Tuesday, May 26, 2009

#3 Box Office in the U.S.!

The Memorial Weekend box office figures are among the most prized in the Film Making calendar. "Easy Virtue" has come in #3 behind "Terminator Salvation", and "Night at the Museum II"!

Of course, that ranking is for the 'per screen average', but it's impressive, none the less. 'Terminator' and 'Museum' are have budgets into the 100's of millions of dollars with platform releases going out on 3,500 and 4,000 screens respectively. "Easy Virtue", on the other hand is a modestly budgeted British film in limited release in New York and Los Angeles. That means it's punching well above its weight on a tiny 10 screens - yep. one, zero - and still the little British film came 24th over all - according to Box Office Mojo

The Hollywood Reporter was quick to point out the success of the film:" Among the latest limited bows, Sony Pictures Classics' romantic comedy "Easy Virtue" -- starring Colin Firth and Jessica Biel -- unspooled in 10 theaters and grossed $146,140. That represented an impressive $14,614 per venue."

And The Huffington Post was also impressed: "While Ben Stiller and the Terminator battled it out in Hollywood (with Ben Stiller the surprise champion), Indiewood’s Memorial Day weekend had a clear box office winner in Stephan Elliott’s “Easy Virtue.” According to estimates, the Noel Coward adaptation grossed a classy $146,140 on 10 screens.  Released by Sony Pictures Classics, “Virtue” - which stars Ben Barnes, Jessica Biel and Kristen Scott Thomas - averaged $14,614 over the four-day weekend, easily the highest among all specialty releases."

Sunday, May 24, 2009

U.S. Big Guns Blazing for Easy Virtue

The prestigious  Broadcast Film Critics Association which is culled from the most senior reviewers around the United States is currently rating "Easy Virtue" at a high of 77.  This is a culmination of terrific reviews which began back in Toronto with high praise from the three major industry magazines: Variety, Screen Daily and The Hollywood Reporter.

With the release of the film over the Memorial Weekend (May 22nd, 2009) in Los Angeles and New York, other great critics have waded in in support of the film.

In the L.A. Times, Betsey Sharkey writes that "There are probably no better hands to entrust virtue o any sort to than those of writer-director Stephan Elliott... [He has] created a wonderfully rich battle for propriety in "Easy Virtue." The humor might sting, but the pain is worth the pleasure."

In USA Today, senior reviewer Claudia Puig says "Easy Virtue goes down as light a fizzily as a flute of Champagne tossed back in an airy drawing room."

Ella Taylor at The Village Voice described it as "deliciously cheeky" with a "uniformly great cast."

Rex Reed at in the The Observer writes, "The stifling repression endemic to the British class system is so impeccably preserved that it connects with modern audiences, and young people allergic to period pieces are likely to embrace the message about the need to break from the shackles of the past and open a window to a brave new future." ... "Easy Virtue is romantic, clever and artfully crafted. All told, a sparkling, classy and ultimately satisfying experience."

Also New York Times critic Stephen Holden made it the pick of the week with four out of five stars. "The film uses ingenious visual symbols - curved oval mirrors and stuffed animals - to suggest the Whittakers' warped Victorian values and the deadness of a culture Larita finds unendurable"

Perhaps best of all for a film which is designed to attract a younger audience as well as the traditional demographic for period drama - Rolling Stone Magazines' reviewer, Peter Travers in his pithy review sums up with: "Stephan Elliott uncorks a rare vintage of laughs tinged with heartache."

Sunday, May 3, 2009

"Easy Virtue" wins Audience Prize

Hot on the heels of the Tribeca Film Festival in New York - The 10th Annual Newport Beach Film Festival closed last Thursday night  with two films tying for the audience award for best feature:  "Easy Virtue," (which screened on April 26); and "Street Dreams,"(April 25) were both deemed by the record crowds to be the most popular films of the festival.

Rachel Josue from MTV saw "Easy Virtue" at a press screening as part of the Tribeca Film Festival - "The Verdict: Excellent. I loved it.

Set in the 1930’s in rural England, the film centers around Larita (Jessica Biel), a mature American woman who has just married John Whittaker (Ben Barnes), a young Englishman. The newlyweds travel to his family’s farming estate so Larita can meet his family. Her mother in-law Mrs. Whittaker (Kristin Scott Thomas) tries to undermine her at every turn, but Larita doesn’t go down so easily. The way the story of Larita unfolds keeps the audience in its toes. The dialogue is witty and the story funny. "