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Limited Releases: Skeleton Key to Box Office Success

September 12th, 2014

The Skeleton Twins poster

There's a large number of limited releases, including a few that are earning good reviews and strong buzz. One of these is The Drop, but it is opening in too many theaters and I think that will hurt it at the box office. If I were to guess, The Skeleton Twins will be the biggest hit on this week's list.

108 Stitches - Reviews
A college comedy about a baseball team with a record losing streak. They learn the baseball program might be shut down, so they decide to go out with a bang. There are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and they are both negative. It likely won't made a dent at the box office.

Archaeology of a Woman - Reviews
Sally Kirkland plays a woman dealing with dementia and whose daughter must come to take care of her. The reviews are only mixed and it is a busy week, so it will likely fall between the cracks. Archaeology of a Woman opens tonight at the Village East Cinema in New York City.

At the Devil's Door - Reviews
A horror film that is earning bad reviews and is playing on Video on Demand. Its box office numbers will likely be an afterthought.

Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? - Reviews
Why? Why is this movie being made? The first two films in the franchise were terrible and lost money. So why is anyone willing to sink more money into this lost cause? Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt? opens tonight in 240 theaters, but I doubt it will crack $1 million.

Believe - No Reviews
A drama about a soccer coach coming out of retirement to help a bunch of young boys win a soccer tournament. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a terrible sign. There are some reviews online, but most of them are very mediocre and critics say it is overly sentimental and full of clichés. Believe opens tonight, but the official site is down for me, so I'm not sure where.

Bird People - Reviews
Josh Charles stars as a man who quits his job, leaves his wife, and begins living in a hotel room in Paris. The reviews are mixed, which tends to be fatal for a limited release, while it is also playing on Video on Demand. Bird People opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity - Reviews
A documentary about Elizabeth Streb and her choreography of air dancing, which is when a whole lot of people parachute in unison. So far the film's Tomatometer Score is 100% positive, which is impressive, but there are only five reviews so far, so that could change fast. Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby - Reviews
This is a confusing movie to talk about. It is a romantic drama starring Jessica Chastain and James McAvoy. However, there are three versions of the film, called Her, Him, and Them. Essentially, we see the couple's relationship from either her perspective or his perspective, or there is a version that combines the two. In most places, Them is the version that is playing. However, there are some theaters that will be playing Her and Him as a double-feature. I suspect all three versions will come out on a Blu-ray box set and since the reviews are good but not great, it will perform better on the home market than in theaters.

The Drop - Reviews
A crime thriller starring, among others, James Gandolfini in the final role before his death. It is directed by Michael R. Roskam, who previously directed Bullhead, which earned incredible reviews. This film is also earning incredible reviews. So it should be a huge hit, right? There is one problem. The Drop is opening tonight in more than 800 theaters. This means it could open in the top ten. Or this theater count could result in the film bombing.

Finding Fanny - Reviews
A Bollywood romantic comedy that is being released by a major studio. That's impressive. There are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and they are both negative. Then again, it is a Bollywood romantic comedy, which is not a genre made to please critics. Finding Fanny opens tonight here, as well as in India. It will be interesting to see if the studio support will help it shine at the box office when compared to other Bollywood releases.

The Green Prince - Reviews
A documentary about the son of one of the leaders of Hamas, who became an informant for Israeli intelligence. The reviews are great, but there have been a lot of documentaries about the conflict in the Middle East, so I don't know if this one will stand out. The Green Prince opens tonight in four theaters in three cities. Check out the official site for more details.

Honeymoon - Reviews
Rose Leslie is the biggest name in this horror film. She might draw in some moviegoers, as will the strong reviews. That said, it is a horror movie and it is also playing on Video on Demand, so its box office potential is very low. Honeymoon opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Los Angeles. Check out the official site for more details.

I Am Eleven - Reviews
A documentary made by Genevieve Bailey, who traveled around the world for six years talking to 15 eleven-year olds. The reviews are excellent and this is the kind of documentary that could do well in limited release. I Am Eleven opens tonight in two theaters in New York City and expands next weekend to Los Angeles and further. Check out the official site for more details.

