Emerald Fennell’s dark comedy Saltburn takes a massive jump from to over 1,500 screens today as Bradley Cooper’s Maestro, Hayao Miyazaki’s latest The Boy and the Heron, animated They Shot The Piano Player and other festival favorites launch awards season runs this Thanksgiving specialty weekend.
Apple, opening Napoleon wide with Sony, is also planting a flag for evergreen status for last year’s holiday romp Spirited, a musical retelling of A Christmas Carol with singing, dancing Ryan Reynolds and Will Ferrell.
Maestro, presented by Netflix, raises the baton in ten locations including New York and LA today and plans to add more theaters weekly. The anticipated Venice-premiering film – see Deadline review — was directed by and stars Bradley Cooper as the iconic conductor and composer Leonard Bernstein, with Carey Mulligan as his wife of 25 years, Felicia Montealegre Cohn Bernstein. Cooper is also a co-writer and producer alongside Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Kristie Macosko Krieger, Fred Berner and Amy Durning. With Sarah Silverman Maya Hawke, Sam Nivola and Matt Bomer. Streaming Dec. 20.
Miyazaki’s The Boy and the Heron from GKIDS, the latest from Studio Ghibli, starts limited qualifying engagements in NY (Angelika and Lincoln Square) and LA (Burbank and Century City), playing both the subtitled and English-dubbed version that features Christian Bale, Dave Bautista, Gemma Chan, Willem Dafoe, Karen Fukuhara, Mark Hamill, Robert Pattinson and Florence Pugh.
GKIDS says presales are extremely strong and is hoping to build on good reviews and word of mouth that started at the TIFF premiere (see Deadline review). After the previews, Imax will debut the film nationwide on Monday, Dec. 4, with additional early access screenings that Wed., Dec 6. Opens officially December 8.
Re-release: A reprise of Spirited the Apple Original Films modern rendition of the Charles Dickens classic that premiered in theaters last November and moved quickly to Apple TV+, where it still lives. The film by Sean Anders is getting a re-release Friday at about 130 locations in the U.S. and Canada and 260+ theaters in the UK/Ireland. (Ryan Reynolds is Scrooge and Will Ferrell, the Ghost Christmas Present). “Good Afternoon”, a number from the film, was shortlisted for Best Original Song at the Oscars. Also stars Octavia Spencer, Patrick Page, Sunita Mani, Loren Woods, Joe Tippett, Marlow Barkley and Jen Tullock. Deadline review here.
Expansions: Saltburn by Emerald Fennell (Promising Young Woman), from Amazon/MGM Studios and MRC, leaps from seven screens to 1,566 nationwide. The dark comedy stars Barry Keoghan and Jacob Elordi as friends from Oxford University who spend an eventful summer at the latter’s lavish family estate. It grossed an impressive $315.5k last weekend, opening with a per-theater average of of $45k, one of the year’s best. The eccentric dark comedy debuted at Telluride, Deadline review here.
A24’s Dream Scenario starring Nicolas Cage expands Friday in week three to about 100 screens (from six at opening, and 25 last weekend). Kristoffer Borgli’s comedy-drama about a middle-aged everyman who shoots to fame after suddenly starting to appear in random people’s dreams, goes nationwide Dec. 1. Premiered at Toronto, see Deadline review.
Alexander Payne’s The Holdovers from Focus Features expands slightly to 1,545 screens today (up 67 theaters from last weekend), and moves to 1,600 locations on Thursday. The film has been expanding week to week in a slow platform release since its October opening. Paul Giamatti stars as a grumpy boarding school professor stuck on campus over Christmas break to babysit a troubled student. Premiered at Telluride, Deadline review here.
Mubi’s Fallen Leaves by Aki Kaurismäki’s (Le Havre, The Other Side of Hope) opened in NYC this past weekend and is expanding to LA Wednesday and San Francisco on Friday before going wider throughout December. Winner of the Jury Prize at Cannes, recent recipient of five European Film Awards nominations, named the best of film of the year by the International Federation of Film Critics, and Finland’s submission to the 2024 Academy Awards for Best International Feature. See Deadline review.
