also, do any other comedies coming out between now and December realistically challenge its crown?

Let me know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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Weekend BO Predictions: ‘Night School’ To Teach Other Comedies A Lesson With Its $30m+ Opening

Written by Dapo Olowu

We here at JUMPCUT love a good Box Office race.

Two new films, Universal Studio’s ‘Night School’ and Warner Bros’ ‘Smallfoot’, aim to please fans and those (well, me) looking for a close fight for first place in the B.O. standings this weekend. Both look likely to earn close to $30m, although the comedy ‘Night School’ should finish top of the class by Sunday night. The film, starring the likes of Tiffany Haddish and Kevin Hart, revolves around a group of adults who attend night school in the hopes of passing their high school exams.

It’ll definitely pass the commercial test – Kevin Hart is rapidly becoming Box Office gold for comedy movies, while Tiffany Haddish still has enough heat off of last summer’s hit ‘Girls Trip’ to draw in the cinemagoers.

Helmed by ‘Girls Trip’ director Malcolm D. Lee and produced by Will Packer (who also produced ‘Girls Trip’), its 30% on the Tomatometer won’t stop this from being the biggest comedy opening of 2018 – a year full of disappointment for the genre. While films like ‘Life of the Party’ and ‘I Feel Pretty’ may have suffered from an over-reliance on a singular waning lead, ‘Night School’ bucks the trend by having two of the biggest comedians in the world (Kevin Hart alone has around 100m social media followers) take top billing.

Girls Trip’ opened to $31.2m last summer, while some of Kevin Hart’s recent films, like ‘Jumanji’ ($36.2m), ‘Central Intelligence’ ($35.5m), ‘Ride Along 2’ ($35.2m), and ‘Get Hard’ ($33.8m) have also consistently opened over the $30m mark. There’s a strong chance for ‘Night School’ to do the same, and we’re expecting a finish around $33m.

Following closely is ‘Smallfoot’, the $80m-budget adventure animation starring a host of famous faces (or voices). Channing Tatum, Zendaya, LeBron James, Danny DeVito, and Gina Rodriguez, among many others, feature in this adaptation of the book ‘Yeti Tracks’ by Sergio Pablos, and looks to earn up to three times as much as the last WB animation (‘Teen Titans Go!’) opened to back in July.

After ‘The House With a Clock in Its Walls’ release last weekend, ‘Smallfoot’ will be hoping to not be in its second weekend shadow, as the family audience both films aim for are now more spoilt for choice. ‘Smallfoot’ wins the battle in the critical department (75% on Rotten Tomatoes), but as it isn’t a Disney/Pixar release, or even from Illumination (‘Minions’, ‘Secret Life of Pets’), we’re capping its opening at $26m – similar to ‘The House’, and also fellow child-friendly release ‘Christopher Robin’ from last month.

Talking about ‘The House’, last weekend’s victor should gross just under $15m to keep it alongside 2016s fantasy ‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’, which earned $15.1m in its second Friday to Sunday run. Both are below ‘The House’ star Jack Black’s other Halloween flick, 2015s ‘Goosebumps’ second weekend, which brought in $15.5m on its way to an $80.1m domestic gross.

The Halloween films don’t stop coming either – slasher-horror ‘Hell Fest’ looks to claim multiple Box Office victims from just 2,300 cinemas. It’s perhaps been a little under the radar in the States when compared to ‘Night School’ and ‘Smallfoot’, especially with its modest $5.5m budget, but this could definitely spring a nasty surprise. Its young, female cast, lead by Amy Forsyth, Reign Edwards, and Bex Taylor-Klaus, hopes to better last weekend’s similarly-targeted ‘Assassination Nation’, and should with a gross near $7m.

The final new wide release this weekend is drama ‘Little Women’, showing in only 643 cinemas across the U.S for a likely gross of $1.2m. Fun fact: ‘Little Women’, directed by Clare Niederpruem, is an adaptation of a 150-year-old novel (called – get this – ‘Little Women’) and marks the 7th time a film has been made from the book, after versions released in 1917, 1918, 1933, 1949, 1978, and 1994. Next year sees Greta Gerwig direct the latest adaptation, aiming for a Christmas release.

‘Night School’ should be crowned the victor this weekend, marking yet another strong opening for Kevin Hart. Is he a bonafide Box Office star? Let us know your thoughts on Twitter and Instagram – we’re at @JUMPCUT_ONLINE.

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