EXCLUSIVE: Multiple sources tell Deadline that Bradley Cooper’s A Star Is Born is headed to the Venice Film Festival. Although no one is officially confirming it, we have been told the festival will screen the Warner Bros movie out of competition as a world premiere on Friday, August 31.
It should certainly turn out to be one of the hotter, more anticipated titles when Venice formally announces its schedule next Wednesday — a day after we get the first wave of films from the Toronto Film Festival which has its press conference Tuesday. A Star Is Born is also expected to be listed among TIFF’s North American premieres
The first screening of the film, which marks Cooper’s directorial debut and in which he co-stars with Lady Gaga, was actually held by Warner Bros for exhibitors Wednesday at the state-of-the-art Dolby Screening Room at Hollywood and Vine. Reaction from top exhibs was through the roof, at least those I heard from. One major theater owner predicted Oscar nominations across the board including Picture, Director, Actor and Actress, and big box office when it opens October 5. Another from a large chain said the film was “fantastic” and noted the sound in the concert scenes made you feel as if you were actually there live. He also predicted Oscar buzz for both leads and was particularly impressed by Cooper’s singing. Cooper appeared in person at the screening to introduce it.
Buzz has been steadily building for the film. Even Barbra Streisand, who of course starred in the 1976 version, has offered praise for it since seeing “parts of it” that Cooper showed her. “I’m really proud of him — he did a great job on this film,” she told me when we spoke last month. “I think it’s a story that works. It’s interesting to see my version, it’s interesting to see Judy Garland’s (1954) version, you know even go back to 1937 (Janet Gaynor’s version). The story works every time.” As the nascent awards season takes shape, it feels like Warners is going to be in it big-time with this rebirth that was produced in association with Live Nation Productions and MGM.
As reported yesterday, the upcoming edition of Venice that runs August 29-September 8 is shaping up to be another with a heavy major studio presence for Oscar contenders, with Universal having grabbed the opening-night slot for Damien Chazelle’s Neil Armstrong tale First Man, starring Ryan Gosling as the legendary astronaut who was first to walk on the moon in 1969.