Screen looks at the biggest local films to be released in their home territories this summer.
MONSIEUR PAPA [pictured]
Dir: Kad Merad
Local distributor: Pathé
Local release date: June 1
As an actor, Kad Merad is one of France’s most bankable stars. He starred in 2009’s biggest film, Le Petit Nicolas ($33.5m) and the biggest French film of all time, Welcome To The Sticks ($125m). Expectations are high for his directorial debut, in which he also stars, with Vincent Perez and Michele Laroque. Monsieur Papa is a comedy about a woman who hires a man to pretend to be her son’s father. Pathé is releasing the film on about 250 screens on France’s Ascension Day holiday weekend, an auspicious date in the territory’s release calendar.
Dir: Peter Ho-sun Chan
Local distributor: We Distribution
Local release date: Summer 2011
Wu Xia (literally, Swordsmen) marks the first on-screen pairing of China’s Donnie Yen and Japanese superstar Takeshi Kaneshiro, stars of Ip Man 2 ($33.2m) and Red Cliff: Part I ($53m) respectively. It is also the first time Peter Ho-sun Chan, whose most recent film The Warlords was the highest-grossing Chinese title in China in 2007, has directed a martial-arts picture. It is centred on a former martial-arts expert hunted down by a detective who has a hunch about his sinful past and former clan master. We Distribution is releasing the film in 10 Asian territories.
THE SKIN I LIVE IN
Dir: Pedro Almodovar
Local distributor: Warner Bros Spain
Local release date: September 2 (TBC)
Although Almodovar’s last film, the noir-ish Broken Embraces, was not embraced wholeheartedly by Spanish audiences in 2009 (it grossed $5.6m, compared with Volver’s $12.3m in 2006), an Almodovar film is always big news in the territory and Warner Bros Spain has high hopes for The Skin I Live In. It reunites Almodovar with his early muse, Antonio Banderas, who stars with a strong local supporting cast of Elena Anaya and Marisa Paredes. What’s more, it is a horror film.
WERNER - EISKALT!
Dirs: Gernot Roll, Rotger Feldmann
Local distributor: Constantin Film
Local release date: June 30
This, the fifth film in the hugely successful Werner series, rolls out this summer with creator Rotger Feldmann reprising his role in the part-animated action comedy. The four previous films, which were released between 1990 and 2003, have garnered more than 13 million admissions in Germany, although the fourth, Werner – Gekotzt Wird Spater!, made a series low of $7.9m. Constantin is opening the film against PPI’s Transformers: Dark Of The Moon to coincide with the start of the summer holidays in key German cities, including Berlin and Hamburg.
Dir: Cao Hamburger
Local distributor: Downtown Filmes
Local release date: August 19
Home-grown hits tend to be released earlier in the year in Brazil, which leaves the door open for environmental drama Xingu to make an impact this summer (which is actually winter in Brazil). Directed by Cao Hamburger, whose credits include local hit The Year My Parents Went On Vacation, Xingu tells the true story of the Villas Boas brothers, who created a reserve in the Xingu National Park. Awareness of the real-life story is high and the production has been documented on a popular blog. Xingu is produced by Fernando Meirelles and stars Caio Blat, who was in last year’s local hit O Bem Amado.
Dirs: Kimble Rendall, Russell Mulcahy
Local distributor: Paramount Pictures International
Local release date: TBC
Caving adventure film Sanctum grossed $3.9m in Australia earlier this year, so hopes are high for this similar release, shark-attack thriller Bait 3D. The cast is bolstered by a line-up of fresh-faced local stars, who are led by The Twilight Saga: Eclipse’s Xavier Samuel, as well as Phoebe Tonkin, whose credits include Tomorrow, When The War Began, the biggest Australian film of 2010. Bait is the first 3D film to receive financial backing from Screen Australia and Arclight Films has sold the film around the world.
KOKURIKO ZAKA KARA
Dir: Goro Miyazaki
Local distributor: Toho
Local release date: July 16
The latest production from animation powerhouse Studio Ghibli is an adaptation of a 1980s manga series about a schoolgirl who is forced to grow up quickly when her father goes missing. Directed by Goro Miyazaki, son of animation master and Studio Ghibli head Hayao Miyazaki, Kokuriko Zaka Kara (literally, From Kokuriko Hill) is written by Miyazaki senior and Keiko Niwa. The duo also wrote last year’s local box-office sensation based on The Borrowers and the 2006 hit Tales From Earthsea, both of which overcame challenges from US blockbusters and the perennial Pokemon release.
Dir: Sarik Andreasyan
Local distributor: Karoprokat
Local release date: September 1
Andreasyan’s third feature following Fools, which grossed more than $5m in Russia and the CIS, and the hit comedy Office Romance, is the story of a man who becomes pregnant when his wish for a child comes true in unlikely fashion. Distributor Karoprokat is spending $2.2m on p&a (the production budget was $2m) and has marketed the film on TV and in cinemas over nine months (to tie in with the film’s gestational subject matter). Even the national music chart features a song inspired by the film. The all-star Russian cast features Dmitriy Dyuzhev, popular comic Mikhail Galustyan and singer Anna Sedokova.
Dir: Morten Tyldum
Local distributor: Nordisk Film
Local release date: August 26
The latest high-end crime thriller to emerge from the Nordic region following the Millennium trilogy is produced by Sweden’s Yellow Bird Films (which made the Millennium films) and Norwegian production company, Friland. Headhunters is an adaptation of Jo Nesbo’s bestseller about a corporate headhunter, played by Max Manus’ Aksel Hennie, who moonlights as an art thief. The film sold around the world at the European Film Market in Berlin and will be released by Magnolia Films in the US later in the year. Nordisk is opening the title in Norway at the end of August just as audiences return to work — and to the cinema — from their summer holidays, and it will roll the film out throughout the Nordic region by the end of the year.
HORRID HENRY: THE MOVIE
Dir: Nick Moore
Local distributor: Vertigo Films
Local release date: July 29
Children’s franchise Horrid Henry gets a live action 3D makeover from Vertigo Films, the producer-distributor that enjoyed success in 2010 with StreetDance 3D. (It grossed $18.5m to become the biggest home-grown hit of the year). With a huge built-in audience — to date the franchise has spawned 19 books, a TV series, live shows and a video game — Horrid Henry: The Movie will open on about 400 prints at the beginning of the English school holidays. Opening weekend competition comes from Marvel action-adventure Captain America, which shouldn’t prove too much of a distraction for Horrid Henry’s target family audience. It has a clear 14 days between it and Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows: Part 2, which opens on July 15.