O-scope’s Found Footage Comedy ‘VHYes’ Debuts, ‘Parasite’, ‘Jojo Rabbit’ Set Expansions After Oscar Noms – Specialty B.O. Preview

Dino-Ray Ramos

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This weekend will be a little more retro and lo-fi with the release of Oscilloscope Laboratories’ forthcoming comedy VHYes from writer and director Jack Henry Robbins. In limited release, the pic is a new take on the found footage genre — and it’s all shot entirely on VHS.

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For those of you who aren’t familiar, VHS is a form of media that was developed in the late ’70s and grew increasingly popular in the ’80s. It’s like streaming, but all in a clunky black plastic case that you insert in a machine and it plays on your television. It’s like a video with a retro Instagram filter.

VHYes follows 12-year-old Ralph (Mason McNulty) mistakenly records home videos and his favorite late-night shows over his parents’ wedding tape. The result is a nostalgic wave of vignettes of home shopping clips, censored pornography, dramas, music, horror and nefarious true-crime tales that threaten to unkindly rewind Ralph’s reality.

The film premiered at Fantastic Fest in Austin and opens in Tuscon, Houston, Los Angeles, Columbus, El Paso, Lubbock, Tempe, San Francisco, Austin, San Antonio, New Orleans, Brooklyn, Denver, Omaha, Minneapolis, Dallas, Raleigh and Birmingham. They plan to roll-out the title to more cities over the coming weeks.

Oscilloscope exec Andrew Carlin said of the release strategy for the genre pic: “We love experimenting with different release models, so this was definitely a fun challenge. We brought the film to about twenty [Alamo Drafthouse] locations for a special one-night-only screening on January 12, which was followed by a live-stream Q&A with the cast and filmmakers.”

Carlin said that they have seen sold-out screenings across major markets including San Francisco, Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Austin. He adds that Alamo Drafthouse founder Tim League has been a supporter of the film since its premiere at Fantastic Fest.  After watching it League contacted Oscilloscope to say he’d pave the way for the film’s release across Drafthouses across the country.

Co-written by Robbins and Nunzio Randazzo, VHYes also stars Thomas Lennon, Mark Proksch, Kerri Kenney and Charlyne Yi. Tim Robbins also appears in the film and serves as an executive producer alongside Susan Sarandon (Robbins and Sarandon are the director’s parents), Daniel Berger, Aaron Katz, Daniel Kellison and Jack Lieberman. Delaney Schenker produces.

Neon and Fox Searchlight are both riding the wave of Oscar nominations as they are releasing their top contenders of the awards season.

Bong Joon Ho’s Parasite has become a big title for Neon as the best-reviewed film of 2019 with stellar scores on Rotten Tomatoes and Metacritic. Receiving six nominations including Best Picture, the dark comedy boosts its theater count in its 15th week of release from 345 to 843 this weekend which will certainly add to its box office bank. More than that, it will bolster its presence in the awards season race.

The film has grossed $25.6 million domestically, making it the highest-grossing foreign-language film of 2019, the 7th highest-grossing foreign-language film of all time and has the highest foreign language PSA of all time. Globally, it has amassed over $148 million.

The Palme D’Or winner has established a lot of firsts in the industry, becoming the first Korean film to ever get nominated for an Oscar. Bong is not only the first Korean to be nominated for Best Director at the Oscars, but he and Han Jin Won are the first Koreans to ever be nominated for Best Original Screenplay. The film won Best Foreign Language Film at the Golden Globes and is the first foreign-language film to be nominated for SAG Ensemble in 20 years.

Fox Searchlight will have a massive expansion for Taika Waititi’s Jojo Rabbit after its six nominations, upping its theater count from 125 to 945 adding more runs than Parasite. After taking a brief break in Manhattan and in the Los Angeles area, the World War II satire enters the awards season fray once again, playing in the five theaters it opened in on October 18, 2019 including The Arclight Hollywood, Landmark West L.A, Alamo Brooklyn, Union Square NYC, and the AMC Lincoln Square in Manhattan.

The film made its World Premiere at the Toronto Film Festival last year and to date, the film has performed fairly well for Fox Searchlight, earning over $22 million at the box office.

Jojo Rabbit has been an award season favorite and received six Academy Award nominations including Best Picture. It also earned a SAG Award nomination for Best Ensemble as well as a Directors Guild nom for Waititi.

After opening in Japan last July, Makoto Shinkai’s Weathering With You made its debut stateside with special fan preview screenings on January 15 and 16 presented by GKIDS and Fathom Events. Today it received a theatrical release in 119 cities in 461 theaters.

Shinkai and producer Genki Kawamura found success with the critically acclaimed Your Name and hope to find another hit with Weathering With You. Set in the summer of Hodaka’s high school freshman year, he runs away from his remote island home to Tokyo and quickly finds himself pushed to his financial and personal limits. The weather is unusually gloomy and rainy every day which may be a prediction of his future. He lives his days in isolation, but finally finds work as a writer for a mysterious occult magazine. Then one day, Hodaka meets Hina on a busy street corner. This bright and strong-willed girl possesses a strange and wonderful ability: the power to stop the rain and clear the sky.

The English language dub version of the film features the voices of Lee Pace (Guardians of the Galaxy), Alison Brie (GLOW) and Riz Ahmed (Rogue One: A Star Wars Story). The film’s theatrical release will be presented in both its original Japanese and new English dub versions.

The romantic fantasy was a massive hit at the Japanese box office, becoming the #1 local film for 2019. The animated feature received four Annie Awards nominations including Best Animated Independent Feature. It was also the official selection for the Best International Feature category at the Academy Awards and is the first Japanese submission of an animated feature for consideration since Studio Ghibli’s Princess Mononoke.

 

Also opening this weekend is the Gille Klabin-directed sci-fi pic The Wave starring Justin Long and Donald Faison. Long stars as Frank, an opportunistic insurance lawyer, who goes out of town with his co-worker Jeff (Faison) to celebrate his upcoming promotion. Their night takes a turn for the bizarre when Frank is dosed with a hallucinogen that completely alters his perception of the world. He goes on a psychedelic journey and travels between reality and fantasy while trying to find himself, a missing girl and his wallet.

Daniel Alfredson’s Intrigo: Death Of An Author starring Ben Kingsley also opens this weekend in limited release. Originally released in Germany in 2018, the dramatic thriller makes its stateside premiere. Based on the best-seller by Hakan Nesser, the film tells the story of David who plans the seemingly accidental murder of his wife. After her body is never found, he is convinced that she is still alive. It seems that mysterious death follows David around as he translates the final novel of a writer who also dies.

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