Whit Stillman Offers Praise for August Movies — and Might Finally Be Directing a New One

But Stillman also has something pretty interesting to say about a recent favorite Vulture topic, the August Movie — and how the crappiness of other August movies has both helped his films and (in the case of August anti-classic 54) hurt them.

But Stillman also has something pretty interesting to say about a recent favorite Vulture topic, the August Movie — and how the crappiness of other August movies has both helped his films and (in the case of August anti-classic 54) hurt them.

Stillman points out that August has been a fertile time for his tiny movies to be released, since they stand out well against the total crap that's out there most late summers:

Metropolitan came out the first weekend in August. It was just a wonderful time to come out. We got a lot of good attention. Barcelona was the last weekend in July. So, that had always been a great time for us.


But when The Last Days of Disco, Stillman's delightful comedy starring Chloë Sevigny, Kate Beckinsale, and Robert Sean Leonard came out in 1998, it was released earlier in the summer, in order to avoid disco-related competition from … the notoriously Augustine 54. "It was just a disaster," Stillman says now:


Normally, if you are an independent film coming out against be big studio blockbusters, you are the ‘good’ kind of programming. Normally, [your competition] are just sort of stupid action movies or ’shoot-them-ups’ or whatever. But, in our case, the big summer movies were also critical favorites and Oscar favorites. So, we came out against Truman Show, Saving Private Ryan. The independent films were also very strong - The Opposite of Sex, Henry Fool. There were just so many things just at the same time. Even the Soderbergh film, I think, it was Out of Sight? Everything that came out was not only a good film, but a critical favorite … We just got run over. I mean, it initially did well. We had great weekends in the cities. But, we were steamrolled.

The good news? There's word a Criterion edition of Disco might be coming out soon, which would make a nifty double feature with a bootleg copy of the Pansexual Ryan Phillippe edit of 54.

Anti-Populism and Indie Antiquity: Interview with Whit Stillman [Spoutblog]