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MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT -- CANNES COUNTDOWN -- 4/17/17


 
THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS -- MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS -- MICHELLE RODRIGUEZ

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS - CHARLIZE THERON

THE FATE OF THE FURIOUS - CHARLIZE THERON

MARTIN GROVE'S HOLLYWOOD REPORT --

CANNES COUNTDOWN -- 4/17/17

 

Cannes countdown: There's no official start to the awards season, but for many Hollywood handicappers it begins with the countdown to the Cannes Film Festival.

Cannes, which is celebrating its 70th festival year from May 17-28, has been a high profile global media opportunity for Oscar hopefuls for many years. But looking at this year's lineup, which was announced in Paris last Thursday, Cannes may be marginalizing itself as an Oscar influencer.

To begin with, there are no big studio movies playing in or out of competition this year, as of this writing. These may not be the films that win the festival's Palme d'Or or take home the best picture Oscar nowadays, but they do sometimes get into the race and help spark interest in the Oscars and attract viewers to the telecast.

This time around, the biggest presence in Cannes isn't from a major studio but from digital streamers Amazon and Netflix, each of which has two selections playing.

Over the years, the festival's opening night selection has at times been regarded as a launch pad for Oscar hopefuls. But looking back at the last six years shows how little that prime Cannes exposure can mean when it comes to the Oscar race. In fact, only once in the past six years has a best picture Oscar nom gone to an opening night Cannes selection – and that was in 2011 to Woody Allen's very well received "Midnight in Paris."

Last year, Allen's romantic comedy "Cafe Society" was the Out of Competition opener, but wasn't well received. The low budget indie production, which was released domestically by Sony Pictures Classics, starred Steve Carell, Jesse Eisenberg and Blake Lively. "CS" grossed $11.1 million domestically and $32.7 million internationally. It received no Oscar nominations.

In 2015, Emmanuelle Bercot's French drama "Standing Tall" opened the festival, playing out of competition. It starred Catherine Deneuve, Rod Paradot, Benoît Magimel. "ST" received a minimal domestic release via Cohen Media Group, grossing just $26,144. It received no Oscar nominations.

In 2014, Olivier Dahan's romantic biographical drama "Grace of Monaco" kicked off the festivities, playing out of competition. The low budget indie production starred Nicole Kidman, Paz Vega and Tim Roth. It was not well received at Cannes and didn't have a  domestic theatrical release. "GOM" grossed $26.6 million internationally. It received no Oscar nominations.

2013's first nighter was Baz Lurhmann's romantic drama "The Great Gatsby," which played out of competition. It starred Leonardo DiCaprio, Carey Mulligan and Joel Edgerton and reportedly cost $105 million to produce. "TGG" was released domestically by Warner Bros. and grossed $144.8 million plus $206.2 million internationally. It was Oscar nominated for costume design and production design and won in both categories in 2014.

In 2012, the opening night selection was Wes Anderson's comedy drama "Moonrise Kingdom," which played In Competition and starred Bruce Willis, Edward Norton and Bill Murray. It was released domestically by Focus Features and did $45.5 million plus $22.8 million internationally. "MK," which reportedly cost $16 million to produce, received one Oscar nom for best original screenplay.

2011's opener was Woody Allen's fantasy romantic comedy hit "Midnight in Paris," which played out of competition and starred Owen Wilson, Rachel McAdams and Marion Cotillard. It was released domestically by Sony Pictures Classics and did $56.8 million plus $94.3 million internationally. "MIP," which reportedly cost $17 million to produce, received four Oscar nods – for best picture, directing, original screenplay and art direction. It won for original screenplay (by Allen).

Cannes's opening night platform isn't much help when it comes to Oscar's best picture race and neither is winning the Palme d'Or. Looking back at the last six years of Palme d'Or winners, only twice has the Palme d'Or winner gotten an Oscar best picture nom -- and those were five and six years ago:

 

2016: "I, Daniel Blake"

DIRECTOR: Ken Loach ("Jimmy's Hall")

OSCAR NOMS: None

 

2015: "Dheepan"

DIRECTOR: Jacques Audiard ("Rust and Bone")

OSCAR NOMS: None

 

2014: "Winter Sleep"

DIRECTOR: Nuri Bilge Ceylan ("Once Upon a Time in Anatolia")

OSCAR NOMS: None

 

2013: "Blue is the Warmest Color"

DIRECTOR: Abdellatif Kechiche ("Black Venus")

OSCAR NOMS: None

 

2012: "Amour"

DIRECTOR: Michael Haneke ("The White Ribbon")

OSCAR NOMS: Five noms – best picture, best foreign language film, best directing, best original screenplay (Haneke) and best actress (Emmanuelle Riva). One win -- best foreign language film.

 

2011: "The Tree of Life"

DIRECTOR: Terrence Malick ("Days of Heaven")

OSCAR NOMS: Three noms – best picture, best directing and best cinematography (Emmanuel Lubezki). No wins.

 

Of course, that doesn't mean that 2017 won't turn out differently. You never know and Cannes sometimes delivers surprises. Here's a quick look (in no particular order) at some of the high profile films announced last week for the 70th annual Cannes Film Festival.

