http://www.usatoday.com/ just because I couldn't do it justice on my own. All I'm going to say is I cannot wait to see it.
By Anthony Breznican, USA TODAY
The terms "summer box-office hit" and "the Duplass brothers" have been synonymous since, well, never.
Fraternal writer/directors Jay and Mark are known for ultra-low-budget independent comedies like The Puffy Chair (2005) and Baghead (2008), which played strongly on the festival circuit and in art-house runs but weren't exactly facing down superheroes, vampires and iconic animated toys at the multiplex.
Cyrus has changed that.
The dark comedy stars John C. Reilly as a lonesome loser who unexpectedly wins the heart of Marisa Tomei, only to provoke her intensely clingy and jealous son (Jonah Hill) into a quest to humiliate and destroy him.
REVIEW: Smart acting, improvisation brighten dark comedy 'Cyrus'
After opening in a handful of theaters, it has climbed to No. 10 on the box-office chart with a total of $3million — loose change for most summer films but a strong start for a tiny film whose audience is growing.
"The fact that Cyrus is in the top 10 has really turned people's heads," says Jeff Bock, box-office analyst for Exhibitor Relations Co. "The mainstream probably hadn't heard of it until it jumped in there."
If Cyrus keeps the pace as it increases to 446 theaters this weekend, the comedy could become one of the season's sleeper hits.
The Duplass brothers' previous films were do-it-yourself enterprises with budgets in the thousands instead of millions. They are Sundance Film Festival regulars, and represent a new generation of moviemakers who don't wait for Hollywood to give them permission to get to work.
"They're sort of creating a new Hollywood," says Sundance director John Cooper. "They're always helping on other independent films, acting, producing for other people. They give back a lot to that community."
Cyrus was produced with a budget of about $7 million by Fox Searchlight, and the brothers maintained their signature style of raw, awkward humor. "What we have to offer are really truthful, intimate, personal, realistic experiences that, hopefully, people will laugh at. We felt like that would be the first thing to go" on a studio movie, says Jay, 37.
They started by personally hiring the entire crew. "We had a strict no-(idiots) policy," says Mark, 33.
The New Orleans natives say the big change on Cyrus was not having to also cook for the crew, haul lights or give their actors rides.
"All of our films before were just Mark, myself, a couple of our friends, our wives, and that's pretty much it," Jay says.
But those projects did open the door for them to tell their stories on a bigger scale. They've shot two more (release dates still to be determined):
•Thee Do-Deca-Pentathlon, another super-low-budget film about two competitive brothers trying to determine superiority by playing 25 sports.
•The Paramount Pictures comedy Jeff Who Lives at Home, with Jason Segel as the title character, a guy who has overstayed his welcome at the family abode. It's produced by Up in the Air filmmaker Jason Reitman.
"Our movies come from funny and tragic things we know from our own lives," Mark says. Cyrus was inspired by the brothers' ultra-close relationship and the weirdness it sometimes inflicted: "There is a parallel, an almost twin-like relationship that Jay and I share."
With the help of Cyrus, they'll now be sharing it with their biggest audience yet.