The biggest WTF movie so far this year has been Paolo Sorrentino's followup to his acclaimed "Il Divo," the Sean Penn starring "This Must Be Place." Premiering to a very mixed reception at Cannes this spring (that's sort of putting it kindly), the story follows a (seemingly) barely functioning goth rocker (Penn doing his best Robert Smith impression) who finds out his father he hasn’t seen in 30 years is dead and then goes on a road trip to find the SS Officer who made his life hell when he was imprisoned at Auschwitz. No, really, that's the plot. But it seems the Weinsteins know a challenge (or a bargain) when they see one, picking up the North American rights to the film.
As we noted at Cannes, "the film can’t help but feel like three movies in one—one about the regrets and present circumstances of a once-raging rocker, another about a grieving son travelling across America and a final one about the long-terms effects of the Holocaust (although, at this point, they’re very long term—as one character notes, Penn’s father’s tormentor would be about 95 by now). And none of the three movies works especially well with the other two, and none of the three is especially notable on its own." So needless to say the Weinsteins have a challenge on their hands and seem to be gluttons for punishment as they are already dealing with another high profile pic that has been savaged by critics, Madonna's "W.E." We can only assume that with 'Place' skipping the North American film festival circuit altogether, the Weinsteins picked this one up on the cheap. No release date has been set, but unless Harvey is planning some kind of sneak attack campaign for Sean Penn, this will probably drop in 2012 at some point. But at the very least, we are looking forward to the soundtrack which features music by David Byrne and Will Oldham. So there's that. But overall, a puzzling pick up by the Weinsteins.
Meanwhile, over at Lionsgate, they've nabbed "You’re Next," the buzzed about Midnight Madness entry at TIFF directed by "A Horrible Way to Die" helmer Adam Wingard. Sharni Vinson, Joe Swanberg, AJ Bowen, Nicholas Tucci and Barbara Crampton star in the thriller that tells the story of a family reunion gone horribly awry when animal mask wearing assailants lay siege to the house. This one was an apparent hot ticket with The Weinstein Company, Paramount and Indian Paintbrush all battling for the movie. Why? Because they smell franchise. Lionsgate is eyeing "You're Next" sequels already. That will likely depend on how audiences take to it when it hits theaters in fall 2012, and we're guessing, right around Halloween. [Variety/Deadline]