 

TITLE: "Ismael's Ghosts"

COUNTRY: France

DIRECTOR: Arnaud Desplechin ("My Golden Days")

STARS: Marion Cotillard, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Louis Garrell, Mathieu Amalric

GENRE: Drama

CANNES PEDIGREE: Desplechin is a five time Palme d'Or nominee – in 1992 for "La Sentinelle," in 1996 for "My Sex Life...or How I Got Into an Argument," in 2000 for "Esther Kahn," in 2008 for "A Christmas Tale" and in 2013 for "Jimmy P." He won the Directors' Fortnight SACD Prize in 2015 for "My Golden Days."         

Gainsbourg won best actress at Cannes in 2009 for "Antichrist."    

Garrell was nominated in 2015 for the Golden Camera and Queer Palm awards for "Two Friends," which he directed, co-wrote and starred in.

Almaric won best director and the international press FIPRESCI award in 2010 for "On Tour." He was nominated in 2014 for the Un Certain Regard Award for "The Blue Room."

Cotillard won the Chopard Trophy in 2004 for Female Revelation, but has not been a best actress nominee at Cannes. She won the best actress Oscar in 2008 for "La Vie En Rose" and was a best actress Oscar nominee in 2015 for "Two Days, One Night."

DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION: Magnolia Pictures

NOTES: This is the Opening Night Film and is playing Out of Competition, so it's not in the Palme d'Or race. If "Ghosts" were playing In Competition, with its strong Cannes pedigree it would likely be a Palme d'Or frontrunner.

 

TITLE: "The Beguiled"

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Sofia Coppola ("Lost in Translation")

STARS: Nicole Kidman, Elle Fanning, Kirsten Dunst

GENRE: Drama set in Civil War period Virginia

CANNES PEDIGREE: Coppola was a Palme d'Or nominee in 2006 for "Marie Antoinette," for which she won the Cinema Prize of the French National Education System. She was nominated in 2013 for the Un Certain Regard Award for "The Bling Ring."

Dunst won best actress at Cannes in 2011 for "Melancholia."

Kidman will have a very high profile at Cannes. Besides "Beguiled," she'll also be seen in: John Cameron Mitchell's romantic comedy "How to Talk to Girls at Parties," also starring Fanning (Out of Competition); and Yorgos Lanthimos' horror mystery "The Killing of a Sacred Deer" (In Competition).

DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION: Focus Features. Opens June 30.

NOTES: "Beguiled" is playing In Competition and is a Palme d'Or frontrunner given its glamorous red carpet star power and Coppola's high profile filmmaker luster. She received three Oscar noms for "Lost" – best picture, directing and original screenplay, for which she won. Also, this is one of those years when there could be sentiment at Cannes favoring female directors in general.

 

TITLE: "Wonderstruck"

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Todd Haynes ("Carol")

STARS: Amy Hargreaves, Michelle Williams, Julianne Moore

GENRE: Drama

CANNES PEDIGREE: Haynes was a Palme d'Or nominee in 1998 for "Velvet Goldmine," for which he won the Best Artistic Contribution Award. He was nominated in 2015 for the Palme d'Or for "Carol," for which he won the Queer Palm.

Dunst won best actress at Cannes in 2011 for "Melancholia."

DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION: Amazon Studios.

NOTES: "Wonderstruck" is playing In Competition and given Haynes' past success at Cannes should be seen as a Palme d'Or frontrunner.

 

TITLE: "Redoubtable"

COUNTRY: France

DIRECTOR: Michel Hazanavicius ("The Artist")

STARS: Bérénice Bejo, Stacy Martin, Louis Garrel

GENRE: Biographical romantic drama

CANNES PEDIGREE: Hazanavicius is a two time Palme d'Or nominee -- in 2011 for "The Artist" and in 2014 for "The Search."

Bejo won best actress at Cannes in 2013 for "The Past."

Garrell was nominated in 2015 for the Golden Camera and Queer Palm awards for "Two Friends," which he directed, co-wrote and starred in. He's also starring in the opening night Cannes selection "Ismael's Ghosts" 

DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION: Available.

NOTES: "Redoubtable" is playing In Competition and with Hazanavicius's past Cannes noms, it's definitely a Palme d'Or frontrunner. Also helpful is that it's Hazanavicius's homage to France's legendary New Wave director Jean-Luc Godard. And, generally, it helps at Cannes to be a French film.

It also could help on the Oscar best picture track that Hazanavicius took home the best directing Oscar in 2012 for "The Artist," which won five Oscars, including best picture.

 

TITLE: "You Were Never Really Here"

COUNTRY: U.S.

DIRECTOR: Lynne Ramsay ("We Need to Talk

About Kevin")

STARS: Joaquin Phoenix, Ekaterina Samsonov, Alessandro Nivola

GENRE: Mystery thriller

CANNES PEDIGREE: Ramsay is a three time Palme d'Or nominee -- in 1996 for best short film for "Small Deaths," in 1998 for best short film for "Gasman" and in 2011 for "Kevin."

DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION: Amazon Studios.

