Arrow Films has announced a March 31st domestic theatrical debut of the 4K restoration of Richard Kelly’s cult hit Donnie Darko. The film recently celebrated its 15th anniversary, thus confirming I’m now an old man. I can distinctly remember what a big deal Kelly’s film seemed upon a release — a dark, different indie that seemed destined for cult fame. And here we are, 15 years later and still talking about it. Donnie Darko stars Jake Gyllenhaal as a troubled young man plagued by visions of giant rabbits and the end of the world. It’s an eerie slice of suburban legend-making, and it even spawned a sequel (which should be avoided at all costs).
The 4K restoration of Donnie Darko will premiere at the Vista in Los Angeles on March 30th, before officially opening in Los Angeles at the Cinefamily and in New York at Metrograph on March 31st. Both the theatrical cut and the director’s cut are being made available to venues via a partnership with Cartilage Films, and locations will vary. If you want my opinion, though, stay away from the director’s cut — it over-explains the film’s elusive mysteries. You can read the official press release below.
Described by director Richard Kelly as “The Catcher in the Rye as told by Philip K. Dick”, Donnie Darko combines an eye-catching, eclectic cast: pre-stardom Jake (Nightcrawler, Brokeback Mountain, Nocturnal Animals) and Maggie Gyllenhaal (“The Honourable Woman”, The Dark Knight), Jena Malone (The Hunger Games: Catching Fire, The Neon Demon), the late heartthrob Patrick Swayze (Dirty Dancing, Ghost), Drew Barrymore (E.T., “Grey Gardens”, “Santa Clarita Diet”) Oscar nominees Mary McDonnell (Dances With Wolves, Passion Fish, “Battlestar Galactica”) and Katharine Ross (The Graduate, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid, The Stepford Wives), and television favorite Noah Wyle (“ER”, “Falling Skies”) and an evocative soundtrack of 80s classics by Echo and the Bunnymen, Tears for Fears and Duran Duran.
The brand-new 4K restoration was produced by Arrow Films from the original camera negatives and supervised and approved by Kelly and cinematographer Steven Poster. The 4K restoration premiered to a packed audience at the National Film Theatre in London on December 17th, 2016, with an introduction by Richard Kelly. A screening of the Director’s Cut followed the next day. The re-release opened nationwide in the UK on December 23rd, eventually grossing £70,000.
Both the theatrical cut and the director’s cut are being made available to venues via a partnership with Cartilage Films, and locations will vary.
Donnie Darko will also return for weeklong runs in Denver, Columbus, Cleveland, Dallas, Pittsburgh, Phoenix, Tempe, Tulsa and San Francisco on March 31st, and in El Paso, Portland and Detroit on April 7.
Special screenings include Jacksonville, Austin, Dallas, Honolulu, Lubbock, Baton Rouge, Sioux Falls, Oklahoma City, Tucson, Durham and Stamford throughout March and April. A full list of screenings is available at Cartilage Films.