Thursday, April 30, 2009

Fans Drive Interest In What Goes Up

In less than 24 hours, even before the What Goes Up Movie Soundtrack by Amherst Records appears on the homepage of iTunes (May 5), the soundtrack has already gained traction. And, "Any Other Day" by Hilary Duff has moved up 41 places on her iTunes top song list (four places in the last hour).

The song isn't the only amazing feature to focus on. The growing fan support that is providing a foundation for the film and the soundtrack is nothing short of amazing too.

"Hilary's new music is awesome! I'm so happy her film is being released, even though it's only a limited release. I love the song too!" — Emily Cluttrell, fan, iTunes review.

All across the Internet, dozens of fan sites and music reviewers representing various countries are talking about What Goes Up. Many of them are even creating their own renditions of promotional art. One of the very first seen last week was from Hilary Duff Online.

Hilary Duff Online is not alone. In addition to hundreds of blogs supporting various stars and promotional efforts, fans are connecting on Facebook and Twitter. Most feedback confirms what 1,200 views per day of the First Look: Olivia Thirlby video and 2,200 views per day of the "Any Other Day" by Hilary Duff teaser might suggest. There is growing interest in the film and the first showing at the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival will likely sell out.

Of course, numbers alone don't tell the whole the story. Every day, the producers are pleasantly surprised by fans. For example, Zach M, who is a frequent visitor to the Hilary Fan Forum, recently sent in his vision for the cover of an "Any Other Day" single (pictured right).

These efforts are also being supported several hardworking teams. Cast schedules are being reviewed, screening invitations are going out, media interest is growing, databases are being updated, promotions are being finalized, and the soundtrack label is considering various options while tracking the success of the new single. And right here, tomorrow, we'll post a "First Look: Steve Coogan in What Goes Up" video.

"This is all a countdown, to a higher place, countdown into some outer space." — Hilary Duff, from "Any Other Day" on the What Goes Up Soundtrack. Full lyrics, as presented by a fan, here and we'll be publishing the song as originally written next week.

T-Minus 29

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Breaking — What Goes Up Soundtrack On iTunes

The What Goes Up Movie Soundtrack from Amherst Records went up on iTunes today, April 29, at around 4 p.m. The soundtrack includes "Any Other Day," an original single by Hilary Duff, which Robert Lawson wrote with her and Jonathan Glatzer.

The sountrack can be accessed via iTunes here [ ].

The single provides a much richer mix and higher quality sound as envisioned by Richard Vission than the popular :30 teaser released on YouTube, which still earned almost 16,000 views in less than seven days (and counting).

The album was announced just days ago by David Parker, co-producer at Amherst Records. The street date (physical CD) is set for the week of May 4.

The album also includes songs from (track order, not repeated) The Innocent Bystanders, Roddy Bottum, Jeremy Wall, Anthony Miranda, Electrelane, Al Sgro & The Brendan Hines, and David Bowie. There are 17 tracks, with a run time of 60 minutes.

More details to follow tomorrow, along with the lyrics to "Any Other Day." Additional interviews with featured artists will also be available. Other distributors are expected to follow the iTunes release. Don't have iTunes? Get it here.

Monday, April 27, 2009

What Goes Up - Theatrical Countdown

What Goes Up, a film about a morally challenged New York reporter (Steve Coogan) who learns life lessons from a group of dysfunctional students (Hilary Duff, Josh Peck, Olivia Thirlby), is officially counting down to its theatrical premiere on Thursday, May 28. It will open in select theaters the day after on May 29.

"It's a little later than we initially planned, but there was an opportunity to be open in more theaters based on the response from fans," said James Hoke, executive producer with Three Kings, which produced the film. "It looks like it will be a big week for Steve Coogan. Night at the Museum 2 opens the week before. He plays Octavius in that film and Campbell Babbitt in ours."

Theatrical Premiere — May 28

Los Angeles, California

First Run Cities — May 29

Buffalo, New York
Chicago, Illinois
Cleveland, Ohio
Denver, Colorado
Las Vegas, Nevada
Los Angeles, California
Minneapolis, Minnesota
New York, New York
Toronto, Ontario
Vancouver, British Columbia

"We'll expand based on our performances in those cities, and there is another town or city in the U.S. that will also have a one night screening in June. We won't know where it will be until one lucky fan wins one of our upcoming promotions," said Hoke. "We'll be releasing the details for that promotion soon."

According to Hoke, the chance to win a one night screening in "your hometown" isn't the only way to be part of this independent film experience. There are several promotions in the works to win signed DVDs, CDs, posters, and other film memorabilia.