NOTES: "Here" is playing In Competition and in view of the love Cannes has shown in the past for Ramsay, it's a Palme d'Or frontrunner. Like Sofia Coppola, Ramsay could benefit from possible sentiment at Cannes this year favoring female directors in general.

 

TITLE: "Happy End"

COUNTRY: France

DIRECTOR: Michael Haneke ("Amour")

STARS: Isabelle Huppert, Toby Jones, Mathieu Kassovitz

GENRE: Drama

CANNES PEDIGREE: Haneke is a Cannes veteran going back to 1997. He is a two time Palme d'Or winner -- in 2009 for "The White Ribbon," for which he won the FIPRESCI Prize, the Cinema Prize of the French National Education System and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury - Special Mention; and in 2012 for "Amour."

Haneke's also been a Palme d'Or nominee four additional times – in 1997 for "Funny Games;" in 2000 for "Code Unknown," for which he won the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury; in 2001 for "The Piano Teacher," for which he won the Grand Prize of the Jury; and in 2005 for "Caché," for which he won best director, the FIPRESCI Prize and the Prize of the Ecumenical Jury.

Huppert is a two time best actress winner at Cannes – in 1978 for "Violette" (tied with Jill Clayburg for "An Unmarried Woman"); and in 2001 for "The Piano Teacher." She received global media coverage in 2017 as a best actress Oscar nominee for "Elle."

Kassovitz is a two time Palme d'Or nominee – in 1995 for "La Haine," for which he won best director; and in 1997 for "Assassins." He won the Perspectives du Cinéma Award in 1991 for "Cauchemar Blanc."

DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION: Sony Pictures Classics.

NOTES: "Happy" is playing In Competition and considering how frequently Cannes has embraced Haneke over the years, this French language film belongs on any list of Palme d'Or frontrunners. Moreover, having Huppert on board will certainly be a high profile advantage at Cannes.

It could also help down the Oscar road that Haneke is a two time Oscar nominee – in 2013 for "Amour" for best directing and original screenplay.

 

TITLE: "The Day After"

COUNTRY: South Korea

DIRECTOR: Hang Sangsoo ("Yourself and Yours")

STARS: Min-hee Kim, Hae-hyo Kwon

GENRE: Drama

CANNES PEDIGREE: Sangsoo has done very well at Cannes since 2000. He's a three time Palme d'Or winner -- in 2004 for "Woman is the Future of Man;" in 2005 for "Tale of Cinema;" and in 2012 for "In Another Country."

He's also won three Un Certain Regard Awards – in 200 for "Virgin Stripped Bare by Her Bachelors;" in 2010 for "Hahaha;" and in 2011 for "The Day He Arrives."

DOMESTIC DISTRIBUTION: Available.

NOTES: "Day" is playing In Competition and given Sangsoo's long success at Cannes, it's also a Palme d'Or frontrunner. It also could be helpful that with South Korea now facing escalating danger from North Korea, there could be some solid political goodwill at Cannes for this South Korean movie.

         Bottom line: Hollywood always lives in the shadow of its past successes and last weekend's boxoffice is a perfect example of that.

         Despite Universal and Original Film's PG-13 rated action crime thriller "The Fate of the Furious" kicking off at high speed to $100.2 million, the weekend's total take still fell slightly short of this time last year.
         "Fate" also roared into international theatres last weekend

with a turbocharged $432.3 million in 63 territories, according to comScore, which said it "set the record as the biggest international weekend by a large margin, beating the previous record holder 'Jurassic World' with $316.7 million. Combined with the U.S. estimated gross of $100.2 million, the worldwide total is $532.5 million. The film is on track to be to beat 'Star Wars: The Force Awakens' worldwide opening of $529 million to make 'The Fate Of The Furious' the biggest global opening of all time." 

         If you missed last week's column tracking the boxoffice history of the entire "Fast and Furious" franchise, just click on this ZAMM link to check it out here.

         Overall, last weekend's $168 million in domestic ticket sales was down 5.6 percent from $177.9 million a year ago, per comScore.

         "The Jungle Book" arrived this time last year to a chart topping $103.3 million, which along with help from some other films in the Top Five resulted in last weekend being down not up.

         Last weekend, 20th Century Fox and DreamWorks Animation's PG rated 3D animated comedy "The Boss Baby" was second with $15.5 million (and a cume of $116.3 million) in its third week. But last year's second place title, "Barbershop: The Next Cut," opened to $20.2 million. That extra $4.7 million in ticket sales definitely helped the yearly comparison to favor 2016.

         Third place, however, favored this year – "Beauty and the Beast" with $13.6 million vs. "The Boss" with $10 million last year.

         But fourth place was solidly ahead last year -- $9 million for "Batman v Superman" compared to just $6.5 million for "Smurfs: the Lost Village" this year.

         And last year's number five film, "Zootopia," grossed $8.1 million while this year's fifth place title, "Going in Style," did just $6.4 million.

         The year, however, is looking good vs. 2016. This year's $3.425 billion boxoffice to date, according to comScore, is up 6.1 percent vs. $3.227 billion a year ago. A week earlier, 2017 was up 5.5 percent. It had been ahead 5.0 percent in comScore's tracking the prior weekend.