A beloved ballplayer and an iconic consumer device join a Hollywood satire by Charlie Day, an Emanuele Crialese film with Penelope Cruz and debuts from Sundance and Venice in a potentially strong specialty weekend that will test the appetite for indie film with no new franchise wide releases.
Sony Pictures Classics opens Sean Mullin’s Yogi Berra documentary It Ain’t Over on 100 screens in NY and LA with a big regional push for the legendary Yankee, including complimentary plus-one tickets on Thursday and Sunday at Regal, AMC and City Cinemas in the New York Tri-State area. The intimate portrait of a baseball genius, master of aphorism, pitchman and endearing human being, Lawrence Peter “Yogi” Berra, premiered at Tribeca last year (100% Certified Fresh). Berra’s granddaughter Lindsay Berra, with Joe Torre, Derek Jeter, Don Mattingly, Bob Costas, Vin Scully, Billy Crystal and others are loving guides to Berra’s unparalleled accomplishments on the baseball diamond (10 World Series rings, three MVP awards, 18 All-Star Game appearances, caught the only perfect game in World Series history), and off. The D-Day veteran, devoted husband, father and friend, passed away in 2015. The doc opened on his birthday — he would have been 98 on May 12.
Lindsay Berra “has been everywhere” on local media, podcasts, at games, said SPC co-president Tom Bernard. “She wants her grandfather’s legacy to be known, and it’s a way bigger legacy than what he’s been known for. His military career was astounding, his relationship with his family. This is a guy who went out for dinner with Joe DiMaggio and Marilyn Monroe. He lived an amazing life. And you see what a good person he was.” SPC has had Berra standees in theater lobbies for weeks and no shortage of fans snapping photos. The distrib sent theater managers postcards of the film. “People who work in the theaters are big Yankees fans, so we’re getting an incredible amount of support,” Bernard said.
Roadside Attractions presents Charlie Day’s feature debut Fool’s Paradise on 780 screens, a satirical comedy about Hollywood with Day, Ken Jeong, Kate Beckinsale, Adrien Brody, Jason Bateman, Jason Sudeikis, Edie Falco, John Malkovich, Common, Glenn Howerton, Jillian Bell and — in one of his final roles — Ray Liotta. A down-on-his-luck publicist (Jeong) gets his lucky break when he discovers a man recently released from a mental health facility (Day) looks just like a method actor who refuses to leave his trailer (also played by the It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia star). It’s a wide indie opening across multiplexes and arthouses given Day’s following.
In a sign that promotion may be getting tricker for indie films amid the WGA strike, the writer-actor-director skipped the press line at the movie’s premiere in LA and canceled some other appearances due to the guild action. He was on Jimmy Kimmel Live last night in an interview taped pre-strike.
IFC Films opens Matt Johnson’s Blackberry on 450 screens. The true story of the meteoric rise and sudden collapse, thanks to Apple, of the world’s first smartphone. This is a whirlwind ride through a ruthlessly competitive Silicon Valley from a perch in Canada, where best friends Mike Lazaridis and Douglas Fregin founded the Waterloo-based Research In Motion, maker of the BlackBerry in 1984. At its peak, the device had over 50% of the North American market and 20% of the global smartphone market, sold over 50 million units a year, and was referred to as the “CrackBerry.” Star Jay Baruchel’s Lazaridis was literally beyond positive that no one would ever want the weird, keypad-less iPhone Steve Jobs introduced in 2007.
Johnson plays Fregin. Glenn Howerton (It’s Always Sunny In Philadelphia) is Jim Balsillie, the ruthless executive who came in and really launched the company. It’s a great business story, tech story, human story. “They were so convinced of their product’s superiority that it just didn’t make sense to them that some dark horse like the iPhone could ever knock them off their perch,” Johnson tells Deadline. Based on the 2016 nonfiction book Losing the Signal: The Untold Story Behind the Extraordinary Rise and Spectacular Fall of BlackBerry. The film premiered in Berlin, Deadline review here.
Other notable specialty openings: Bleecker Street’s coming-of-age drama, The Starling Girl in limited release at four theaters in New York/Los Angeles (AMC Lincoln Square, Angelika Film Center, Alamo Brooklyn and AMC Century City). The feature directorial debut from writer-director Laurel Parmet premiered at Sundance, see Deadline review. Stars Eliza Scanlen (Little Women, Sharp Objects), Lewis Pullman (Outer Range, Top Gun: Maverick), Jimmi Simpson (Westworld, It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia — an indie film trend this weekend), Wrenn Schmidt (For All Mankind, Nope) and Austin Abrams (Paper Towns, Do Revenge). Scanlen is seventeen-year-old Jem Starling, who struggles to define her place within her fundamentalist Christian community in rural Kentucky.
Music Box Films presents Emanuele Crialese’s L’Immensità starring Penelope Cruz in New York (Angelika Film Center) and Los Angeles (Laemmle Royal), national rollout to follow. In Crialese’s fifth film, Clara (Cruz), wife to an unfaithful and abusive husband, focuses all her attention on her children, connecting with them by channeling her own inner child. Her 13-year-old Adriana (Luana Giuliani) has begun to identify as a boy, Andrew, and proclaims to his mother that he comes from another galaxy. The ode to adolescence set against a euphoric Italian pop music background premiered at Venice, Deadline review here.
Another from IFC Films: Monica by Andrea Pallaoro, in two locations, expanding next week. A woman returns home to care for her ailing mother whom she hasn’t seen in years in a story of family, forgiveness, and acceptance. With Trace Lysette, Patricia Clarkson, Adriana Barraza, Emily Browning, Joshua Close. Premiered at Venice, Deadline review here.