The Man on Her Mind - Reviews
A romantic comedy about two people, Nellie and Leonard, who had a blind date several months back, but have since fallen in love with imaginary people based on the other. It's a romantic comedy, which rarely does well in limited release, plus the reviews are awful. The Man on Her Mind opens tonight in six theaters in select cities nationwide. Check out the official site for more details.

My Old Lady - Reviews
Kevin Kline stars as a man who inherits an apartment in Paris. He travels there to sell it, but learns there is a tenant, Maggie Smith. He can't sell till she's dead; in fact, he has to pay her a monthly sum until she dies. (If this sounds bizarre, technically the apartment is hers, but she sold it to Kevin Kline's father in exchange for a monthly sum until she dies.) The film has a great cast, but the reviews are merely good. It might still do well in its opening weekend, but I don't think it will have the legs to expand significantly. My Old Lady opened on Wednesday in six theaters and expands to another five tonight. Check out the official site for more details.

The Pirates - Reviews
A South Korean movie about a mountain bandit teaming up with a pirate captain to retrieve a royal seal that had been swallowed by a whale. There are not a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and the ones that are there are not overly positive. It is being compared to Pirates of the Caribbean. If you like the typical Hollywood action film, but want to see one with a South Korean cast, then this is worth checking out. That said, this is not the typical art house audience. The Pirates opens tonight in two dozen theaters, including a few in Canada. Check out the official site for more details.

The Quitter - Reviews
A failed baseball player reconnects with his ex-girlfriend and her seven-year old daughter. There are not a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, nor are they overwhelmingly positive. It is likely this film will slip between the cracks. The Quitter opens tonight in one theater in New York City.

Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation - Reviews
A documentary about the La Sagrada Familia, a church in Barcelona that has been under construction for more than a century. There are not a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and most critics are complaining that the movie is as slow as the construction of the building has been. Sagrada: The Mystery of Creation opens tonight in Seattle, Washington and expands next weekend. Check out the official site for more details.

The Skeleton Twins - Reviews
Kristen Wiig and Bill Hader star as twins who haven't talked to each other in a decade. However, when they both try to commit suicide on the same day, they reunite. This film is earning some of the best reviews of the week and it also has some of the loudest buzz on this week's list. Hopefully this translates into box office success. The Skeleton Twins opens tonight in 15 theaters in select cities nationwide.

Smiling Through the Apocalypse - Reviews
A documentary about the publishing editor of Esquire magazine, Harold Hayes. There are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment, which suggests a lack of buzz. Smiling Through the Apocalypse opens tonight at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York City.

Stray Dogs - Reviews
A Taiwanese film about a single father living on the streets due in part to his alcoholism. The film is earning some of the best reviews of the weekend, but as a foreign-language film, it likely won't have a chance outside of the art house circuit. Stray Dogs opens tonight at the Film Society Lincoln Center in New York City.

Swearnet: The Movie - Reviews
This film opening early in Canada and I talked about it here. The film opens tonight in the United States in three theaters. Check out the official site for more details.

Take Me to the River - Reviews
A documentary about the Memphis music scene, which has been going on for decades. Unfortunately, the reviews are weak, especially for a limited release, so its chances at the box office are very limited. Take Me to the River opens tonight in just over a dozen theaters in select cities nationwide. Check out the official site for more details.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, The Drop, My Old Lady, , The Disappearance of Eleanor Rigby, The Skeleton Twins, 108 Stitches, Honeymoon, The Man on Her Mind, At the Devil’s Door, Archaeology of a Woman, Finding Fanny, The Green Prince, Take Me to the River, Atlas Shrugged: Who Is John Galt?, Born to Fly: Elizabeth Streb vs. Gravity, Swearnet: The Movie, The Quitter, Smiling Through the Apocalypse, Sagrada: el misteri de la creacio, Pirates, I Am Eleven, Jiao you, Bird People, Pirates of the Caribbean, Atlas Shrugged, Maggie Smith, Josh Charles, Jessica Chastain, James Gandolfini, Bill Hader, Sally Kirkland, Kevin Kline, James McAvoy, Kristen Wiig, Michael R. Roskam, Rose Leslie, Amy McAllister, Samuel James, Genevieve Bailey