"There are also two other ways that fans can see this film early," he said. "They can attend the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival or, no matter where they live in the world, they can enter another upcoming promotion to win two tickets to the premiere in Los Angeles [airfare/hotel included]."

The decision to open some promotions worldwide was based on response from fans. Hoke said the entire production team sees there is an international fan base for this film, and with continued fan support, they will do everything possible to prove to distributors that What Goes Up deserves an international theatrical release ahead of a DVD release.

Currently, fans planning to attend the Buffalo Niagara Film Festival on May 8 can join the group on Facebook, which includes an event page for the festival. Later today, the What Goes Up Insider Team will announce the first promotion, which will be exclusive to Facebook.

Hoke added that the insider team will keep fans informed every step of the way. As details are confirmed, he said they will even help fans locate specific theaters in their cities with announcements on the movie blog and on Facebook. We're working hard for the fans, he said.

"Never mind the smoke and mirrors left behind you. Don't you go — there's nothing there to really bind you. Just let go and know your destiny will find you,
Wherever you are..." — Hilary Duff from "Any Other Day," written by Robert Lawson with her and Jonathan Glatzer on the What Goes Up Soundtrack.

T-Minus 31

Friday, April 24, 2009

First Look: Olivia Thirlby in What Goes Up

Olivia Thirlby is best known for her role as Leah, who was best friends with Juno MacGuff (Ellen Page) in Juno. The film won an Oscar for best original screenplay written directly for the screen. Recently, she played the part of Stephanie in the independent film The Wackness opposite Josh Peck. That film won the 2008 Sundance Film Festival Audience Award.

In What Goes Up, Thirlby plays Tess, a teenager struggling with the concept of how individual experiences shape our view of the world. In this clip, complete with scenes from the movie, Thirlby shares personal insights about the film and what it is like working with Steve Coogan, who plays Campbell Babbitt. (Content warning: adult language).

First Look: Olivia Thirlby in What Goes Up.

Thirlby, the daughter of a construction worker, was born in New York City, and trained at the American Globe Theatre as well as (briefly) the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London. She also completed a stage combat course with the British Academy of Stage and Screen Combat (BASSC). Her first role was in the movie United 93.

Vanity Fair magazine called Thirlby part of "Hollywood's New Wave," along with The Jonas Brothers, Emma Roberts, Amanda Seyfried, Kristen Stewart, Josh Peck, and Christopher Mintz-Plasse. Recently, fans were thrilled to find Thirlby with Kat Dennings on the cover of Nylon Magazine.

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

What Goes Up Soundtrack — May 4

David Parker, co-producer of the What Goes Up Movie Soundtrack at Amherst Records, confirmed that the street date for the soundtrack will be the week of May 4. There will also be multiple release points such as iTunes and Amazon. The international release will follow immediately after.

"We know the actual shipping date will be next week," said Parker. "Our radio promo team is also working hard to make sure it receives play time on radio stations. It would be great if Hilary’s fans could start calling their favorite radio station and ask them to play “Any Other Day” by Hilary Duff, her brand new single from the What Goes Up soundtrack."

"Any Other Day" is an original single by Hilary Duff, which Robert Lawson wrote with her and Jonathan Glatzer. A :30 teaser of the opening was leaked on Monday, which prompted the producers and Parker to officially release another :30 seconds (above), after learning fans wanted to hear the teaser deeper into the song.

"The song came out great and was produced by one of the world’s top remixers, Richard Vission. I can’t wait to hear his remixes!"

Parker categorizes the soundtrack itself as what he thinks is one of the best compilations of artists to ever be released as it contains artists from the past, present and future. Why? Because they aren't just any artists.

In addition to "Any Other Day," the soundtrack features three never released songs by Innocent Bystanders, including “Kidz (Who Never Grew Up),” “Never Comin Back,” and “Teenage Moments.” Those songs accompany "Under Wraps," which was the band's breakout single in 2007.

"As with all things musical, the real excitement for me comes from being able to discover new young talent," Parker says. "And that is why I am so pleased that the director of the film, Jonathan Glatzer, and my co-producer, Tony Miranda, agreed that the song 'Under Wraps' by The Innocent Bystanders fit both thematically and musically in the movie. This song deserved much more attention."

The soundtrack also includes the UK's all-girl band Electrelane with four tracks — "You Make Me Weak At The Knees," "Cut And Run," "Two For Joy," and "Blue Straggler." Rounding out the mix is a 1999 digitally remastered version of David Bowie's hit "Heroes. "

Other artists include Roddy Bottum, Al Sgro & The Brendan Hines, Jeremy Wall, and Anthony "Tony" Miranda. Miranda is also one of the three executive producers associated with Three Kings, which produced the film.

