As cinemas around the country prepare to open their doors in July, Universal Pictures has set release dates for Shannon Murphy’s Babyteeth and Kriv Stenders’ Slim & I.
A bittersweet comedy starring Ben Mendelsohn, Essie Davis, Eliza Scanlen and Toby Wallace, Babyteeth will premiere on July 23, counter-programmed against Disney’s Mulan and one week after Warner Bros opens Chris Nolan’s time-travel thriller Tenet.
Universal will be hoping to cash in on the critical buzz for Babyteeth since its world premiere at the Venice Film Festival.
Produced by Alex White and based on Rita Kalnejais’ play, the drama stars Mendelsohn and Davis as a couple who discover their seriously ill teenage daughter Milla (Scanlen) has fallen in love with drug dealer Moses (Wallace).
It’s her protective parents’ worst nightmare but Milla teaches those in her orbit how to live like there is nothing to lose.
“We aim to be the first or among the first Australian movies to go out after cinemas re-open,” Universal Pictures MD Mike Baard tells IF. “It’s not art house per se, it’s upscale, both heartfelt and emotional.”
He sees the Milla-Moses story appealing to the under-25 demographic and the Mendelson-Davis relationship resonating with older audiences.
In the US, IFC Films is launching Murphy’s film, which was backed by Screen Australia, Create NSW, WeirAnderson.com, Jan Chapman Films and Spectrum Films, on June 19.
Kriv Stenders and Joy McKean.
Stenders’ feature documentary on Slim Dusty’s wife Joy McKean, Slim & I will open on August 27.
Produced by Chris Brown, Aline Jacques and Joy’s grandson James Arneman, the biopic chronicles her career, 50-year marriage and her determination to be recognised as a performer and songwriter in her own right.
Baard says: “Kriv’s film tells the untold story of the couple who became Australia’s first musical superstars. While Slim got the acclaim and fame Joy co-wrote songs, founded the Tamworth Country Music Festival and was in lockstep with him.”
McKean, who is 93, served as executive producer, with funding from Screen Australia and Screen Queensland.