*The same weekend that the Trayvon Martin verdict was read, The Weinstein Company also happened to release its Sundance Film Festival ’13 winner “Fruitvale Station” in 7 theaters, pulling in a broad reach of audiences even as the Twittersphere linked the film with Saturday’s George Zimmerman verdict, reports Deadline.com.
Director Ryan Coogler’s drama, which won the Sundance Grand Jury Prize and was picked up by TWC at the festival, tells a story that draws parallels with the Martin case which has gripped the 24 news cycle the past couple weeks. “Fruitvale Station” grossed $377,285 for a stellar $53,898 average in its opening weekend.
Asked about the Martin case during a speaking event at the Film Society of Lincoln Center Thursday evening, Coogler said: “There’s a million Americans that don’t see Trayvon’s potential, they look at him as a thug that got what he deserved, even though he’s a seventeen yeas old boy that couldn’t even vote yet, that had never been arrested never had a criminal record. And my question is why is that? Why do people look at him and see that. We look at him and see something else. We look at him and see us.”
The film should continue to play well, notes Deadline, with exit polls giving it an 88% “definite recommend,” according to Lomis. “Fruitvale Station” will go to an additional 6 cities next weekend before opening wide July 26.
Tonight (July 15), TWC’s behind-the-scenes special “Fruitvale Station: The Story of Oscar Grant” will premiere exclusively on BET from 7:30 to 8 p.m. ET/PT. The special will also re-air on CENTRIC on Friday, July 19 at 10 p.m. ET/PT.
The special trace’s the film’s journey from production to Sundance to Cannes to movie theaters across the country.
“TWC is proud to collaborate with BET who has championed this film from its very beginning starting with the Sundance Film Festival,” read a statement from the company. “BET recognized early on the importance of director Ryan Coogler’s feature debut film and the significance of Oscar Grant’s story. They have shown tremendous support for the film including – the BET Experience screening in late June, featuring the film and its star Michael B. Jordan at the BET Awards earlier this month, partnering with TWC on the film’s New York premiere on July 8th, and online features onBET.com.”