In this digital era, more and more creatives are going the online streaming way to get difficult projects funded by more accomodating streaming giants like Netflix and HBO. But a theatrical release is still a powerful draw, as proven by Searchlight Pictures' recently winning a fierce bidding war to produce American gymnast biopic Perfect, with Olivia Wilde set to direct, for $15 million.
Perfect is based on gymnast Kerri Strug's memoir 'Landing on my Feet, a Diary of Dreams'. The story follows Strug's career all the way to the 1996 Olympics when an 18-year-old Strug performed her routine despite having a severely injured ankle, helping her team win its first gold medal.
It is the kind of positive, inspiring true-to-life story with a feminist twist that has every chance of becoming a darling of the critics and a box-office hit, so there is no wonder there was a fierce bidding war to buy the rights to the Kerri Strug movie when Wilde made her presentation of the script written by Ronnie Sandahl at the Berlin Film Festival last month.
It is being said that HBO Max was particularly anxious to buy the project, and offered a great deal more money than the other, more traditional movie production teams, which included A24, WB, and Paramount. But Wilde instead chose to go with the option which would ensure that her film would be released in theaters before going to home streaming.
Wilde has already garnered acclaim for her debut feature as a director Booksmart, which got her an Independent Spirit Award for Best Feature Film. Backed by her win, she was able to get the lucrative deal with Searchlight, with CAA Media Finance brokering the deal. Nik Bower is attached to co-produce Perfect for Riverstone Pictures and Thomas Benski for Pulse Films, along with Jeremy Baxter and Moss Barclay. Wilde will act as executive producer along with Deepak Nayer, Marisa Clifford, and Sandalh.
Strug's triumph at the 1996 Olympics is widely considered one of the most iconic moments for women in sports. The photo of Strug with her injured ankle being carried out to the medals podium to join her teammates is frequently cited in online lists of the most inspiring examples of perseverance and team spirit in sports.
Following the event, Strug became an instant celebrity, appearing on one talk show after another, visiting President Clinton, and featuring on the cover of Sports Illustrated. The athlete's achievement also became the stuff of pop legend, finding reference on many shows like Murphy Brown, Community, and Sabrina: The Teenage Witch.
As of now, there is no news on the casting for the film, neither is a start date for filming locked down. With the present condition of the world not allowing for any kind of gathering of large groups, the production of the movie will no doubt have to be stalled indefinitely until conditions improve enough for the project to begin filming. Deadline brougt this news first.
Two more Disney-owned films are getting early digital releases. 20th Century Studios’ Jack London adaptation The Call of the Wild and Searchlight Pictures’ comedy Downhill will both be available to buy digitally in the U.S. starting tomorrow. These two films are the latest to receive early digital releases in the wake of the coronavirus COVID-19 crisis.
Walt Disney Studios announced that The Call of the Wild and Downhill will both be available to buy digitally and on Movies Anywhere beginning March 27 in the U.S. Both films can be purchased on digital platforms in the U.S. for $14.99 for The Call of the Wild and $9.99 for Downhill.
This digital release comes about a month after the two of them hit theaters in February — The Call of the Wild on February 21, and Downhill on February 14. Most films are available to buy digitally about 74 days after they first arrive in theaters, but studios are breaking that tradition by releasing their films on VOD mere weeks after, or even on the same day of, the theatrical debut as the coronavirus pandemic shutters theaters across the country. Universal was the first to kick off this practice, announcing the day-and-date release of Trolls World Tour and the early digital releases of their films The Invisible Man, Emma., and The Hunt.
The Call of the Wild is an adaptation of the Jack London book of the same name starring Harrison Ford and a CGI dog. It’s mostly okay, but it is the kind of family film that would do well in the time of self-quarantine, as families are running out of options to watch.
Meanwhile, the Will Ferrell and Julia Louis-Dreyfus comedy Downhill is a fine English-language remake of a far superior Swedish dark comedy that received the ironic Valentine’s Day release back when we were still casually going to movie theaters. It might make a dryly funny date night movie, but its depiction of a family on the brink of collapse may hit a little too close to home for families stuck together for the foreseeable future.