After an August release, “The Peanut Butter Falcon” finally grossed $20 million at U.S. box offices last weekend, a sum The Hollywood Reporter rightfully characterized as a “surprise” success.
THR further reported that “Peanut Butter Falcon” was “buoyed by America’s heartland.” That’s according to Dan Fellman, who was hired by Armoy Films to help the film land a distributor. Here’s what he said:
America’s heartland fueled Peanut Butter Falcon, said Fellman, who is the go-to adviser for the likes of Christopher Nolan, Steven Soderbergh and Netflix. “I’m not embarrassed by what we grossed in New York and Los Angeles, but the truth is, we did better in smaller markets. When one town ran out, we moved to another,” he added, noting that the film’s top-grossing metropolis was Salt Lake City.
Finding a distributor had been a major struggle for Armory. “It was devastating when the buyers weren’t able to see what we were seeing,” producer Tim Zajaros told THR. “They wondered whether people would be interested in seeing a movie starring a person who actually has Down Syndrome.” Moviegoers—particularly in those smaller markets—ultimately proved the skeptics wrong.
I hesitate to use the word heartwarming, but “Peanut Butter Falcon” fits the bill. A spin on “Huckleberry Finn,” the film charts the development of an unlikely friendship between two young men on the run, one an embittered crab fisher (Shia LaBeouf), the other a boy with Down syndrome (Zack Gottsagen) who wants nothing more than to attend a faraway wrestling school.
Both critics and audiences appear to agree on the merits of “Peanut Butter Falcon.” As of Tuesday, it has a 95 percent on Rotten Tomatoes’ Tomatometer and a 96 percent audience score.