Parker gave high marks to Miranda for his hard work and dedication. According to Parker, Miranda dazzled Amherst Records enough with “fills” for the soundtrack that the entire full length track was added to the CD.

"I think anyone who hears Tony's cut will be blown away," said Parker. " I mean it. Amherst Records has been presented with one of its most exciting projects ever thanks to everyone involved and thanks to Tony Miranda and James Hoke."

In total, there are 17 tracks from three labels — Amherst Records, EMI Records Ltd, and Too Pure Records Ltd.

"Can you imagine Hilary Duff and David Bowie on the same album?" asks Parker. "Then add in great artists like Electrelane; Jeremy Wall, who was a founding member of the pre-eminent jazz fusion group Spyro Gyra; and an entire score composed and recorded by Roddy Bottum from Faith No More."

The street date of the new soundtrack coincides with a special festival premiere of What Goes Up at 7:15 p.m. on Friday, May 8 at the 3rd Annual Buffalo Niagara Film Festival. The limited theatrical release of the film is scheduled for May, with the theatrical premiere and first run cities anticipated to be announced any day.

Monday, April 20, 2009

Amherst Records Leaks Hilary Duff Teaser

Amherst Records leaked a :33 second sneak peak of "Any Other Day," the new single cut for What Goes Up by Hilary Duff.

While the :33 second leak was unplanned, we want to make sure the fans had a chance to hear it! We'll have full details on the upcoming soundtrack soon. Amherst Records says it could be available any day on iTunes and being played by local stations.

Listen to it here.

Thursday, April 16, 2009

What Goes Up — Trailer

For a high definition preview, visit the new What Goes Up Web site. You can also share this blog via the new What Goes Up widget.

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

A Message From James Hoke, What Goes Up

When I first started working on What Goes Up, I had no idea the amount of time and dedication it would take. Like so many people with hundreds of movies making up my home collection, I assumed making a 2-hour film wouldn't take too much time.

Well, it did. And it has been the most incredible experience of my life, and I've gained a new appreciation for this business.

Something else happened that I didn't expect. As a hands-on executive producer, I quietly sat on the set during the first few weeks of shooting. But after awhile, given the long hours together, I become someone else. I wasn't just the executive producer, but a member of the team. I started having a lot of fun with the cast and crew. We had to have fun because things change all the time on the set.

They change all the time after the wrap too. So I hope all the fans of Steve Coogan, Hilary Duff, Josh Peck, Oliva Thirlby, and Molly Shannon appreciate that. As we invite you to join us and hopefully work with some of you to make this film the success it deserves to be, some things we share might change at the last minute from time to time. So just know that we're going to be working hard to do our best, and we'll be listening to you every step of the way.

We have high hopes for this film, especially given the performance by Hilary Duff, who I enjoyed getting to know because she is such an amazing person. (She's also generous with her time off camera for people like me, who are big fans too.) I also had a great time with Josh Peck and really enjoyed working with Max Hoffman. (They are really crazy guys!) Well, let's be real. I enjoyed everybody and could fill a whole page with appreciation, but that's not why many of you came by.

What Goes Up's first public appearance will be at the 3rd Annual Buffalo Niagara Film Festival. If visit the site, you'll see that they already have us up as a Special Festival Premiere at 7:15 p.m. on Fri., May 8.

To give you an idea of how fast things change, I had a different date last night. And you never know. It might change again!

We're not going to stop there. Shortly after the festival, we'll start rolling out the film in several major markets in the United States. Right now, we're planning a theatrical premiere in Los Angeles and then have plans to be up in theaters in cities like New York, Chicago, and Las Vegas. There's several more cities in the works; and we'll be releasing the schedules just as soon as we can. We'll also be releasing promotions that will be very exciting for everyone.

With enough support behind this film, it is possible that we could be in every major market in North America by the end of June. Sure, I know what fans are saying. What about the June 16 DVD release?

The way I see it, we have two options. SPE Worldwide and Sony Pictures Home Entertainment are fantastic people! I know in my heart that if What Goes Up takes off, then they will work with us to either hold off the DVD release or allow us to play the film in theaters past the DVD release date. But those are details that we just can't guess about right now, and anything is possible.

Our Insider Team also tells me that there are dozens of people sending in e-mails asking about releases in specific countries. With so many distributors, it's impossible to know their exact plans.

Most often, distributors in other countries follow right after a U.S. release. We've been told that's what some intend to do. If there is any way we can help you encourage those distributors to put it in theaters, we'll let you know. (For fans in Brazil, Germany, Italy, Poland and the United Kingdom specifically ... hang in there! As we learn details, you'll learn details too!)

