It has been twenty years since the filmmaker Richard Kelly put an indelible question mark above our heads. His cryptic first feature film Donnie darko had its world premiere on January 19, 2001 at the Sundance Film Festival, where it competed for the grand jury prize against the also iconic Memento, directed by Christopher Nolan. However, Kelly would have been far from considering his British counterpart as a rival, especially because of the valuable support he provided for the distribution of his debut.
This week, Collider brought up the story of how Christopher Nolan did his bit to get Donnie Darko to get a commercial run in theaters. It happened that arriving on the big screen seemed like a very unlikely feat for that psychological thriller starring Jake Gyllenhaal, because although it boasted the endorsement of Sundance, certain factors led to the distrust of the distributor. For example, the complexity of the plot (hard to sell), the pending payment of musical rights (a great soundtrack costs money) and the recurring requests that Kelly shorten the tape by thirty minutes.
Months passed and an exit window for the film was not perceptible. Meanwhile, Memento had arrived in theaters in the US on the eve of spring 2001 and was responsible for its distribution. Newmarket Films It witnessed how the cinematographic phenomenon of Christopher Nolan – with a budget of $ 4.5 million dollars – conquered the local box office to make $ 25.5 million in takings.
Not surprisingly, the company began to highly esteem Nolan’s opinion on specific matters, which was highly relevant to what came next. Aaron Ryder, a Newmarket executive, received a proposal one day to allow Richard Kelly to introduce Donnie Darko to the company’s top brass. He did so, but the future director of Tenet and the production company were also invited. Emma thomas, who occupied their seats until the end of the screening.
“When the lights came on, Chris and his wife turned to Newmarket executives Chris Ball and Will Tyrer. They both looked at them and they nodded. They said, ‘You should distribute this,’ “Kelly recalled (via).
Said and done, the distributor got to work and although they were more inclined to launch Donnie Darko directly on video, drew Barrymore (the film’s actress and executive producer) gave a little push to secure a theatrical release during the Halloween season; specifically the October 26, 2001.
It could be said that it is not an entirely happy ending. The box office performance of that first feature was very unfortunate, perhaps motivated by the parallels between the film’s air disaster and the events of September 11 of that year in New York. Still, Donnie Darko later acquired the sublime label of “cult movie” and partly owes it to Christopher Nolan, who voted not to deny it to audiences in this mad world.
This week, Jake gyllenhaal joined the celebration for the twentieth anniversary of the world premiere of Donnie Darko, through a series of photos of memorabilia surrounding its production.
It reads at the bottom of the images shared by the Oscar nominee:
“I got my script and some artifacts from Donnie Darko… It was released today 20 years ago. It is a film that changed my life and my career, and it has been unreal to see this story find a later life with new audiences and new generations, and yet what Donnie said to Roberta Sparrow remains true: ‘There is much to look forward to. ‘. Thank you to all the fans who have approached me over the years with that look of confusion on their faces and asked, ‘What the heck is Donnie Darko?’ Happy 20th anniversary, Donnie! Let’s keep confusing people. A toast to twenty more.
Donnie Darko is available within the Amazon Prime Video catalog.
christopher nolan donnie darko
Toño Guzmán I have a very bad memory. Out of solidarity with my memories, I choose to lose myself too. Preferably in a movie theater.