Whitney (2018 film)

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Whitney
Whitney (2018 film).jpg
U.K. Theatrical release poster
Directed byKevin Macdonald
Produced by
  • Simon Chinn
  • Jonathan Chinn
  • Lisa Erspamer
Written byKevin Macdonald
Starring
Music byAdam Wiltzie
CinematographyNelson Hume
Edited bySam Rice-Edwards
Production
company
  • Lisa Erspamer Entertainment
  • Lightbox[1]
Distributed by
Release date
  • 16 May 2018 (2018-05-16) (Cannes)
  • 6 July 2018 (2018-07-06) (United States)
Running time
122 minutes
Country
  • United States
  • United Kingdom
LanguageEnglish
Box office$4.7 million[2]

Whitney is a 2018 documentary film about the American singer and actress Whitney Houston. The film was directed by Kevin Macdonald and produced by Simon Chinn, Jonathan Chinn and Lisa Erspamer. Whitney was screened out of competition at the world premiere as part of the 2018 Cannes Film Festival on 16 May 2018 with a cinema release on 6 July 2018.[3][4][5][6] The film was also released on home media where it debuted at number one on the UK Official Music Video Chart.[7] In December 2018, Whitney was nominated at the 61st Grammy Awards for Best Music Film.[8]

Production[edit]

Development[edit]

The concept of making a documentary evolved when Lisa Erspamer worked as co-executive producer for the singer’s special two-part interview with Oprah Winfrey in 2009. In 2015 Erspamer approached the sister-in-law Pat Houston and Houston’s film agent Nicole David to discuss the idea. Nicole David then suggested Scottish film director Kevin Macdonald. Co-producer Simon Chinn recalls: “We raised the full budget in 10 days exclusively from theatrical pre-sales which is quite possibly a first for a documentary.”[9]

Filming[edit]

In July 2016, Macdonald began filming the interviews of around 70 people. Important members that are interviewed were Ellen White, a family friend, Mary Jones, longtime personal assistant, Houston’s older brothers Michael and Gary and other members of the Houston family.[10] Houston’s mother Cissy was interviewed in Newark, New Jersey, others were conducted in Los Angeles, New York City and Atlanta.[11]

More than 1,500 tapes of archival footage of varying quality were found including 250 masters, 2,000 stills and footage originally discovered on YouTube with Sam Dwyer as archive producer. Private footage was gathered from all over the world including Japan, the Netherlands and Los Angeles.[12]

Post-production[edit]

A substantial amount of the editing, including changing screen size, and frame rate was done at Molinare, a post-production company in London’s Soho.[13]

Music[edit]

Composer Adam Wiltzie was in charge of the film's music and score.[14] Some excerpt examples used in the soundtrack for the film:[15]

Release[edit]

The film is a joint British-American venture produced by Lisa Erspamer Entertainment and Lightbox, with Roadside Attractions, Miramax and Altitude Film Distribution serving as distributors.[16][17][6] It is also presented in association with Altitude Film Entertainment.[18] Whitney was released in cinemas in the United States, United Kingdom and Ireland on 6 July 2018, by (UK) Altitude and (US) Roadside Attractions. It was released in Australia and New Zealand on 26 July 2018.[19][20]

The world premiere for the film was on 16 May 2018 at the Cannes Film Festival.[21][22] Screenings also took place at the Edinburgh and Sydney Film Festivals.[23][24]

Marketing[edit]

The official teaser trailer for the UK and Ireland was released by Altitude Films on 5 April 2018 on YouTube with the full trailer released on 25 May 2018.[25][26]

Home media[edit]

It was released in widescreen by digital download on 2 October and DVD/Blu-ray on 16 October 2018.[27] The DVD and Blu-ray releases include audio commentary from producer Simon Chinn and director Kevin Macdonald, photo gallery and theatrical trailer.[28] The film debuted at #1 on 4 November 2018, staying at that position for two weeks on the UK Official Music Video Chart, based on sales of DVDs and other physical formats.[7]

Reception[edit]

Box office[edit]

Whitney began its release on 6 July 2018. During its opening weekend in the United States and Canada it grossed $1.3 million from 452 theaters, finishing 11th at the box office. 65% of its audience was female, with 35% being between the age of 25-49.[29]

In the United Kingdom, the film opened on 6 July 2018 grossing £142,936 ($189,923) from 231 screens in its opening weekend, finishing twelfth at the box office.[30][31] It grossed another £44,968 ($59,497) on 174 screens in its second weekend, a 68% decrease over the first week grossing a total of £323,532 ($428,066) through 10 days.[32][33] Over 13 weeks it grossed a total of £459,725.[34]

Critical response[edit]

On review aggregator website Rotten Tomatoes, the film holds an approval rating of 89% based on 151 reviews, and an average rating of 7.4/10. The website's critical consensus reads, "Whitney shifts from soaring highs to heartbreaking lows with palpable emotion and grace befitting its singular subject."[35] On Metacritic, the film has a weighted average score of 75 out of 100, based on 37 critics, indicating "generally favorable reviews".[36] Audiences polled by CinemaScore gave the film an average grade of "A" on an A+ to F scale.[29] Terri White for Empire gave it 4/5, calling it: "A sobering, haunting but completely fresh look at Whitney’s life and death that will reframe everything you think you know about the singer."[37] Owen Gleiberman of Variety wrote: "In “Whitney,” Macdonald lays out Houston’s story—the light and the darkness—in a classically etched, kinetically edited way. He makes superb use of archival footage, tickles us with montages of her heyday (not just Houston but the whole era—the way her songs, in hindsight, tapped into a certain free-floating ’80s jubilance), and interviews her family members and associates. The film captures the quality that made Whitney Houston magical, but more than that it puts together the warring sides of her soul."[38]

