Focus Features CEO James Schamus today announced the company’s domestic theatrical release slate for calendar year 2009, confirming several dates for the seven titles total.
Mr. Schamus said, “The 2009 releases from Focus represent the most diverse lineup in the company’s history. In addition to unveiling highly anticipated new films from directors with whom we have already had great success, such as Ang Lee, Jim Jarmusch and Joel and Ethan Coen, the complete slate covers a diverse range of genres including animation.”
The latter is represented by the company’s nationwide release on February 6th of LAIKA Entertainment’s Coraline, marking Focus’ first-ever animated movie. It is a stop-motion animated feature and, as the first one to be conceived and photographed in stereoscopic 3-D, unlike anything moviegoers have ever experienced before. Combining the visionary imaginations of two premier fantasists, director/screenwriter Henry Selick (The Nightmare Before Christmas) and author Neil Gaiman (“Sandman”), Coraline is a wondrous and thrilling, fun and suspenseful adventure. The (voice) cast includes Dakota Fanning (in the title role), Teri Hatcher (in a dual role), Jennifer Saunders, Dawn French, Keith David, John Hodgman, Robert Bailey Jr., and Ian McShane. Coraline will open in 3-D-equipped theaters nationally and will also simultaneously open in non-3-D-equipped theaters nationwide.
Writer/director Cary Joji Fukunaga’s epic dramatic thriller Sin Nombre world-premieres in the dramatic competition at this month’s Sundance Film Festival, and will subsequently open in select cities on March 20th. The filmmaker’s firsthand experiences with Central American immigrants seeking the promise of the U.S. form the basis of the Spanish-language movie. The film stars Paulina Gaitan, Edgar Flores, Kristyan Ferrer, Tenoch Huerta Mejía, Diana García, Luis Fernando Peña, and Héctor Jiménez.
Independent filmmaker Jim Jarmusch’s new film, The Limits of Control, is the story of a mysterious loner (Isaach De Bankolé), a stranger, whose activities remain meticulously outside the law. He is in the process of completing a job, yet he trusts no one, and his objectives are not initially divulged. The film is set in the striking and varied landscapes of contemporary Spain (both urban and otherwise). Joining Mr. De Bankolé in the cast for the writer/director are Hiam Abbass, Gael García Bernal, Paz De La Huerta, Alex Descas, John Hurt, Youki Kudoh, Bill Murray, Jean-François Stévenin, Tilda Swinton, and Luis Tosar. Co-financed by Focus with Entertainment Farm, The Limits of Control will be released in exclusive engagements on May 22nd.
Opening on June 5th in limited release is Away We Go, a contemporary comedy directed by Academy Award winner Sam Mendes from an original screenplay by Dave Eggers and Vendela Vida. The movie follows the journey of an expectant couple (John Krasinski of “The Office” and Maya Rudolph of “Saturday Night Live”), as they travel the U.S. in search of a place to put down roots and raise a family. Rounding out the cast are Jeff Daniels, Carmen Ejogo, Jim Gaffigan, Maggie Gyllenhaal, Josh Hamilton, Allison Janney, Melanie Lynskey, Chris Messina, Catherine O’Hara, and Paul Schneider. Away We Go is produced and co-financed with Focus by Big Beach.
Taking Woodstock, the new film from Academy Award-winning director Ang Lee, is a 1969-set true story about a man, Elliot Tiber (Demetri Martin), who inadvertently played a pivotal role in making the Woodstock Music and Arts Festival into the famed happening it was. Mr. Tiber found himself swept up in a generation-defining experience that would change his life, and American culture, forever. Based on the book by Mr. Tiber with Tom Monte, the screenplay adaptation is by Mr. Schamus. The cast also includes Emile Hirsch, Imelda Staunton, Henry Goodman, Jonathan Groff, Mamie Gummer, Eugene Levy, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, and Liev Schreiber. Taking Woodstock opens in select cities on August 14th.
Student Academy Award winner Shane Acker directs the animated fantasy epic 9, a feature-length expansion of his short film of the same name. Produced by Tim Burton, Timur Bekmambetov, and Jim Lemley, the surreal tale takes place in a world parallel to our own, a post-apocalyptic fantasy in which a band of courageous rag dolls battles for the survival of civilization. The voice cast includes Elijah Wood, Jennifer Connelly, Crispin Glover, Martin Landau, Christopher Plummer, and John C. Reilly; the screenplay is by Pamela Pettler. 9 will be released in exclusive engagements on September 9th appropriately marking its release date as 9/9/09.
Academy Award-winning writer/directors Joel and Ethan Coen’s A Serious Man is the story of an ordinary man’s search for clarity in a universe where Jefferson Airplane is on the radio and F-Troop is on TV. It is 1967, and Larry Gopnik (Michael Stuhlbarg), a physics professor at a quiet Midwestern university, has just been informed by his wife Judith (Sari Lennick) that she is leaving him. She has fallen in love with one of his more pompous colleagues, Sy Ableman (Fred Melamed), who seems to her a more substantial person than the feckless Larry. Larry’s unemployable brother Arthur (Richard Kind) is sleeping on the couch, his son Danny (Aaron Wolf) is a discipline problem and a shirker at Hebrew school, and his daughter Sarah (Jessica McManus) is filching money from his wallet in order to save up for a nose job. While his wife and Sy Ableman blithely make new domestic arrangements, and his brother becomes more and more of a burden, an anonymous hostile letter-writer is trying to sabotage Larry’s chances for tenure at the university. Also, a graduate student seems to be trying to bribe him for a passing grade while at the same time threatening to sue him for defamation. Plus, the beautiful woman next door torments him by sunbathing nude. Struggling for equilibrium, Larry seeks advice from three different rabbis. Can anyone help him cope with his afflictions and become a righteous person a mensch a serious man? Filmed on location in Minnesota for Focus and Working Title Films, A Serious Man will open in limited release on October 2nd.