Peter Bart: ‘Booksmart’ Early Litmus Test As Landmark Looks To Revive Sagging Indie Box Office

Peter Bart: ‘Booksmart’ Early Litmus Test As Landmark Looks To Revive Sagging Indie Box Office
The movie business famously creates curious bedfellows: Consider Olivia Wilde and Charles S. Cohen. Wilde is the gifted actress whose buoyant first-time directing venture, Booksmart, is trying to break the indie film business out of a dismal slump. Cohen is the billionaire investor and art film connoisseur who, as the new owner of the Landmark Theatres chain — the 252-screen hub of the indie world — has a stake in helping Booksmart and its ilk find an audience.

To be sure, Booksmart is not Cohen’s type of movie; he owns 1,000 classic film titles and libraries. Cohen is not Wilde’s type of billionaire; she likes Brooklyn film nerds, not cerebral real estate tycoons. But given the anomalies of the movie business, they need each other.

Cohen had a right to ask, is Booksmart, either the film or its marketing campaign, smart enough? Written, directed and funded by smart young women, Booksmart
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