The future of 'Loving' versus the present of 'Midnight Special'


Over on the Austin Movie Blog, Charles Ealy reports that Austin director Jeff Nichols’ latest movie, “Loving,” was selected on April 14 for the Palme d’Or competition at this year’s Cannes Film Festival, which begins the second week of May. Nichols’ “Midnight Special” was part of the official competition at this year’s Berlin Film Festival in February, and his 2012 movie, “Mud,” was selected for the Cannes official competition. His 2011 movie, “Take Shelter,” won the top prize in the Cannes sidebar, Critics Week.

“Loving” focuses on the landmark civil rights case over an interracial marriage in Virginia in 1967 and stars Joel Edgerton and Ruth Negga as the couple, with a supporting role for longtime Nichols collaborator Michael Shannon.

Speaking of Nichols, one can’t help but wonder (and this is pure opinion) if Warner Bros is faintly botching the rollout of “Midnight Special.” The excellent sci-fi thriller screened at Berlin and South by Southwest before hitting five theaters March 18 with a tremendous $38,000 per screen average, followed by a 47 percent drop the next week. Not great, but not the end of the world. I assumed it would hit three figures’ worth of theaters by April 1, but no, only 58.

Hmmm. Maybe this is because I had been paying attention to it since before SXSW at that point, but when it finally hit 493 theaters by April 8, it felt as it the wave of excitement and marketing had somewhat died down. The grosses fell a jarring 61 percent by April 17. At this point, this elegant movie has grossed only $3 million.

Admittedly, it’s a combination of thriller, science fiction film and ’80s tribute, but one wishes it was given a blockbuster rollout in keeping with its connections to movies such as “E.T.” and “Close Encounters of the Third Kind.” It would have proven brilliant counterprogramming to something like “Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice.”

Oh, wait. Except “Batman” is also a Warner Brothers movies. Ah well.

Odds and ends

Alamo Drafthouse CEO Tim League was on CNBC on April 19 talking about the Drafthouse’s business model and what he sees as the Drafthouse’s role in a changing media landscape. The host does indeed contrast the experience of going to the Drafthouse with staying home “and just Netflixing and chill.” Kudos to Tim for keeping a straight face. Other takeaways: He remains a very big Bernie Sanders fan. This is the first time he’s felt fully engaged in politics in a long time. He still doesn’t like texting in movies …

The full lineup for the 19th annual Cine Las Americas festival can be found at the Austin Movie Blog

Austin filmmaker Clay Liford, whose most recent feature, “Slash,” was well-received at SXSW, headed to the Talkhouse for a terrific essay on fan engagement titled “Fanboys, Hollywood Owes You Nothing”… Speaking of “Slash,” Austin filmmaker Bryan Poyser, the editor on “Slash,” said on Twitter that he has finished the first draft of “Inpatient,” which is his next film …

In case you missed the SXSW keynote speeches, you can find them all at sxsw.com/film/conference/keynotes

Never let it be said we are not living in a golden age for movie scores on vinyl (other than the time when that was the only medium). Mondo is now distributing the score for “High-Rise” on LP. I saw “High-Rise” at Fantastic Fest and enjoyed it with reservations. The film is due out in May.


Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Movies & TV

Netflix executive apologizes, resigns after using racial slurs
Netflix executive apologizes, resigns after using racial slurs

Netflix’s chief communications officer apologized and resigned after using a racial slur in front of colleagues on at least two occasions, CNN reported Friday. >> Read more trending news Jonathan Friedland apologized on Twitter and said he was leaving the company after seven years. "I feel awful about the distress this lapse caused...
The best way to grill a burger keeps it off the grate
The best way to grill a burger keeps it off the grate

I used to have a sociological hamburger theory. Growing up in Philly and Michigan, I thought a hamburger was big and fat, the type my mom made, the kind (amped up in size and quality) made famous at the 21 Club in New York. My wife thought a hamburger was thin and crusty, the sort she ate at the Diamond Inn, a homey cafe in the small Central Texas...
Superman trades cape for badge: Dean Cain sworn in as reserve police officer in Idaho
Superman trades cape for badge: Dean Cain sworn in as reserve police officer in Idaho

Superman has changed uniforms. >> Read more trending news Actor Dean Cain, who played the Man of Steel in the show “Lois and Clark: The New Adventures of Superman,” was recently sworn in as a reserve officer in Idaho, Fox News reported. Cain, 51, was sworn in as a reserve for the St. Anthony Police Department, Fox News reported...
Former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul dead at 54
Former Pantera drummer Vinnie Paul dead at 54

Drummer Vinnie Paul, a founding member of the heavy metal band Pantera, died Friday night, the band announced on Facebook. He was 54. >> Read more trending news "Vincent Paul Abbott aka Vinnie Paul has passed away," Pantera wrote on Facebook. "Paul is best known for his work as the drummer in the bands Pantera and Hellyeah...
Recipe of the Week: Mark Bittman’s Grilled Chicken Breast en Escabeche
Recipe of the Week: Mark Bittman’s Grilled Chicken Breast en Escabeche

Mark Bittman’s “How to Cook Everything” books are reliable, creative and, most importantly, useful. Why are the recipes that fill those books so well-loved and easy to adapt? Because Bittman knows, perhaps more than any cookbook writer today, how we cook. Sometimes, we start to cook with nothing more than a craving — a fruit...
More Stories