Final yr, because the trade was seeking to elevate itself out the pandemic’s purgatory on the field workplace, SXSW lit the wick on A24’s The whole lot In all places All at As soon as, which wound up dynamiting the 18-34 hipster moviegoer set in what turned the highest-grossing indie movie of 2022, one of the best ever for the New York-based distributor, and now a possible Oscar Finest Image winner.
As such, it’s typically been mentioned that SXSW has been a spot to launch large studio horror titles and comedies earlier than genre-friendly crowds quite than promote them and uncover frosh expertise; it’s right here the place eventual Shang-Chi and the Legend of the ten Rings filmmaker Destin Daniel Cretton first made a giant splash with the Brie Larson drama Quick Time period 12. Nonetheless, that sluggish rhythm has by no means deterred sellers from using the Austin competition as place to launch contemporary expertise on to a zeitgeist demographic, away from the noise of Sundance’s high-brow fare and frenzied streaming market.
Final yr marked a return to an in-person affair after a three-year hiatus on account of Covid, and SXSW got here again swinging not simply with rock concert-like premieres for The whole lot In all places All at As soon as, but additionally Paramount’s The Misplaced Metropolis and the Nicolas Cage satire The Insufferable Weight of Large Expertise.
This yr, there’s a the world premiere of Paramount’s Dungeons & Dragons: Honor Amongst Thieves, a shock sneak screening of John Wick: Chapter, Warner Bros’ Evil Useless Rises and Lionsgate’s Asian American comedy Pleasure Trip.
Among the many movies final yr discovering patrons had been Andrea Riseborough’s final Finest Actress Oscar nom contender To Leslie, which went to Momentum Footage. That distributor additionally took Blumhouse’s feminine thriller Delicate & Quiet. Shout Studios acquired the Jim Gaffigan-Rhea Seehorn comedy Linoleum, whereas IFC and AMC+ picked up the Aubrey Plaza-Alison Brie film Spin Me Spherical in addition to the social class comedy Fairly Issues.
Traditionally, SXSW is a money cow for sellers with the occasional $1 million deal right here and there (i.e., 2016’s Adam Scott-Nick Kroll-Jenny Slate film My Blind Brother). Excessive-water marks have included Roadside Sights nabbing the 2015 Sally Discipline film Whats up, My Identify Is Doris for $1.75M; it yielded a $14.4M home gross.
Nonetheless, with the WGA and studios certain to sq. off, together with the DGA and SAG, within the subsequent spherical of contract negotiations, distributors might be in want of product ought to there be a strike down the highway — particularly in a theatrical market that’s on the rebound from Covid. Exhibition has additionally been loud concerning the want for extra titles.
“There’s lots of business product on the market in a means that we haven’t seen for a couple of years,” one optimistic vendor mentioned. “After you have lots of motion pictures up for grabs, it solely creates competitors.”
Relying on who you to speak with, this yr’s Sundance Movie Competition was feast or famine. However for some sellers it was bliss, with one seeing half their slate offered within the first 48 hours.
True, it’s a backloaded SXSW this yr for some large premieres, no due to the Oscars falling on the competition’s first weekend. SXSW units its dates years prematurely, however some imagine the annual occasion that encompasses movie, TV, tech, comedy, music and extra ought to have shifted in response to the Oscars.
Whereas some sellers are griping about that, they’ve an answer.
“We’re ensuring we’re setting screenings in L.A. and mobilizing as a lot as doable,” mentioned one.
Listed here are a number of the scorching titles up on the market at SXSW 2023 (all occasions CT):
AMERICANA — Heads and tails, that is the glitziest seize for any purchaser following HBO scooping up Sydney Sweeney’s Actuality out of Berlin. However why is Americana going later quite than sooner on the fest with a world premiere March 17? We perceive there was a good a turnaround with the film’s post-production. which is customary for any indie making a giant splash at a serious movie competition (to not point out, it’s after Oscar weekend). Pic reps the characteristic directorial debut of Tony Tost (creator of Netflix interval drama Damnation). Along with starring Sweeney, Americana additionally stars Paul Walter Hauser and reps the characteristic debut of pop singer Halsey on this Southern heist-gone-wrong film involving the legendary Native American artifact the Lakota Ghost Shirt. Heroes and villains collide on this darkish, comedic crime thriller. Bron Studios financed. WME Impartial and Bron are dealing with worldwide gross sales.
