Monday, May 20, 2024

‘Asteroid City’ Hits Cinemas, Takes Over Landmark’s New ‘Sunset Five’ – Deadline

Big news in the specialty this weekend as Asteroid City arrives in theaters with Wes Anderson and his army of fans behind it and a huge marketing campaign from Focus Features. The director’s latest opens at six locations in New York and Los Angeles, where Focus has partnered with Landmark to reopen Sunset, the five-screen theater it took over from AMC earlier this year.

Others are Angelika, Alamo Drafthouse Brooklyn and AMC Lincoln Square in New York, and AMC Century City and Burbank in LA. The film, which premiered in Cannes last month (see Deadline’s review ), will expand to about 1,500 screens next week.

At Landmark Theatre’s Sunset, Asteroid City will take over the entire space for an exclusive two-week experience. The pop-up opened to the public with previews last night, and all five screens in the theater will be showing the film for the entire first two weeks of its theatrical run. The experience includes limited edition merchandise and set pieces such as turning the concession stand into a replica of the restaurant in the movie.

It was a super-collaborative effort. We knew we were opening the theater…and you want to make a splash,” Landmark president Kevin Holloway told Deadline. “As we were looking at the meetings, we ended up talking to Focus, and it ended up being a mix of ideas that we all had.”

time for Asteroid City opening “was in sync so well, we thought we’d delete the thing.”

Distributors and exhibitors have to think outside the box these days to market films, especially more artistic fare, but a two-week commitment of the entire screen is unusual. “To do it justice, we wanted to give it away [all] five screens, to tilt and not have people “walking in and out of another movie and into the space,” Holloway said.

Landmark announced in February that it was taking over AMC’s Sunset 5 at 8000 W Sunset Boulevard. It will be renovating the theater in phases after pushing the opening, including adding a bar, which has become too tight for the space. The chain will also launch a loyalty program this summer.

Specialty exhibitors are clearly pleased Asteroid City. Anderson is true indie royalty at a time when it’s still a lot harder than in the pre-Covid days to lure large numbers of moviegoers to anything that isn’t a franchise wide-release film.

Other exhibit partners include Alamo Drafthouse, which has also transformed the lobby of its lower Manhattan location into an asteroid city through June 26. He held a preview at his Brooklyn theater followed by a live Q&A with Wes Anderson, Adrian Brody, Jeffrey Wright, Rupert Friend, Stephen Park, Hope Davis, Jake Ryan, Jeff Goldblum, Jason Schwartzman and Maya Hawke who was broadcast live in 28 of the chain’s cinemas.

Anderson’s regular cast also includes Scarlett Johansson, Tom Hanks, Bryan Cranston, Edward Norton, Liev Schreiber, Steve Carell, Tilda Swinton, Jeffrey Wright, Matt Dillon, Hong Chau, Willem Dafoe, Margot Robbie and Tony Revolori.

Angelika is offering a free movie-themed t-shirt Friday through Sunday to the first 1,000 guests each day.

Social includes a big push with TikTok activations and a partnership with Instagram. The platform has launched a series of in-app AR effects that both place users in Asteroid City itself and give them a set of tools to film videos in Wes Anderson’s unique visual style.

At retail, Lush flagship stores in London and Las Vegas were reimagined as Asteroid City Gift Shops complete with dining counters, in-world activations and merchandise including an asteroid bath bomb, doomsday soap and ship shower gel cosmic.

In NYC, the Museum of the Moving Image launched the DO NOT DETONATE: In the Orbit of Wes Anderson’s performance series Asteroid Cityfeaturing a dozen films that evoke the historical, social or fantasy setting of the new film, which takes place in a fictional American desert town circa 1955, where the itinerary of a Junior Stargazer/Space Cadet convention is spectacularly interrupted by events that change the world.

Anderson’s latest film, French shipping, opened in October 2021 to $1.35M on 52 screens for what was then the highest PSA since Covid. It grossed $46 million worldwide (US$16 million).

In 2014, Anderson’s Grand Budapest Hotel opened to $800K on four screens, for a PSA of $200K, and went on to earn $590M worldwide (US$172M) – another country in time. The film had very good word of mouth and a long run in theaters.

Other Openings: Not much new in the specialty this week. Viva Entertainment may see a pop me Adipurusha screen adaptation of the Indian epic Ramayana about two brothers fighting the forces of evil, across 600 screens.

Screen Media presents David Slattery’s comedy Maggie Moore(s), which just debuted at the Tribeca Festival, in 15 theaters and on demand. View the deadline review. Tina Fey and Jon Hamm star in the story of a detective who investigates the murders of two women of the same name. With Micah Stock, Nick Mohammed, Happy Anderson and Mary Holland.

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