ScreenDaily takes a look at the local and independent openings in key markets this week.


As major releases stay out of Avatar’s way, EuropaCorp.’s Le Siffleur opened on Wednesday in France on a slight 267 screens and took 20,538 admissions to make it the best debut performance of the day. The Philippe Lefebvre comedy stars Francois Berleand, Thierry Lhermitte and Virginie Efira and tells the story of a man whose bucolic existence on the Cote d’Azur is about to be disrupted.

Alejandro Amenabar’s Agora, which screened out of competition at last year’s Cannes, was released by Mars Distribution on 300 screens and sold 17,751 tickets. Starring Rachel Weisz, Max Minghella, Oscar Isaac and Rupert Evans, the film is a historical drama and slave-master love story set in ancient Egypt.

Bright Star, Jane Campion’s Cannes competitor, also went out on Wednesday on 115 screens. The film, released through Pathe, took 9,581 admissions for the day. Starring Abbie Cornish and Ben Wishaw and set in London, it tells the story of John Keats and his secret lover Fanny Brawne.


Sex&Drugs&Rock&Roll, the biopic of British punk legend Ian Dury, gets a release across the UK from January 8, through Entertainment Film Distributors. Andy Serkis plays the lead in Mat Whitecross’ UK drama, which also stars Ray Winstone, Mackenzie Crook and Noel Clarke.

Indie distributor Dogwoof Pictures will bring Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson’s documentary Mugabe AndThe White African to ICA in London and other key cities, also from January 8. The film chronicles the plight of Michael Campbell, a white farmer in Zimbabwe, in his attempts to protect his property and livelihood in the face of President Robert Mugabe aggressive land seizure policies.

Stuart Hazeldine’s thriller Exam gets a limited release in key cities through Miracle Communications. The film takes place in a single room, where eight applicants await the final stage of selection for a high-flying job at a mysterious global corporation, It stars Jimi Mistry and Colin Salmon.


20th Century Fox is releasing Frieder Wittich’s student comedy 13 Semester, which was an audience favourite at last year’s Zurich Film Festival. Starring Max Riemelt, Alexander Fehling and Robert Gwisdek, the Claussen+Wöbke+Putz production is being sold internationally by Aktis Film International.

Feature newcomer Rudi Gaul’s melodrama Das Zimmer Im Spiegel is released by MFA at five locations. The story about a Jewish woman hidden by her husband from the Nazis was in competition at the Max Ophüls Prize Film Festival last year and won the Newcomer Support Award at the Five Lakes Festival. It is the first production by Gaul and Isabella von Klass’ company Schattengewächs Filmproduktion.

Salzgeber opens Lucia Puenzo’s Argentine-Spanish-French co-production The Fish Child(El Nino Pez) at cinemas in Berlin, Cologne, Dortmund and Regensburg. The social drama - which is Puenzo’s second film after her much feted XXY - had its premiere in the Panorama section of the Berlinale last February.


Alta Films will release Michael Moore’s latest documentary Capitalism: A Love Storyon 57 screens across Spain. The film has already taken a healthy $14m in the US, but is failing to set the European box offices alight, and this trend is unlikely to change in Spain where the audiences are generally averse to documentaries.

Local distributor Aurum has a good track record of picking up cast-led US indie films, and so it was no surprise they decided to take on Werner Herzog’s Bad Lieutenant: Port Of Call New Orleans, starring Nicolas Cage. But while Cage is normally a strong draw in Spain, with his previous outing Knowing taking $6.7m, Bad Lieutenant might struggle as it has more of an arthouse feel with its grimy, unpolished look and unconventional characteristics. Cage plays crooked cop Terence McDonagh who leads an investigation into the death of an Senegalese family in New Orleans.

Universal will release Ethan and Joel Coen’s new film A Serious Man, produced by UK outfit Working Title. Set in 1967, it follows the life of Larry Gopnik, played by relatively unknown actor Michael Stuhlbarg, a Mid-western professor whose wife threatens to leave him unless his inept brother moves out of their house. The film has been nominated for a Golden Globe and is a likely contender for best picture and actor Oscar nominations, but has so far failed to make a huge dent at the European box office.