Avengers: Infinity War broke records in its opening weekend and is sure to make more in its second than most movies make in their entire run. Yet, that could still be good for this week’s new movie, Bad Samaritan.
Bad Samaritan was supposed to open earlier this year but moved to May 4. Why would it choose to compete with the biggest movie the summer?
It turns out more people will actually see Bad Samaritan this weekend than earlier in the year. And not because people will choose it if Avengers sells out. Avengers is in enough theaters to accommodate every ticket buyer.
Director Dean Devlin, who cut his teeth producing movies like Independence Day and Stargate, explained how the theater owners actually requested a later release date.
“We finally got all the theater chains to look at the movie,” Devlin said. “They really liked the movie and they said to us strongly, ‘We can give you more screens if you will go on this other date. We want to get behind your movie but the date you had chosen, we’re just not going to be able to give you the screens you want.’”
Perhaps the lack of studio movies competing with Avengers: Infinity War left more of the smaller houses open for a new releases. There are only so many theaters that can show Avengers, so giving a screen of each cineplex to Bad Samaritan gives viewers more choices.
“We’re an independent, and if you really look at startup independent distribution companies, to get anything more than 700 screens is really hard,” Devlin said. “They’ve come behind us now and it looks like we’re going to be somewhere between 1800 and 2000 screens now.”
In Bad Samaritan, Sean Falco (Robert Sheehan) is a valet burglar, driving to his customers’ houses while they dine. At Cale Erendreich (David Tennant)’s house, Sean discovers a kidnapped woman (Kerry Condon) chained up.
Sean can’t free her but he tries to come back and save her, only Cale is always a step ahead of him.
“To me the most horrifying stuff is stuff that you can actually run into,” Devlin said. “A guy like Cale is not fiction. There are guys like that unfortunately in our world. A guy like Cale could live down the block from you, could live across the street from you.”
To play the role, Tennant could draw on some of the research he already did to play Kilgrave in Marvel’s Jessica Jones. Screenwriter Brandon Boyce also gave him a copy of the book The Wisdom of Psychopaths.
“I had been reading up on psychopaths in recent history because I played another one for Marvel,” Tennant said. “I dusted them down a little bit. There’s lots to read and then you have to just set yourself free into this character, and try and find the empathy which is hard with a man who has none.”
Devlin has frequently used massive spectacle to thrill audiences. For Bad Samaritan he had to rely on more subtle techniques.
“The style of this movie and the tone of this movie is unlike anything I’ve ever done before on television or in features,” Devlin said. “We did a lot of studying of other films. My DP has done a lot of Stephen King stuff. Just talking about the way in which to use the camera and to create those jump moments.”
Bad Samaritan is in theaters Friday, May 4. Read our review of the movie too.