EXCLUSIVE: We are hearing from sources that Origin, Oscar-nominated filmmaker Ava DuVernay’s new film is not only the most tested film of her career, but also for Neon, the film’s distributor.
Origin scored a total of 91 positive points in the first two boxes with a definitive recommendation of 81 in its audience tests, beating Neon’s Cannes Film Festival Palme d’Or and the 2020 Best Film Oscar winner, Parasite, which recorded a total of 91 positive and 73 definite recommendations, as well as the studio’s other Oscar winner, I, Tonia, which obtained a total of 88 positives and 68 definitive recommendations.
We understand that focus groups that remain after a Origin Test screenings are emotional, moved by what they just saw, with in-depth conversations with other viewers about the social issues in the picture. The film will have an awards-eligible release in Los Angeles and New York on December 8th, before opening on January 19th.
Neon has assumed global rights to Origin before its premiere at the Venice Film Festival, where it received an eight-minute standing ovation. Upon its release, the film has an 85% fresh certification on Rotten Tomatoes. With Origin, DuVernay became the first black American woman to be selected at the Venice Film Festival.
Origin is based on Isabel Wilkerson’s 2020 bestseller Caste: the source of our discontent and follows the Pulitzer Prize winner’s creative and personal journey across multiple continents through pain, revelation, and the evils of historical stratification. King Richard Oscar nominee Aunjanue Ellis-Taylor plays Wilkerson. The film contains strong and frightening links to today’s political realities, both national and international, from antiquity to India’s Dalit caste (once called the Untouchables), to slavery in America and the segregation and violence of Jim Crow laws, and the systematic persecution of the Nazis. Jews and the horrors of the Holocaust.
Oscar-nominated DuVernay told Deadline’s Dominic Patten in an interview: “The goal of Origin, of this work, is to say stop for a second, notice what is happening, how close we are to it and start challenging our vocabulary. Challenging what we think we know, challenging what our shapes and symbols are and what they mean. To challenge this stupid behavior we find ourselves in. This state where we accept everything, where we accept that all of this is racism and that’s the way it is. No, really start interrogating.
She further added, “The reaction I expect is challenges and I hope some understanding in that as well.”
The film also stars Jon Bernthal, Niecy Nash-Betts, Vera Farmiga, Audra McDonald, Nick Offerman, Blair Underwood, Finn Wittrock, Jasmine Cephas-Jones and Connie Nielsen.
DuVernay received a 2017 Oscar nomination in the Feature Documentary category for 13th. The Netflix film took an in-depth look at the United States prison system, revealing the country’s history of racial inequality. DuVernay’s film Selma about Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.’s epic march from Selma to Montgomery, AL won an Oscar for original song for Common and John Legend’s “Glory.” DuVernay’s Disney Film A wrinkle in time With more than $132 million, WW is the second biggest of all time for a black American filmmaker, after Nia DaCosta The wonders ($161 million WW).