Report: Film Director Mohammad Rasoulof Fled Iran on Foot

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof poses on May 19, 2017 during a photocall for the film “Lerd” (A Man of Integrity) at the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. (AFP)
Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof poses on May 19, 2017 during a photocall for the film “Lerd” (A Man of Integrity) at the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. (AFP)
TT

Report: Film Director Mohammad Rasoulof Fled Iran on Foot

Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof poses on May 19, 2017 during a photocall for the film “Lerd” (A Man of Integrity) at the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. (AFP)
Iranian director Mohammad Rasoulof poses on May 19, 2017 during a photocall for the film “Lerd” (A Man of Integrity) at the 70th edition of the Cannes Film Festival in Cannes, southern France. (AFP)

Film director Mohammad Rasoulof made an "exhausting and extremely dangerous" walk across a mountainous borderland in order to avoid being jailed in Iran on national security charges, he told the Guardian newspaper.

Rasoulof said Monday he had fled Iran after a court sentenced him to eight years in jail, of which five were due to be served, over his new film "The Seed of the Sacred Fig".

The leading Iranian film-maker, often a target of the country's authorities, told the Guardian in an interview published Friday that he had found shelter in Germany and was hopeful he could attend the film's Cannes premiere next week.

The film tells the story of a judge's struggles amid political unrest in Tehran.

Rasoulof told the UK newspaper that he had "no choice" but to leave, although he expects to return home "quite soon".

"My mission is to be able to convey the narratives of what is going on in Iran and the situation in which we are stuck as Iranians," said Rasoulof.

"This is something that I cannot do in prison.

"I have in mind the idea that I'll be back quite soon, but I think that's the case of all the Iranians who have left the country," he added.

Rasoulof has already served two terms in Iranian jails over previous films and had his passport withdrawn in 2017.

Having decided to leave, Rasoulof told the newspaper he cut all communications via mobile phones and computers and made his way by foot on a secret route to a border crossing.

"It was a several-hour long, exhausting and extremely dangerous walk that I had to do with a guide," he said.

After staying in a safe house, he contacted German authorities who provided him with papers that enabled him to travel to Europe.



'Inside Out 2' Scores $100M in its 2nd Weekend, Setting Records

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)
This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)
TT

'Inside Out 2' Scores $100M in its 2nd Weekend, Setting Records

This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)
This image released by Disney/Pixar shows Joy, voiced by Amy Poehler, left, and Anxiety, voiced by Maya Hawke, in a scene from "Inside Out 2." (Disney/Pixar via AP)

Weekend number two was just as joyous for “Inside Out 2.”
The Pixar sequel collected $100 million in ticket sales in its second weekend, according to studio estimates Sunday, setting a new record for an animated movie in its follow-up frame in theaters, The Associated Press reported. The previous best second weekend for an animated title was the $92 million for “The Super Mario Bros. Movie.” Only six movies ever have had better second weekends.
In just a week and a half, “Inside Out 2” has become 2024’s highest-grossing film to date with $724.4 million globally, including $355.2 million in US and Canadian theaters. That passes the $711.8 million worldwide total of “Dune: Part Two.” “Inside Out 2” will likely blow through the $1 billion mark in about a week, which would make it the first film since “Barbie” to do so.
The extent of the “Inside Out 2” success startled Hollywood, which had grown accustomed to lower expectations as the film industry watched ticket sales this year slump about 40% below pre-pandemic totals, according to data firm Comscore, before “Inside Out 2” came along.
The record haul for “Inside Out 2,” though, recalled past years when $1 billion grosses were more commonplace for the Walt Disney Co. It is also a much-needed blockbuster for Pixar, which after experimenting with direct-to-streaming releases, reconsidered its movie pipeline and approach to mass-audience appeal.
Now, “Inside Out 2,” which dipped a mere 35% from its $154 million domestic debut, is poised to challenge “The Incredibles 2” ($1.2 billion) for the all-time top grossing Pixar release. It could also steer the venerated animation factory toward more sequels. Among its upcoming films is “Toy Story 5,” due out in 2026.
For theater owners, “Inside Out 2” could hardly have been more needed. But it also reminded exhibitors of how feast-or-famine the movie business has become in recent years. Since the pandemic, movies like “Barbie,” “Spider-Man: No Way Home” and “Top Gun: Maverick” have pushed ticket sales to record heights, but fallow periods in between box-office sensations have grown longer. Ticket sales over Memorial Day last month were the worst in three decades.
Some of 2024’s downturn can be attributed to release-schedule juggling caused by last year’s writers and actors strikes. The biggest new release over the weekend was Jeff Nichols’ motorcycle gang drama “The Bikeriders,” a film originally slated to open in 2023 before the actors strike prompted its postponement.
“The Bikeriders,” starring Jodie Comer, Austin Butler and Tom Hardy, came in on the high side of expectations with $10 million from 2,642 venues in its opening weekend. “The Bikeriders,” which cost about $35 million to produce, was originally to be released by Disney before New Regency took it to Focus Features last fall.
The strong business for “Inside Out 2” appeared to raise ticket sales generally. Sony Pictures’ “Bad Boys: Ride or Die” held well in its third week of release, collecting $18.8 million. It remained in second place. The “Bad Boys” sequel, starring Will Smith and Martin Lawrence, has grossed $146.9 million domestically thus far.
Next week, the sci-fi horror prequel “A Quiet Place: Day One” and Kevin Costner's Western epic “Horizon: An American Saga — Chapter 1" will hope some of the “Inside Out 2” success rubs off on them.