For all Hilary Duff fans, I know there is something else on your mind. As I confirmed yesterday with our lead "Insider," there is a new original song by Hilary Duff. It was written on the set and recorded in November.

You'll have more details from our friends at Amherst Records about the song and the soundtrack release as soon as we do. Right now, they are working on those details as I write this post. The song is called, and I hope I'm not sharing this too soon, "Any Other Day." You'll love it.

There are some other things ahead you might like to know about. Every week, we'll be featuring interviews and guest posts from the cast and crew. This includes Steve Coogan, Hilary Duff, Josh Peck. among others. We'll also be adding more pictures to the Flickr account, which you can feel free to share. You're welcome to repost any of the stories, articles, and posts from this blog. All we ask is that you link back to the source to help us along and help people find it.

Two days ago, we also made a decision to share a few scenes from the movie on YouTube. And, we'll be announcing a new What Goes Up fan group on Facebook in the days ahead. Anyone who has already written to the What Goes Up Insider will be receiving an invitation this weekend. Members will also be allowed to post links related to What Goes Up to their fan sites and blogs.

I hope you do. Because from time to time right here, we'll be giving shot outs to fan sites and blogs covering our film right here. We may be able to arrange interviews (probably via e-mail, but you never know) for some supporters.

As for shout outs, I have a couple for early supporters: Arieanna Schweber at Hilary News, Hilary Duff Digital, and everybody at the Hilary Fan Forum. I also understand there is a fan group for OMG ... Josh Peck on LiveJournal. Thank you!

Also, always feel free to ask questions or share ideas in the comment section of this or upcoming posts. You have my promise, along with Joe Nahas and Anthony Miranda [Three Kings Productions], that we'll do our best to keep answering them. Everyone — from the crew to the cast — is on board! I hope you are too.

Thursday, April 9, 2009

What Goes Up — Synopsis

This poignant slice-of-life film revolves around Campbell Babbitt (Steve Coogan), a morally challenged and emotionally distraught New York reporter sent to cover the New Hampshire hometown hoopla surrounding Christa McAuliffe, the first civilian astronaut.

Upon arriving in the small New Hampshire town, Babbitt decides to call an old college friend, only to discover an apparent suicide. As another teacher (Molly Shannon) attempts to keep a looming scandal and celebration spoiler out of the newspaper, Babbitt gravitates toward his friend’s students in hopes of finding an unsung hero story about a teacher who made a permanent impact on kids that nobody understands.

Instead, he discovers the least likely teachers — a group of dysfunctional high school students, misfits, and outcasts led by a narcissistic seductress (Hilary Duff), a repressed voyeur (Josh Peck), and a scheming pregnant teen (Olivia Thirlby). After sharing his own lapse of ethics in New York to gain their trust, Babbitt becomes obsessed with their subtleties of manipulation, need for attention, and desire to make heroes where no heroes exist.

In a gradual reversal of roles, the students teach Babbitt that the characteristics he is attempting to project on them might really be qualities that he and other adults possess. The lesson Babbitt learns is that he may need a “hero” more than students need him to replace their “hero.” And, in learning he is not so different than the students, he begins to relate to them in unexpected and potentially perilous ways, including an infatuation with the same student rumored to have had an affair with his dead friend.

Thursday, April 2, 2009

In Memory Of Christa McAuliffe

"I have a vision of the world as a global village, a world without boundaries. Imagine a history teacher making history!" — Christa McAuliffe

'What Goes Up' is a story about heroes. Set in January 1986, it is only fitting to remember Christa McAuliffe (Sept. 2, 1948 – Jan. 28, 1986), a teacher from Concord, N.H., who, along with 114 semi-finalists from more than 11,000 applicants, was considered by NASA and the Council of Chief State School Officers for the First Teacher in Space Project.

On July 18, 1985, NASA picked McAuliffe as the flight candidate and Barbara R. Morgan as her alternate. Together, these two women began 100 hours of flight training at the NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston.

In January, it was McAuliffe who boarded the space shuttle Challenger, which exploded during its launch from the Kennedy Space Center.

Although the film challenges the concept of heroes from the perspective of students struggling with the death of their teacher, the producers feel it is important to recognize that McAuliffe, along with six other crew members, was a hero. As so eloquently stated by President Ronald Reagan during the crew's eulogy ...

"We remember Christa McAuliffe, who captured the imagination of the entire nation, inspiring us with her pluck, her restless spirit of discovery; a teacher, not just to her students, but to an entire people, instilling us all with the excitement of this journey we ride into the future." — Ronald Reagan