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Limited Release: Still Struggling to Find a Hit

January 16th, 2015

Still Alice poster

It is a really, really bad weekend to release a limited release. Not only do fans of art house cinema have a lot of films to choose from, but many of them are busy talking about the Oscar nominations, which were just announced. Even so, there are about a dozen limited releases on this week's list. I seriously doubt most of them will do well enough to make a real impact on the box office. There is one exception, as Still Alice is earning great reviews and even picked up a number of major nominations this Awards Season.

Appropriate Behavior - Reviews
Desiree Akhavan stars as the daughter in an Iranian family living in New York City. She tries to be the perfect Persian daughter, but she's bi-sexual, a fact she has to keep from her family. The film has the best reviews of the week, but its buzz isn't very strong. Also, it is playing on Video on Demand. Appropriate Behavior opens tonight in a dozen theaters in select cities. Check out the official site for more details.

Escobar: Paradise Lost - Reviews
I heard some good buzz about this movie a while ago, but clearly the studio doesn't have a lot of faith in it, if they are dumping in on limited release and Video on Demand. The reviews are not bad and would be just fine for a wide release, but that's damning it with faint praise at this point.

Faeryville - No Reviews
A group of college students turn from disenfranchisement to terrorism. I'm not 100% sure this is coming out this week, as there are no reviews and the official site is short on details.

Human Capital - Reviews
This movie starts with a hit and run accident on Christmas Eve, before going back to explain the circumstances that led up to that event and exploring the two families involved. The reviews are good, but not great and as I've said many times, limited releases generally need great reviews to thrive. Human Capital opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

Little Accidents - Reviews
A mining accident occurs in a small town and while the people are trying to recover, some teenage boys go missing. This film earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination, but its reviews are barely 50% positive. Maybe it is a case of a good script, but bad execution. Little Accidents opens tonight in more than a dozen theaters, as well as on Video on Demand. Check out the official site for more details.

Loitering with Intent - Reviews
A pair of actors get their big break when they convince a producer to produce their script, which is in hot demand. The only problem is... there is no script. Now they have ten days to write it. The reviews have fallen to just 41% positive, which is bad for a wide release and will likely prove fatal for a limited release. Worse still, it is playing on Video on Demand, so its chances in theaters are nearly zero.

Match - Reviews
A couple travel to New York City to interview a retired choreographer. However, it quickly becomes clear that the couple are there for more than a simple interview. The reviews are good, but perhaps not good enough to thrive in limited release. Match opened in three theaters on Wednesday, including the IFC Center in New York City.

The Phoenix Project - Reviews
Four inventors / scientists try to learn how to reanimate dead organic matter. There is only one review online, which suggests a lack of buzz for this movie. It is positive, which I guess is something. However, it is also playing on Video on Demand, which is a really bad sign. The Phoenix Project opens tonight in nearly a dozen theaters in select cities. Check out the official site for more details.

Spare Parts - Reviews
A movie about four Mexican-American students who enter a prestigious robotic competition. The story is inspirational, but the reviews are not. Additionally, the film is opening in way too many theaters, so its per theater average will likely be dismal.

Still Alice - Reviews
Julianne Moore plays a college linguistics professor who develops early onset Alzheimer's. The reviews are amazing and the film has picked up some major Awards Season nominations and this should help it become the biggest hit of the week. On the other hand, Still Alice is opening in 13 theaters in select cities, so that might be a bit too many. Check out the official site for more details.

Still Life - Reviews
This film's reviews started out great, but they have since fallen to mediocre. Eddie Marsan plays John May, a man whose job it is to find the relatives of those who die alone and prepare their funerals if he can't find anyone else who wants to. When the government cuts the budget for his department, he is fired and turns his last job into an obsession. The reviews are not terrible, but I suspect the film will perform better on Video on Demand. Still Life opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City, with planned expansions over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

Three-Night Stand - Reviews
A romantic comedy from Canada that I previously mentioned when it was released in Canada. The reviews are really good for a romantic comedy, but not good for a limited release. Additionally, it is playing on Video on Demand, so its theatrical release is more or less an afterthought. It is worth checking out, but I think for most a rental will be enough.

Vice - Reviews
This film was originally scheduled for a wide release, now it is being dumped in a few theaters while also playing on Video on Demand. I would say this is a shame, except it is earning 0% positive reviews, so this is deserved.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, Loitering with Intent, Match, Spare Parts, Still Alice, Vice, Three Night Stand, Still Life, Appropriate Behavior, Little Accidents, The Phoenix Project, Il capitale umano, Faeryville, Eddie Marsan, Julianne Moore, Desiree Akhavan