Monday, April 15, 2024

“King’s Speech” Smooth Talks Past $100 Mil


Tipped to win the Oscar this Sunday for Best Picture, Tom Hooper’s “The King’s Speech” passed the $100 million mark this weekend. While other Oscar nominees are also there or more–“Black Swan,” “Social Network,” “True Grit,” “Inception,” etc–for “The King’s Speech” and The Weinstein Company this is truly an accomplishment.

The latter film company had struggled at the box office for four years. Quentin Tarantino’s wild, violent, and fun “Inglourious Basterds” was its only other big hit. Now “King’s” is set to pass it– a British film about a man cured of his stuttering through friendship. There are no explosions. This is no sex. The climax of the film, set 75 years ago, is the delivery of a speech set not to a pop song but Beethoven’s 7th Symphony.

So far “The King’s Speech” has earned an equal amount abroad, bringing in just over $209 million worldwide. That’s pretty astounding for a $15 million movie, although that number has certainly changed by now as total costs for the Oscar promotion, etc surely have been around $50 million. Even so, The Weinstein Company will have spent far less than, say, Columbia Pictures for “The Social Network” or Fox Searchlight for “Black Swan.”

And what a twist for those nattering Oscar nabobs who long ago called the Oscar race for “The Social Network” when it won all the critics prizes. They did not anticipate “The King’s Speech” sweeping the all important guild awards–Directors, Producers, Screen Actors.  The professional prognosticators will now spend this week explaining how all this happened, their past pronouncements lost in the wind.

Now the Weinstein Company can get positioned for next fall, particularly with Michelle Williams in “Marilyn and Me.” They’ve also bought “The Details” at Sundance, with Tobey Maguire and Laura Linney heading a phemonmenal cast in a hoot of a dark comedy. But shhhh…You won’t be hearing any more buzz on these films until much later in the year. Timing, as everyone learned this season, is everything.

And PS, because of just that, don’t be surprised if Julian Schnabel’s “Miral” doesn’t take on new meaning because of events in the Mid East. It’s set for release next month.

Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman
Roger Friedman began his Showbiz411 column in April 2009 after 10 years with Fox News, where he created the Fox411 column. His movie reviews are carried by Rotten Tomatoes, and he is a member of both the movie and TV branches of the Critics Choice Awards. His articles have appeared in dozens of publications over the years including New York Magazine, where he wrote the Intelligencer column in the mid 90s and covered the OJ Simpson trial, and Fox News (when it wasn't so crazy) where he covered Michael Jackson. He is also the writer and co-producer of "Only the Strong Survive," a selection of the Cannes, Sundance, and Telluride Film festivals, directed by DA Pennebaker and Chris Hegedus.

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