Starting in 1964 with Seven Up, The UP Series has explored this Jesuit maxim. The original concept was to interview 14 children from diverse backgrounds from all over England, asking them about their lives and their dreams for the future. Every seven years, renowned director Michael Apted, a researcher for Seven Up, has been back to talk to them, examining the progression of their lives. Now they are 56.
An extraordinary look at the structure of life in the 20th century, The UP Series is, according to critic Roger Ebert, "an inspired, almost noble use of the film medium. Apted penetrates to the central mystery of life."
It is a terrible week for new releases on the home market with nearly nothing worth talking about. It was so bad, I pushed back the column one more day so I could review Todd and The Book Of Pure Evil: Season 2, just so I would have a contender for Pick of the Week. 56 Up is the best new release of the week, but demand will be split between the DVD and the franchise box set.
Zero Dark Thirty remained on the top of the per theater chart with an average of $44,933 in 60 theaters. To emphasize, the film saw its theater count leap from 5 to 60, but its per theater average only dropped 29% from $63,283 to $44,933. That's a lower drop-off than the average film in the top ten. At this point, expanding wide is a given, while the film has a solid shot at $100 million. 56 Up opened very strong with $22,088 in one theater. This should help it expand, but it is a documentary, so it is not going to expand wide. Amour remained in the $10,000 club with an average of $19,944. It is still playing in 3 theaters, but it should have room to expand significantly.
Because you need to release a film before January 1st to quality for Oscars, many studios release their best limited releases right before the year ends. This means January is the worst time of year to release a limited release. Not only is it too late for Oscar glory, but they have to compete with films going for Oscar glory. So it comes as no surprise there are not a lot of films on this week's list, and only one of them, 56 Up, is earning great reviews.
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