Other new openings: Sony Pictures Classics is releasing animated feature They Shot The Piano Player for a one-week Academy run starting Friday in NY/LA at Village East and Laemmle Royal. The film, from Fernando Trueba and Javier Mariscal, two of the directors behind Oscar-nominated animated feature Chico and Rita, is narrated by Jeff Goldblum and follows a New York music journalist on a quest to uncover the truth behind the mysterious disappearance of young Brazilian piano virtuoso Tenorio Jr. A celebratory origin story of the world-renowned Latino musical movement Bossa Nova, the film captures a fleeting time bursting with creative freedom at a turning point in Latin American history in the ’60s and ’70s just before the continent was engulfed by totalitarian regimes. Premiered at TIFF.
Prolific Japanese filmmaker Hirokazu Kore-eda’s (Broker, Shoplifters, Like Father, Like Son) Monster from Well Go USA opens at IFC Center and AMC Empire Wednesday. Moves to LA (Landmark NuArt, AMC Atlantic Times Square) and Chicago (Gene Siskel Film Center, AMC Streets of Woodfield) on Dec. 1. Premiered at Cannes, Deadline review here. Stars Ando Sakura as a widowed mother looking for answers from evasive teachers and administrators as to why her son is going through tough times at school.
Greenwich Entertainment presents doc Smoke Sauna Sisterhood by Anna Hints in NYC (IFC) and LA (Royal) on Friday with a 60-day theatrical exclusive. An immersive doc about the healing tradition of the Estonian smoke sauna and how it served as safe place for women to both give birth and share secrets. Won Best Directing prize at Sundance, a nominee for Best Documentary for the European Film Awards, and Estonia’s official selection for the Best International Feature Oscar. Greenwich is campaigning for both Best Documentary and Best International.
Frederik Wiseman’s documentary opens Wed. at Film Forum from the director’s Zippora Films. Heads to LA (Laemmle Royal) and Detroit Friday, and a handful of other cities into January. The story of the Troisgros family restaurant, founded in 1930 in central France, which has been holding three Michelin stars for 55 years over four generations, as Michel Troisgros, the third generation to head the restaurant, has turned over the responsibility for the cuisine to his son César. From vegatable market to cheese processing plant, to a vineyard, an organic cattle ranch and the backyard garden supplying the restaurant, Wiseman explores the artistry, ingenuity, imagination and hard work of staff in creating, preparing and presenting meals.
Abramorama presents doc Billion Dollar Babies: The True Story of the Cabbage Patch Kids by Andrew Jenks (Room 335, The Zen of Bobby), narrated and executive produced by Neil Patrick Harris and featuring interviews with Cabbage Patch Kids’ creator Xavier Roberts, journalist Connie Chung and Al Kahan, former marketing head of the Coleco, the company that produced the beloved 1980s dolls. Opens Friday (“just in time for Black Friday and the 40th anniversary of Cabbage Patch dolls” as per press notes) for one-week runs in a handful of markets include NYC (Look Dine-In Cinema W57th) and LA (Laemmle Monica). Premiered at Tribeca 2022.
Two more from Netflix: Disaster thriller Leave The World Behind by Sam Esmail opens Wednesday at about 40 theaters in 20 markets. Stars Julia Roberts and Ethan Hawke as a couple on a beach vacation with their kids (Farrah Mackenzie, Charlie Evans) when something really odd happens. With Mahershala Ali and Kevin Bacon. Based on the 2020 novel by Rumaan Alam. Opened AFI Fest last month, see Deadline review. Streaming Dec. 8.
And documentary American Symphony by Matthew Heineman, about musician, Oscar, Grammy and Golden Globe winner Jon Batiste. Opens Friday at IFC Center in NYC and Laemmle Monica Film Center in LA. Premiered at Telluride. Streaming Nov. 29.