‘Kalki’ With Indian Superstar Prabhas Rivals ‘RRR’, ‘Thelma’ Flies, ‘Kinds Of Kindness’ Expands In Suddenly Buoyant Indie Market – Specialty Preview

The indie market is feeling pretty good. A big film from India Kalki 2898 AD may unseat RRR’s North American opening weekend. June Squibb-starrer Thelma is blowing through midweek shows and stands at $3.75 million heading into week 2 steady at 1,280 theaters. Searchlight Pictures Kinds Of Kindness by Yorgos Lanthimos (Poor Things) starring Emma Stone and Jesse Plemons jumps to 500 screens from five after the best limited opening of the year last weekend.

Annie Baker’s Janet Planet from A24 goes from 2 screens to 300 and a handful of interesting indies open in limited release from Catherine Breillat‘s Last Summer to Jake Paltrow’s June Zero. Things are still quite tough but there’s room for optimism. Not clear if that will last, but it’s nice..

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New: Telugu sci-fi epic Kalki 2898 AD on 900+ screens is rivaling crossover blockbuster RRR as distributor Prathyangira Cinemas said the film grossed $5.56 million in North America between Wednesday previews and Thursday opening dat. Written and directed by Nag Ashwin. Starring Telugu and Hindi superstars Prabhas, Deepika Padukone and Amitabh Bachchan, the film’s trailer reached over 43 million views in a matter of days, and notched over $3 million in North American pre-sales. Deadline reported that this is India’s most expensive film ever.

Daddio from Sony Pictures Classics, the debut of writer-director Christy Hall, opens on 628 screens. The film premiered at Telluride, see Deadline’s glowing review. Stars Sean Penn as a veteran New York cabbie and Dakota Johnson as a fare sharing her problems on a long, trafficky nighttime ride from JFK airport to Manhattan.

Vertical’s A Sacrifice opens on 230 screens. Adapted from Tokyo by Nicholas Hogg, the film is written and directed by Jordan Scott, produced by Ridley Scott and Michael Pruss for Scott Free Productions and Augenschein Filmproduktion, it stars Eric Bana, Sadie Sink, and Sylvia Hoeks.

American social psychologist Ben Monroe (Bana) is investigating a local Berlin cult connected to disturbing events. While he immerses himself in his work, his rebellious teenage daughter, Mazzy (Sink) becomes embroiled with a mysterious local boy who introduces her to the city’s underground party scene. As their two worlds head toward a dangerous intersection, Ben will need to race against the clock in order to save his daughter.

Limited openings: Last Summer, from Sideshow/Janus Films, is the first film in a decade from French director Catherine Breillat (Fat Girl, The Last Mistress). Premiered at Cannes, see Deadline review, playing Toronto and NYFF. Lea Drucker stars as a woman in early middle-age who has an explosive affair with her teenage stepson (Leo Kircher). “Breillat shows a bourgeois family fracturing, papering over the cracks with lies and ultimately repairing itself, the salves of silence and hypocrisy ensuring that nothing unpleasant is exposed and nothing changes,” Deadline wrote of the director, who “has worked with porn stars, was one of the first to show an erection in an arthouse film and earned herself the moniker ‘porno auteuriste’.” With Olivier Rabourdin, Clotilde Courau

Opens in NY (Angelika, Film at Lincoln Center) and LA (the Nuart), expanding after.

June Zero by Jake Paltrow opens in NYC at the Quad with director Q&As all weekend and moderators including Kent Jones and Stephen Whitty. Adds LA and other top ten markets net week, moving to the top 50 the following.

Paltrow revisits the 1961 trial of Adolf Eichmann, a principal architect of the Holocaust, from the unique perspectives of three distinct figures: Eichmann’s Jewish Moroccan prison guard; an Israeli police investigator who also happens to be a Holocaust survivor; and a precocious 13-year-old Libyan immigrant. Based on true accounts and shot shot entirely on 16mm film, June Zero underscores the notion that shared traumas forge strong and unexpected bonds. Written by Paltrow and Tom Shoval.

Oscilloscope presents 18th century French vampire thriller The Vourdalak by Adrien Beauat at NYC’s IFC Center, expanding through July. Premiered at Venice. Adapted from a novella (Tolstoy’s 1839 The Family of the Vourdalak) that predates Bram Stoker’s Dracula by over half a century.

When the Marquis d’Urfé, a noble emissary of the King of France, is attacked and abandoned in the remote countryside, he finds refuge at an eerie, isolated manor. The resident family, reluctant to take him in, exhibits strange behavior as they await the imminent return of their father, Gorcha. But what begins simply as strange quickly devolves into a full-fledged nightmare. With With Kacey Mottet Klein, Ariane Labed, Grégoire Colin, Vassili Schneider.

Cinema Guild releases Music by Angela Schanelec at Film at Lincoln Center, Center for Contemporary Arts in Santa Fe and the Lark Theater in Larkspur, CA, adding arthouse runs throughout July. The film, which premiered in Berlin, is a modern myth freely inspired by the story of Oedipus. On a stormy night in the mountains of Greece, a pair of wayward young people abandon their newborn child. Taken in by a family of farmers, Ion grows up without knowing his father or mother. Years later, after a tragic accident, he is sent to prison, where he meets Iro. The two form a connection, expressed through music, that will, by turns, haunt them and uphold them the rest of their days. Stars Aliocha Schneider, Agathe Bonitzer, Marisha Triantafyllidou, Argyris Xafis.

Family Portrait from Factory 25, the feature debut of Brooklyn-based writer-director Lucy Kerr, opens at the Metrograph. Premiered at the 2023 Locarno Film Festival in the Concorso Cineasti del presente section, where it took the Boccalino d’Oro for Best Director. Q&A’s with Kerr and star Deragh Campbell (Anne At 13000 Ft, Stinking Heaven). Expands to Chicago July 12 at the Gene Siskel Film Center and screens in Los Angeles on July 19 & 20 at Now Instant Image Hall, with further cities to be announced. Follows a sprawling family on the morning of a planned a group picture. With Chris Galust, Katie Folger, Rachel Alig, Robert Salas, and Silvana Jakich.

How To Come Alive With Norman Mailer, an intimate portrait of the literary giant, has its U.S. theatrical premiere at Film Forum, presented by Zeitgeist Films. The first project with full access to Mailer’s family and their archive won Best Documentary at the Atlanta Jewish Film Festival. It unearths a treasure trove of intimate and never-before-seen footage, outtakes, audio recordings, and interviews from throughout the life of the man who was perhaps the last true American public intellectual.

Indie distributor Hope Runs High presents three-time Indie Spirit Awards nominee (Best First Feature, Best First Screenplay, Best Cinematography) Chronicles Of A Wandering Saint, the feature debut of LA-based Argentinian writer/director Tomás Gómez Bustillo. Opening for a weeklong run in NY at IFC Center, then LA’s Lumiere Cinema next weekend. Additional weekend screenings at American Cinematheque with filmmaker Q&As. Expanding after. Premiered at SXSW last year, where it won the Adam Yauch Hörnblowér Award.

In a tiny rural village in Argentina, Rita Lopez, a pious yet insatiably competitive woman, decides that staging a miracle could be her ticket to sainthood. After discovering a lost statue in the back room of her chapel, she convinces her neglected but loving husband to help her orchestrate the grand reveal that will finally anoint her as the most admired woman in town.

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