This year at Sundance, I saw a film called Elite Squad 2, which melted my face off and kicked my nuts in. It had the plot complexity of The Wire, but packed with balls-to-the-wall action sequences that would make John Woo crap white doves. Back in April, I told you it was getting a theatrical release this October. That was a bit of wishful thinking, it turns out, but Variety’s follow-up report says the film, which is now called Elite Squad: The Enemy Within (not a great title, but you definitely don’t have to see the first Elite Squad to understand this one — I hadn’t), is set to open November 11th in New York and LA, followed by a platform release in other markets.
New Video’s Flatiron Film and Variance Films are partnering for the U.S. release of José Padilha’s crime thriller “Elite Squad: The Enemy Within.
“Elite Squad: The Enemy Within” is directed by Padilha and co-written by Padilha and Bráulio Mantovani. Story takes place in the sprawling slum that surrounds Rio de Janeiro and centers on the head of Rio’s Special Police Operations Battalion being accused of a massacre when a mission to quell a jail riot ends in the violent death of a gang leader. [Variety]
I still don’t understand this platform release bullsh*t. What it means is that there’s a good chance it’s never coming to your market and you won’t see it. I don’t understand the movies they choose for this strategy. There are movies I love that I wouldn’t necessarily recommend to a lot of people — Drive, Midnight in Paris — great movies, but only to us culture snobs. Elite Squad is 85% a straight-up action movie, which just so happens to also be smart enough to please those of us who enjoy things like “story” and “character development.” It’s also the highest-grossing Brazilian movie of all time. You can stereotype Brazilians in a lot of ways, but “art snob” probably wouldn’t be one of them. Point being, this is the kind of movie that would be huge if people had a chance to see it. The fact that it has subtitles is really the only thing that might keep Joe Sixpack and Willy Walmart away, but if you make the decision for them, you’re shooting yourself in the foot. Because this is the kind of movie that could finally make those people say, “You know? Maybe them queer word movies ain’t so bad after all.”
Movie distributors need to give people what they want, I know, but unless you show them something new, get people to see something they might not have gone to in the past, you’re not creating new markets, you’re just cannibalizing your old ones. That’s why movie attendance continues to decline (in terms of attendance, 2011 was the worst year since 1997). Moreover, if a distributor doesn’t think there’s a bigger market for Elite Squad than for Sarah Jessica Parker’s I Don’t Know How She Does It, he should kick himself in the nuts for being an idiot, then kick himself in the nuts again for knowingly selling a sh*tty product. (trailer below)