The film is set in 1951, and follows a young Jewish man from Newark studying at a small, conservative college in Ohio, where he himself at odds with the administration, grapples with anti-Semitism and sexual repression, and pines after a troubled girl.
While Schamus oversaw Focus for years, he has written a number of memorable titles, including Ang Lee‘s critically-acclaimed 1997 drama “The Ice Storm,” as well as Oscar-winning martial arts movie, “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon.” Most recently, Schamus wrote a draft of Pierce Brosnan fantasy “The Moon and the Sun.”
“Marcus Messner is an extraordinary character, heartbreakingly open and alive, and Anthony Bregman is an extraordinary producer, heartstoppingly economical,” Schamus said in a statement. “Bringing them together for my first feature as a director is as felicitous a match as I could ever hope for.”
10 Superhero Sequels That Soared - or Sank - at the Box Office (Photos)
SANK: "Son of the Mask": This sequel tanked at the box office and with critics. More than a decade after Jim Carrey delighted audiences as "The Mask," a comic-book adaptation that grossed $351.5 million worldwide, Jamie Kennedy failed to deliver the same charm or profit. The sequel cost $84 million, but only brought New Line Cinema back $57.5 million.
SANK: "The Crow: City of Angels": Two years after Miramax released dark graphic novel adaptation "The Crow" to critical acclaim and a $50.6 million run at the domestic box office, "City of Angels" failed to generate anywhere near the same amount of heat. Only 12 percent of critics on Rotten Tomatoes gave the 1996 sequel positive reviews, while the film couldn't even surpass $18 million in ticket sales.
SANK: "Darkman II: The Return of Durant": "Darkman," Universal's $16 million original superhero film from Sam Raimi, soared to gross over $48 million and received generally positive reviews. Universal's 1995 sequel soared directly to VCR's across the country.
SANK: "Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance": Only 26 percent of critics liked Nicolas Cage as Marvel's motorcycle-riding demon slayer, but box office returns doubled its $110 million production budget, so Cage was allowed to ride again. Audiences, however, were not warmed by the fire flaming from the actor's CGI skull. The movie bombed domestically, while foreign sales saved Sony from not losing money on the $57 million gamble.
SOARED: "Hellboy II: The Golden Army": Guillermo Del Toro's adaptation of the Dark Horse Comics character may never become a trilogy, but the sequel soared past the original's $99 million box office gross and managed to rake in over $160 million on an $85 million budget. Critics enjoyed it more than the original, too.
SANK: "Fantastic Four: Rise of the Silver Surfer": Although Tim Story's 2007 sequel to "Fantastic Four" received slightly better reviews (37 percent positive compared to 26 percent positive), its $289 million global haul sank from its predecessor's $330.5 million. The box office figure is more than double its budget, but was not enough to warrant a third, so 20th Century Fox has chosen to reboot the franchise instead.
SOARED: "X2: X-Men United": "X-Men" helped launch the current superhero craze in the year 2000, but 2003's "X2" was proof that the public was hungry for more. The sequel grossed $407.7 million -- over $111 million more than "X-Men" -- and is widely regarded as the best installment of the long-running franchise.
SANK: "Batman & Robin": Joel Schumacher's sequel to "Batman Forever" is widely regarded as one of the worst superhero movies ever (while simultaneously being one of the best sources for hilarious Arnold Schwarzenegger quotes). Not only was it panned by critics, but the summer tentpole made $100 million less than "Forever," and cost $25 million more to produce, too.
SANK: "Superman IV: The Quest for Peace": Just when critics thought the beloved "Superman" franchise couldn't take a bigger dive after 1983's oddly-comedic "Superman III," the Man of Steel went on a "Quest for Peace" in 1987's biggest piece of, uh, bad filmmaking. The movie couldn't even recoup its $17 million budget.
SOARED: "Iron Man 3": "Iron Man 2" was a huge hit in 2010 after collecting nearly $624 million from theaters around the world, but Tony Stark's latest adventure was an even bigger hit. The sequel broke box office records and has grossed over $1.2 billion to date.
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Sometimes it's doubling down … sometimes it's going to the well one too many times