Bill Banning’s Roxie Releasing: A Tribute

March 04 only

As part of the 41th anniversary of the Roxie as an arthouse movie theater, we’re playing a selection of some of the most popular films that graced the Roxie screen in those early arthouse years.

Today we pay tribute to Roxie Releasing, a distribution entity created by Bill Banning when he joined the Roxie as a programmer in 1984. At the time, a boutique theatrical distributor run out of (the projection booth) of an art cinema was a unique, though not completely unheard of concept. But Banning brought a scrappy, ambitious gusto for acquisition & promotion that resulted in releases that he at times managed to develop into impossibly high-profile titles in terms of press attention and/or box office grosses. VINCENT: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF VINCENT VAN GOGH, RED ROCK WEST (snatched from under the noses of an asleep-at-the-wheel Sony Pictures Classics), RIVERS & TIDES: ANDY GOLDSWORTHY WORKING WITH TIME, and Nick Broomfield’s KURT AND COURNTEY combined together for a total domestic box office gross of over $7.1 million in today dollars. It left many similar-sized players in the industry enviously scratching their disbelieving heads while supplying the theater with much-needed cash-flow and nation-wide notice of the cinema’s own risk-taking film programming at the time. Heady days for a little arthouse. Having distributed around 40 films including GENGHIS BLUES, Stellan Skarsgard’s first starring vehicle, THE SIMPLEMINDED MURDERER, and Axel Corti’s WELCOME IN VIENNA, as well as the notorious fair for which it is best remembered such as Alain Tanner’s A FLAME IN MY HEART, MAN BITES DOG, NICO ICON, and FREEWAY starring a teenage, ugly-stick-wielding Reese Witherspoon, the Roxie Releasing library remains a revealing reflection of the guts, gumption and artistic temperament with which Bill Banning imbued the 16th Street movie house for more than 25 years.

March 4th: Bill Banning’s Roxie Releasing – SCHEDULE
2:30pm VINCENT (35mm)
5:00pm NICO: ICON (35mm)
7:00pm RIVERS AND TIDES (35mm)
9:15pm FREEWAY (35mm)
Each title will be introduced by programming legend Elliot Lavine and former Roxie Releaser Rick Norris & perhaps, others who will provide context and an anecdote or 2 about life in the distribution trenches.


Bill Banning's Roxie Releasing: A Tribute: Upcoming Showtimes