Pete Davidson, Judd Apatow’s ‘King of Staten Island’ to Open SXSW Film Festival

Live from Austin, Texas, it’s Pete Davidson.

The “Saturday Night Live” comedian will be opening this year’s SXSW Film Festival. The annual gathering in Austin will kick off this year with “King of Staten Island,” the much-anticipated autobiographical comedy based on Davidson’s upbringing in the New York borough. Judd Apatow, who is no stranger to SXSW, where he’s debuted many of his hit comedies in prior years, directed the film.

“King of Staten Island,” which was written by Apatow, Davidson and former “SNL” writer Dave Sirus, will screen at SXSW on March 13. It opens in theaters from Universal Pictures on June 19.

Judd Apatow has provided transcendent, exhilarating experiences at SXSW over and over starting with ​’Knocked Up​,’ then ​’Bridesmaids,’ ‘Trainwreck,’ ‘Girls​,’ ‘​The Big Sick​’ and ‘May It Last​,'” said Janet Pierson, the festival’s director of film. “This year, it’s our particular privilege to present his deeply moving new feature ​’King of Staten Island,’ starring Pete Davidson leading a great ensemble, as our opening night film.”

In addition to being a launching pad for smaller movies, SXSW has also become a crucial stopping point for spring or summer studio releases that could benefit from a jolt of buzz. The last two opening night movies to premiere at SXSW — Jordan Peele’s “Us” and John Krasinski’s “A Quiet Place” — went on to become massive box office successes.

Popular on Variety

In the summer of 2018, Davidson sat down with Variety as he was preparing the film. “I don’t want to do that many movies; that sounds terrifying,” he said. “I would like to do a handful — over a long period of time, that would be tight. Once in a while, a cool cameo would be fun. People who are in a lot of movies, they are real actors. Obviously, I could only act as myself, so how much of me could you really take? In my opinion, less is more for me.”

He went on to explain why. “I have a wonky eye so I don’t think that’s good for movie stars,” he revealed. “One of my eyes just closes on its own and shuts.”

He said he noticed it when he was watching himself back on one of “SNL’s” “Weekend Update” segments. “And my eye starts going like this,” he said, squinting for effect. “That’s not good.”

Here’s the full 2020 lineup.

More Film

  • The Book of Sun

    Saudi Arabia's Red Sea Festival to Feature 'The Assistant,' Local Opener 'The Book of Sun'

    Saudi Arabia’s nascent Red Sea International Film festival has unveiled its inaugural lineup featuring the Middle East premiere of Harvey Weinstein-inspired workplace abuse drama “The Assistant” amid a fresh mix of feature films and docs from Europe, the U.S., Asia, and Africa launching in the region on top of a robust representation of Arab films. [...]

  • Aerial View of Jiangxia temporary hospital

    Virus Kills Chinese Film Director and Family in Wuhan

    A Chinese film director and his entire family have died from the novel coronavirus in Wuhan, the epicenter of the outbreak. Chang Kai, a film director and an external communications officer at a Hubei Film Studio subsidiary, died in hospital on Feb. 14 from the virus now called COVID-19, according to a statement from the [...]

  • Remi Bonhomme

    Marrakech Film Festival Taps Cannes Exec Remi Bonhomme as Artistic Director

    Remi Bonhomme, a leading force behind Cannes’ Critics Week, has been appointed artistic director of the Marrakech Film Festival and its industry conference, the Atlas Workshops. In recent years, Bonhomme successfully headed the Atlas Workshops, a platform dedicated to supporting the cinema of the African continent and the Arab world, where he was also part [...]

  • A Stasi Comedy

    Picture Tree Intl. Picks Up Leander Haussmann's 'A Stasi Comedy' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Berlin-based Picture Tree International (PTI) has acquired global sales rights to Leander Haussmann’s highly anticipated East German laffer “A Stasi Comedy.” Set in the early 1980s, the film centers on East Germany’s infamous state security service, the Staatssicherheitsdienst or Stasi, and young agent Ludger, played by David Kross (“Balloon,” “The Reader”), who is sent to [...]

  • Berlin: Media Luna Acquires Horror Thriller

    Berlin: Media Luna Acquires Horror Thriller 'Blood-Red Ox' (EXCLUSIVE)

    Sales agent Media Luna New Films has acquired international rights to Rodrigo Bellott’s horror thriller “Blood-Red Ox.” Bellott directed Bolivia’s Academy Award entries “Sexual Dependency” and “Tu Me Manques,” and was the producer behind Jim Mickle’s U.S. remake of Mexican horror hit “We Are What We Are.” In “Blood-Red Ox,” which is in post-production, a [...]

  • Parasite Movie

    'Parasite' Enjoys Record Box Office Boost After Oscar Wins

    Bong Joon Ho’s “Parasite” is reaping box office riches after its groundbreaking Oscar best picture win. The twisted South Korean thriller collected $5.5 million over the weekend, an exceptional 234% increase in ticket sales and the biggest post-Oscar boost for a best picture winner in the past decade. In the seven days since the Academy [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content