By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood December 21, 2011 at 7:52PM
With Woody Allen's "Midnight in Paris" the year's highest-grossing independent film (almost $60 million domestic) and a strong Oscar contender with four Golden Globe nominations, it's no surprise that Sony Pictures Classics will release his next indie-funded film, "Nero Fiddled."
Allen's first film to shoot in Rome, "Nero Fiddled" marks Allen and SPC's fifth collaborationm including "You Will Meet A Tall Dark Stranger" and the Oscar-nominated "Sweet and Lowdown." SPC acquired North American and UK rights to Medusa film and Gravier production "Nero Fiddled," produced by Letty Aronson, Steve Tenenbaum, Giampaulo Letta and Faruk Alatan.
For this one, Allen returns to the screen for the first time since 2006's "Scoop," co-starring Alec Baldwin, Roberto Benigni, Penélope Cruz, Judy Davis, Jesse Eisenberg, Greta Gerwig and Ellen Page. This movie is “not the same kind of picture” as "Midnight in Paris," Allen told me in May. “It’s not as romantic. It’s more an out-and-out comedy. I don’t know Rome as well as I know Paris.” He went back to his "Midnight in Paris" director of photography, Darius Khondji.
"More laughs in this one than you can imagine," said SPC's Tom Bernard and Michael Barker. "We know it's a bit premature, but thank you Woody and company, for granting us the perfect summer comedy of 2012. Keep 'em coming."
Meanwhile the folks at Oscilloscope are upbeat enough about their "We Need to Talk About Kevin" star Tilda Swinton's Oscar prospects that they are pushing up the movie's runs at New York's Lincoln Plaza Cinemas and Angelika Film Center to January 13 and LA's Arclight to January 20. The Oscar nominations come out January 24. "We had an amazing one-week qualifying run in December where the film's attendance exceeded even our highest expectations," said David Fenkel, President of Oscilloscope Laboratories. "The reviews were stellar and the word-of-mouth is only growing."
And Open Road Films has set August 24 as the opening date for its recent pick-up "Outrun," written and directed by and starring Dax Shepard ("Parenthood"). The road thriller also stars Kristen Bell, Bradley Cooper, Tom Arnold, Beau Bridges and Kristin Chenoweth. David Palmer co-directed with Shepard.