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Limited Releases are (Moon) Rising

May 25th, 2012

It should be a strong week on the limited release front. Not only are there a number of releases, but four of them are earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. Granted, not all four of them have a great shot at mainstream success. OC87 is earning perfect reviews so far, but it is a documentary about a man with mental illnesses, and that screams art house circuit. Oslo, 31 August is earning nearly perfect reviews, but it is a Norwegian film and those movies don't have a large built in audience, not even on the art house circuit. The Intouchables has made $300 million internationally and French films do have a built in audience, at least compared to other foreign language films. Moonrise Kingdom has amazing reviews, a proven director, and an impressive ensemble cast. If I were a betting man, I would put money on this movie.

Arjun The Warrior Prince - Reviews
This film was supposed to come out late last summer, but was pushed back nearly a full year. It is a very unusual film, an animated Bollywood production, so there's really not enough information from the past to judge this film's potential. There are reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which is also unusual for a Bollywood film. This could be considered a positive sign, as it means it's at least mainstream enough to encourage mainstream critics to review the film, but they are mostly negative. Arjun The Warrior Prince opens tonight in ten theaters, and it could literally open with more than $10,000 on the per theater chart or miss the Mendoza Line and I wouldn't be surprised either way.

Cowgirls 'n' Angels - No Reviews
No reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. That's never a good sign. Bailee Madison starts as a young girl who wants to find her father, who was a famous rodeo rider. While looking, she meets another famous rodeo rider, James Cromwell, who recognizes her innate talent and trains her. Not only does Cowgirls 'n' Angels have no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes at the moment, it is also opening in 50 theaters, which is way too many for a limited release. I don't expect it to do well enough to expand.

Hide Away - Reviews
Josh Lucas stars as a business man with a haunted past who moves to a small harbor town and buys an old boat to live on and refurbish. So far there is only one review on Rotten Tomatoes and it is negative. Also, it spent a long time in post-production, which is usually a bad omen. I don't have high hopes for this film's box office chances, but maybe it will surprise. Hide Away opens tonight at the Harkins Theatre in Tempe, Arizona.

The Intouchables - Reviews
One of the biggest French hits of all time. This film has earned $333.16 million internationally. That's a bigger box office haul than several recent Hollywood films that cost more than $200 million to make (John Carter and Battleship, for instance). It would have to break records to earn a fraction of that here, but with very strong reviews and a lot more buzz than most limited releases earn, it at least has a real shot at some mainstream success. Untouchables opens tonight in four theaters, split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Mighty Fine - Reviews
Chazz Palminteri stars as a father who moves his family from New York to New Orleans in order to give them the good life. But when the business falters, his behavior becomes volatile and dangerous, especially when he turns to organized crime to help out. So far the reviews for this film are terrible. A Tomatometer Score of less that 20% is bad for a wide release and it will likely be fatal for this film. Mighty Fine opens tonight in 19 theaters, which is a little high for a limited release.

Moonrise Kingdom - Reviews
The latest from director Wes Anderson. That alone is enough to get a lot of people interested. And for those who are fans of some of his earlier work but were disappointed with The Darjeeling Limited and thought he might have lost his touch, don't fret, because this film is earning the best reviews of his career. It's about two 12-year olds who run away from their respective home lives, which causes all of the adults in their lives to lose their minds while they go look for them. However, it is a Wes Anderson film, so most of the adults were out of their minds to begin with. Amazing reviews coupled with strong buzz should result in the best per theater average over the weekend. I would be shocked if the film didn't earn at least some measure of mainstream success, while it has a shot at becoming the biggest limited release hit of the year so far. Moonrise Kingdom opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

OC87 - Buy from Amazon
A documentary about and by Bud Clayman. When Bud was growing up, he wanted to be a filmmaker, but his struggles with OCD and Asperger's Syndrome prevented that from happening. At least this was true till he directed this movie. So far the film's reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are 100% positive, which is a great sign. However, it is still a documentary and these rarely expand significantly and the subject matter isn't multiplex friendly. OC87 opens tonight at the Village East Cinema Film Center in New York City, and they include Q&A sessions each day this long weekend.

Oslo, 31 August - Reviews
Anders Danielsen Lie stars as a man trying to get over a drug addiction. He gets to leave the drug rehab facility to travel to Oslo to perhaps get a job, but instead spends the day hanging out with his old friend. This not only blows his chance at the job, but by hanging around the people he used to do drugs with, he's faced with all of the temptation he has worked so hard to overcome. A lot of times 97% positive reviews would be easily enough for the best new release. However, there's a lot of competition for the best. Also, as a foreign language film, it has an added hurdle to overcome if it wants to expand significantly. Oslo, 31 August opens tonight in two theaters, including the IFC Center in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, John Carter, Moonrise Kingdom, Hide Away, Arjun The Warrior Prince, Les Intouchables, Mighty Fine, Cowgirls 'n Angels, OC87, Oslo, 31 August