Part: Narrative Highlight. First screening: March 17, 1:30 p.m., Paramount
SELF RELIANCE — Jake Johnson’s characteristic directorial debut Self Reliance has a candy premiere spot on Saturday evening on the Paramount, a spot usually reserved for studio fare. Johnson stars with Anna Kendrick, Andy Samberg, Natalie Morales, Christopher Lloyd, Wayne Brady, GaTa, Emily Hampshire, Mary Holland and Boban Marjanović. Logline: When a person is obtainable $1 million to play a sport during which hunters attempt to kill him, he thinks he has discovered the right loophole: they’ll solely assault when he’s alone. His solely drawback is that none of his associates or household imagine the sport is actual. MRC is promoting. Johnson additionally wrote, and he produced with Ali Bell and Joe Hardesty. EPs are Lonely Island’s Andy Samberg, Akiva Schaffer and Jorma Taccone. Part: Narrative Highlight. 1st Screening: March 11, 6:30 p.m., Paramount
IF YOU WERE THE LAST — The sci-fi romantic comedy directed by Kristian Mercado and written by Angela Bourassa stars Anthony Mackie, Zoe Chao, Natalie Morales and Goeff Stults. Adam and Jane (Mackie and Chao) are three years right into a NASA mission that has gone sideways, drifting between Jupiter and Saturn. They cross the time, sure that assist isn’t on its means. All of this culminates in Adam proposing that they sleep collectively. A debate ensues between the duo. Assume When Harry Met Sally set in area. The film has an analogous vibe to Palm Springs; that film offered to Hulu and Neon out of Sundance for $22M. Chris and Paul Weitz government produced. UTA promoting. Part: Narrative Highlight. 1st Screening: March 11, 6 p.m., Stateside Theatre
STORY AVE — The crime drama co-written and directed by Aristotle Torres has been a number of years within the making. Jamie Foxx is without doubt one of the producers right here. The film follows South Bronx native Kadir Grayson, who after dropping his older brother plunges himself in with a graffiti gang that’s as legal as they’re inventive. He tries to rob a Latino MTA conductor on the Story Avenue subway platform. Luis will give Kadir the money he wants if he simply has a meal with him, one which might be life-changing for the teenager. Luis Guzman, Asante Blackk, Melvin Gregg, Alex Hibbert star. There’s lots of pleasure round this Sundance Lab-developed challenge because it’s tri-repped with WME Impartial, UTA and CAA and promoting. Part: Narrative Function Competitors. 1st Screening: March 11, 12:45 p.m., Alamo Lamar
YOU SING LOUD, I SING LOUDER – Christine Vachon is without doubt one of the producers on this Emma Westenberg film that stars real-life father-daughter Ewan McGregor and Clara McGregor on this highway journey film. Dad is attempting to avoid wasting his daughter after she overdoses on benzodiazepines and opioids. He’s been absent, and in an try to guide her to sobriety, seems to be to restore their relationship. It’s not an autobiographical film, however closely influenced by the duo’s personal private relationships and struggles. UTA promoting. Part: Narrative Highlight. 1st Screening: March 11, 9:15 p.m., Zach Theatre
LATE BLOOMERS — Karen Gillan continues to point out her vary past the Jumanji and Guardians of the Galaxy motion pictures. Right here she performs 28-year-old-Louise, a depressed musician, not too long ago single, who breaks her hip and winds up in bodily remedy with folks twice her age. There she meets cranky Polish girl Antonia (Malgorzata Zajaczkowska), who speaks no English. Louise winds up caring for her. Neither loves the association. UTA promoting this film directed by Lisa Steen and written by Anna Greenfield. Steen world premiered her 2019 quick Sundowners at Sundance, and Late Bloomers is her characteristic directorial debut after 5 shorts. UTA promoting. Part: Narrative Function Competitors. 1st Screening: March 10, 6:45 p.m., Alamo Lamar D
MUSTACHE — Imran J. Khan wrote and directed this sensible, adolescent title that has the attraction we hear of Eighth Grade and Ladybird. Set within the mid-Nineties in Northern California, 13-year-old Ilyas, a Pakistani American, has been pulled out of his Islamic personal faculty by his dad and mom and despatched to public faculty the place he faces the embarrassment of his inescapable, prepubescent “mustache.” Ilyas hatches a plan to return to his old style. Khan was an editor on Area Jam: A New Legacy and Minions: The Rise of Gru. Christopher Storer, creator of The Bear, was an early champ for this challenge and was concerned in growing it as one of many producers. UTA promoting. Part: Narrative Function Competitors. 1st Screening: March 12, 4:15 p.m., Alamo Lamar D
BLOODY HELL — Molly McGlynn’s second directorial characteristic after 2017’s Mary Goes Spherical (which went to TIFF) is a semi-biographical coming-of-age traumedy that traverses sexuality and womanhood. It facilities on 16-year-old Lindy (Maddie Ziegler), who’s recognized with MRKH syndrome, a reproductive situation, which upends her plans to have intercourse, and her relationship together with her mom (Emily Hampshire) and most significantly herself. Janelle Monáe is an EP right here. WME Impartial promoting. Part: Narrative Highlight. 1st Screening: March 13, 9 p.m., Stateside Theatre.
CORA BORA — Cora (Megan Stalter) senses her open relationship is on the rocks. When the struggling musician and messy millennial goes dwelling to Portland to win again her girlfriend, she realizes it’s far more than her love life that wants salvaging. Forged consists of Hannah Pearl Utt directs off a script by Rhianon Jones. Chelsea Peretti, Jojo T. Gibbs, Manny Jacinto, Ayden Mayeri, Thomas Mann, Chrissie Match, Andre Hyland, Margaret Cho, Darrell Hammond. CAA promoting. Part: Narrative Highlight. 1st Screening: March 12, 8:30 p.m., Stateside Theatre.
FRYBREAD FACE AND ME — Taika Waititi is the chief producer on this characteristic written and directed by Billy Luther and set within the Nineties. Benny is a Native American boy rising up in San Diego who performs with dolls and listens to Fleetwood Mac. The whole lot Benny thinks he is aware of about himself and his household is turned the wrong way up when his dad and mom pressure him to spend the summer time at his Grandma Lorraine’s sheep ranch on the reservation in Arizona. There he meets his cousin Daybreak aka Frybread Face, a pudgy 11-year-old vagabond, tough-as-nails tomboy. Benny has by no means met anybody like her, and he’s equally intimidated and impressed by her data of Navajo language and custom. Collectively, Benny and Fry create a memorable summer time. Macro and Riverraod are on board right here. CAA promoting this pic that stars Kier Tallman, Charley Hogan, Martin Sensmeier, Kahara Hodges and Sarah Natani. Part: Narrative Highlight. 1st Screening: March 11, 6 p.m., Alamo Lamar B