Awards and nominations[edit]

Award Date of ceremony Category Recipient(s) and nominee(s) Result
Grammy Award 10 February 2019 Best Music Film Whitney Nominated[8]
Detroit Film Critics Society 3 December 2018 Best Documentary Whitney Nominated[39]
Edinburgh Film Festival 28 June 2018 Best Documentary Feature Film Whitney Won[40]
Guild of Music Supervisors Awards 13 February 2019 Best Music Supervision for a Documentary Bree Winwood and Gary Welch - Whitney Nominated[41][42]
Critics' Circle Film Awards 20 January 2019 Documentary of the Year Whitney Nominated[43]

Charts and certifications[edit]

Charts[edit]

Charts (2018) Peak
position
Irish Music DVD Chart (IRMA) 3[44]
UK Official Music Video Chart (OCC) 1[45]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Academy Award-Winner Kevin Macdonald To Direct Official Whitney Houston Documentary - 28 April 2016
  2. ^ "Whitney (2018)". The Numbers. Nash Information Services. Retrieved 16 October 2018.
  3. ^ WHITNEY - Festival de Cannes
  4. ^ Rooney, David (16 May 2018). "'Whitney': Film Review Cannes 2018". The Hollywood Reporter. Prometheus Global Media. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  5. ^ Miller, Julie (16 May 2018). "Whitney Houston's Dark Family Secret Uncovered in New Documentary". Vanity Fair. Condé Nast. Retrieved 17 May 2018.
  6. ^ a b WHITNEY - Altitude
  7. ^ a b Official Music Video Chart Top 50 | 4 November 2018 – 10 November 2018
  8. ^ a b "2019 GRAMMY Awards: Complete Nominations List". Grammy.com. Retrieved 14 December 2018.
  9. ^ Whitney (2018) - Edinburgh International Film Festival
  10. ^ Whitney (2018) - Edinburgh International Film Festival
  11. ^ Whitney (2018) - Edinburgh International Film Festival
  12. ^ One moment in time: The making of Whitney By Stuart Kemp - 3 July 2018
  13. ^ One moment in time: The making of Whitney By Stuart Kemp - 3 July 2018
  14. ^ Adam Wiltzie Scoring Kevin Macdonald’s ‘Whitney’ Documentary - 1 March 2018 by filmmusicreporter in Film Scoring
  15. ^ Whitney (2018) - Edinburgh International Film Festival
  16. ^ Whitney (2018) - Edinburgh International Film Festival
  17. ^ Academy Award-Winner Kevin Macdonald To Direct Official Whitney Houston Documentary - 28 April 2016
  18. ^ Whitney (2018) British Film Institute, Film details
  19. ^ ROADSIDE ATTRACTIONS AND MIRAMAX TO RELEASE WHITNEY, IN THE U.S. ON 6 July 2018
  20. ^ WHITNEY - Altitude Films - UK - Altitude - 6 July 2018, USA - Roadside Attractions - 6 July 2018, Australia/New Zealand - 26 July 2018
  21. ^ Whitney - Cannes Film Festival.
  22. ^ 'Whitney': The Soaring Life and Haunting Death of Whitney Houston - Variety
  23. ^ Edinburgh International Film Festival Whitney Premiere
  24. ^ Whitney - Sydney Film Festival
  25. ^ Whitney - Official UK and IE Teaser Trailer - YouTube
  26. ^ Whitney - Official Trailer, 25 May 2018
  27. ^ WHITNEY’ Documentary - To Be Released Digitally & On DVD/Blu-ray October 2018
  28. ^ "Whitney Blu-ray review". 28 October 2018. Retrieved 15 January 2019.
  29. ^ a b D'Alessandro, Anthony (8 July 2018). "'Ant-Man And The Wasp' Shrinks A Tick To $76M+ Opening, But Still 34% Bigger Than Original – Early Sunday Read". Deadline Hollywood. Penske Business Media. Retrieved 8 July 2018.
  30. ^ BFI: Weekend 06-08 July 2018 - UK box office report
  31. ^ Whitney (2018) Box Office Mojo
  32. ^ BFI: Weekend 13-15 July 2018 - UK box office report
  33. ^ Whitney (2018) Box Office Mojo
  34. ^ BFI: Weekend 28-30 September 2018 - UK box office report
  35. ^ "Whitney (2018)". Rotten Tomatoes. Fandango Media. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  36. ^ "Whitney Reviews". Metacritic. CBS Interactive. Retrieved 20 August 2018.
  37. ^ Whitney Review Empire online
  38. ^ Gleiberman, Owen (2018). "Film Review: 'Whitney'". Variety. Retrieved 31 May 2019.
  39. ^ The 2018 Detroit Film Critics Society Awards - BEST DOCUMENTARY
  40. ^ Award Winners | 72nd Edition of the Edinburgh International Film Festival
  41. ^ Guild of Music Supervisors Awards: Complete Winners List – Variety
  42. ^ 2019 NOMINEES | Guild of Music Supervisors Awards
  43. ^ THE FAVOURITE LEADS NOMINEES FOR CC FILM AWARDS - 18 December 2018
  44. ^ Irish Recorded Music Association - Press CHARTS, then Music DVD, scroll to - 16 November 2018
  45. ^ Official Music Video Chart Top 50 - 4 November 2018 – 10 November 2018

External links[edit]