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Limited Releases: Will New Limited Releases be a Disaster?

April 12th, 2013

There are nine limited releases on this week's list, including two opening in Canada. Of those, there are only a few with any buzz or strong reviews. To the Wonder is the most buzz-worthy, but the reviews will hurt it. It's a Disaster has good reviews and a great cast for a limited release, but its genre will hold it back. The Angel's Share likely won't have the best opening, but it should have the better legs than To the Wonder thanks to impressive reviews.

The Angel's Share - Reviews
Robbie is a petty criminal who has just become a dad for the first time. He decides his son will have a better life than he had, and in order to do that, he must clean up his life. But how? With a criminal record, he can't get a good job, so he and his new friends turn to booze. Specifically, they will make high quality malt whisky. The Angel's Share opens tonight in three theaters and likely has the best shot at box office success on this week's list, at least in the long run.

Antiviral - Reviews
This film opened in its native Canada last October so there's little that needs to be added to what I said before. Its reviews are good, but not great, and I don't think it will thrive in limited release. It might do better on Video on Demand.

Becoming Redwood - No Reviews
The first of two Canadian films opening in limited release north of the border. This film stars Ryan Grantham as Redwood Forest Hanson. He's a young boy living in the 1970s dealing with divorced parents. He decides if he can beat Jack Nicklaus at the 1975 Masters, his parents will get back together. The film has no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but did win a couple awards at the Vancouver International Film Festival last year. Becoming Redwood opens tonight in Vancouver at the International Village Cinemas and there's even a special screening Saturday with a Q&A.

Into the White - Reviews
Set in Norway during World War II. An aerial battle leaves two planes downed, one German and one British. The crews survive their respective crashes and seek shelter in the same remote cabin. At first they remain enemies, but they realize that if they don't work together, none of them will survive the winter. The reviews are split at exactly 50% positive, which likely isn't enough to survive in limited release. Into the White opens tonight in theaters, but it is also playing on Video on Demand, which will further hurt its box office chances.

It's a Disaster - Reviews
A group of friends get together for their monthly brunch, but what starts out as the normal couples get-together turns deadly when a biological weapon is detonated and they are trapped in the house possibly waiting for the end to come. The reviews are really good and there is some name recognition amongst the cast. On the other hand, it is a dark comedy and these rarely do well. It's a Disaster opens tonight in New York City, Los Angeles, and Austin.

Not Today - Reviews
A film about human trafficking in India. Most critics agree that it has an important message, but that it isn't very well made. Some say the message overcomes the flaws, others do not. Not Today opens tonight in 41 theaters and it might do well, if it can attract churchgoers.

Picture Day - Reviews
Tatiana Maslany stars as Claire, a high school student forced to repeat her senior year. With a bad reputation, she has trouble finding friends, so she hangs out with a nerdy freshman who doesn't know about her past. She helps him shed his nerdy persona and become a rebel. Meanwhile, Claire falls for a wannabe rocker and is torn between the two guys. The reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are mixed, but there are only two of them. It also picked up a couple nominations at the Toronto International Film Festival, which is probably a better indicator of quality. Picture Day opens this weekend in Vancouver, but not until Sunday. There is a special event at the Vancity Theatre on Sunday.

This Ain't California - Reviews
A documentary about skateboarding in East Germany during the 1980s. There are only six reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which is a sign that it will slip between the cracks. On the other hand, all six are positive, so if it does find an audience this weekend, the word-of-mouth should be great. This Ain't California opens tonight at the Maysles Cinema in New York City.

To the Wonder - Reviews
Terrence Malick has a reputation for making only one film every decade or so. This makes each release something special. However, it has only been two years since The Tree of Life came out, which will deflate demand. Also, the reviews are bad. Critics are complaining that while the film looks amazing, the story just isn't enough to matter. To the Wonder opens tonight in 17 theaters, which is high, but I think Terrence Malick's reputation will allow it to thrive for one weekend.


Filed under: Limited Releases, To the Wonder, Antiviral, Not Today, Into the White, It's a Disaster, The Angels’ Share, This Ain't California, Terrence Malick, Tatiana Maslany, Paul Brannigan