"Haters prepare," warned director Joe Carnahan last week and given the growing buzz surrounding his wilderness survival pic "The Grey" it seems to be some sage advice for those wondering if the director of "Narc" was a one-hit wonder. Starring Liam Neeson, Dallas Roberts, James Badge Dale, Dermot Mulroney, Frank Grillo, Nonso Anozie and Joe Anderson, the gritty thriller focuses on a group of pipeline workers in Alaska who are flying back to civilization after being remote for a number of months. The 737 they’re on goes down, and they are hunted by a pack of rogue wolves.
Well to continue along those lines, it was certainly a feeding frenzy for the film as Warner Bros, Open Road, Summit, Lionsgate, The Weinstein Company and FilmDistrict all battled for the rights to "The Grey," only for upstart distributors Open Road to make the kill. And according to Deadline, the deal wasn't cheap. A cool $8 million was the minimum guarantee with an additional $25 million commitment for marketing. So will the flick be worth it? Apparently it's all wrapped up and ready to hit the fall festival circuit, so we'll soon see.
Meanwhile, a couple of smaller but no less exciting films are making their way to U.S. cinemas. First up, the lovely Chilean offbeat romance "Bonsai" has been picked up by Strand who will release the film in 2012. Directed by Cristian Jimenez, the film follows a young writer who tries to woo a woman by impressing with his authorial skills, using a romance he had eight years previously as the inspiration for this work. So yeah, it's a little ambitious and maybe slightly precious, but our review from Cannes called it a "slacker-romance of love and language that’s small, swift and smart" that, despite narrative games and hula hoops, is "about real people and real life, and how messy those things can be." Anyway, it's definitely one to keep an eye on.
Finally, Sony Pictures Classics has acquired Poland's Oscar entry "In Darkness." Directed by Agnieszka Holland ("Copying Beethoven," episodes of "Treme" and "The Killing") the film is classic awards-season bait: a WWII story about "a petty crook, Leopold Socha, who becomes a hero when he risks his own life and those of his loved ones to keep safe in hiding a dozen men, women and children who face extermination by the Nazis." Haven't we seen this movie about fifteen times already? Anyway, the film will hit cinemas in Poland in September and we'd guess SPC will take it on the festival route this fall with an Oscar-qualifying run to start before the year is out.