WEST HOLLYWOOD – “Spotlight” had quite the weekend. Tom McCarthy’s critically acclaimed drama, which first debuted at the Venice Film Festival over two months ago, won over the major critics in New York and Los Angeles bumping up its Metacritic grade to a stellar 90 and its Rotten Tomatoes “fresh” percentage to 96%. That helped drive a superb $295,009 opening weekend in just five theaters for a fantastic $59,002 per screen. The Open Road release probably would have made more if not for a random electrical fire that shut The Landmark Theaters in LA on Sunday until 3 PM including two of “Spotlight’s” screens.* Nevertheless, when you’ve scored one of the top per screens of the year there is a lot to celebrate. Luckily, McCarthy, producers Steve Golin and Michael Sugar and the studio had scheduled a classy lunch with press and Academy members to wax on this year’s Oscar frontrunner at none other than West Hollywood hotspot Craig’s today.
*It’s worth noting “Brooklyn” had the same issue, but still managed to beat its original Sunday estimate with a $37,456 per also on five screens.
McCartney took a few minutes to chat and remarked about the incredible experiences he’s had participating in Q&A’s with audience members so far. Many moviegoers end up sharing their own stories or can tangentially relate in someway to the film’s subject matter, a Catholic Church cover-up of sexual abuse that was felt from coast to coast. One anecdote focused on an attendee who recalls arresting three priests when he was a NYPD cop in the 1980’s only to discover later on they were never formally charged. The filmmaker has a number of scripts he has to finish in his free time, but understand the “Spotlight” awards season train isn’t ending anytime soon.
“Spotlight’s” success is also another example of the good taste and good fortune Golin and Lucas, who are the brains behind the production entity Anonymous Content. The duo are producers on the USA Network hit “Mr. Robot” and HBO’s buzzworthy (for numerous reasons) “True Detective” (and, yes, I am chastising myself for not asking about season three) as well as another Best Picture player, “The Revenant.” According to Golin, the good news regarding that Alejandro González Iñárritu thriller is that it’s “finished” and should begin screening for the press and industry soon.
“Craig’s” has become something of a major staging ground for Oscar season lunches this year. Previous events were held for “Trumbo,” “Room” and a Sam Smith soiree for “Spectre.” Other attendees at this particular event included Dermot Mulroney and producers Albert Berger, Ron Yerxa and Howard Rosenman, among others.
“Spotlight” is now playing in New York and Los Angeles.