Sundance Hit Beasts Of The Southern Wild Gets June 29 Release Date
If you were paying attention at all to the Sundance Film Festival this year, you inevitably started hearing about Beasts of the Southern Wild, the first feature from director Benh Zeitlin that quickly became the undisputed hit of the festival, eventually going on to win the top jury prize for U.S. Narrative Film. At a festival like Sundance the even bigger prize can be a distribution deal-- all of the competition films arrive at the festival in hopes of a distributor to bring their movies out into the world, and Beasts snagged what might be the best one, getting picked up by Fox Searchlight midway through the festival.
Searchlight has made big hits of Sundance successes like Little Miss Sunshine and (500) Days of Summer, and they'll be attempting to do the same with Beasts, which isn't quite as cuddly a comedy as those two films, but an undeniably moving and imaginative portrait of a fictional southern Louisiana town, and the six-year-old girl who may be able to save it. Searchlight has had good luck releasing some of their Sundance picks in the summer, and it looks like they'll be trying the same feat with Beasts; according to a tweet from Box Office Mojo, Searchlight has set a June 29 release for the film, pitting it against giant movies like G.I. Joe: Retaliation-- which obviously won't be any kind of competition at all-- and Magic Mike, but also another festival hit, Sarah Polley's romance Take This Waltz.
The June 29 release will be limited, which means the opening weekend isn't actually that important-- if Beasts is a success, it will build its audience throughout the summer and never own the weekend, but be part of the conversation for many months. As you can tell by reading my review, I'll be rooting pretty hard for that to happen. This is a film that demands to be seen, and here's hoping the general audience response can be half as rapturous as the one at Sundance.
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