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Limited Releases are a Marathon and not a Sprint

July 6th, 2012

After several weeks of explosive limited releases, this week seems more subdued. That's not to say there are no limited releases that have a shot at finding an audience, but there's no film that seems likely to open with $40,000, $50,000, or more on the per theater chart. The Do-Deca-Pentathlon has the best chance of being a breakout hit, as it has the best hype. However, while the reviews are good, they didn't live up to the hype, which could hurt it at the box office.

China Heavyweight - Reviews
A documentary looking at China's industrial Olympic program. The film follows Qi Moxiang, former boxing turned coach, as he recruits young boys, and some girls, from farms in poor areas of the country and trains them to be the next Olympic hopefuls. I've heard some buzz for the film, but its reviews are not quite up to the level one would hope for for a limited release. China Heavyweight opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City, and screenings tonight and tomorrow include a Q&A with the director, Yung Chang.

Coast Modern - No Reviews
A Canadian documentary about West Coast Modernist Architecture. The directors, Mike Bernard and Gavin Froome, took a road trip from Los Angeles to Vancouver interviewing the leading architects in this movement and looking at the homes that have become iconic. Coast Modern opens tonight at the Vancity Theatre in Vancouver and the Bloor Cinema in Toronto.

Collaborator - Reviews
Actor Martin Donovan makes his writing and directing debut with this film. He also stars as Robert Longfellow, a playwright whose life has fallen apart, so he goes home to his mother and later meets up with a former classmate, Gus. Their reunion turns violent and Robert becomes a hostage. The reviews for the film are good, but below the level normally needed to survive in limited release. Collaborator opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Crazy Eyes - Reviews
Lukas Haas stars as a Hollywood playboy who lives his life fueled by alcohol and women. He meets up with the titular "Crazy Eyes", played by Madeline Zima, and the pair form a bond. The film's reviews are overwhelmingly negative with some praise going to the chemistry between the two leads, but critics complain that the movie it depressing and pointless. Crazy Eyes opens tonight at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Do-Deca-Pentathlon - Reviews
Mark and Jay Duplass wrote and directed this film, which is about two brothers, Mark (Steve Zissis) and Jeremy (Mark Kelly), who have competed in a fake Olympics since they were kids. The competition was so fierce that their family put an end to it. Now that they are middle-aged, they've decided to compete again, but have to keep it a secret from the rest of their family. The pair have made some great films, but this is among their weaker ones. Many critics still think it is funny enough to be worth watching; however, others have complained that it has the depth of an episode of an average sitcom. The Do-Deca-Pentathlon opens tonight in nine theaters in major cities nationwide.

The Magic of Belle Isle - Reviews
Written and directed by Rob Reiner, which used to mean a lot. It has been a while since he made a movie that earned overall positive reviews. Here he teams up with Morgan Freeman, who stars as a writer who has been confined to a wheelchair and turned to alcohol as a result. He then moves to a small town to refind his inspiration to write and moves next door to Virginia Madsen and her three daughters: Madeline Carroll, Emma Fuhrmann, and Nicolette Pierini. A lot of critics say Morgan Freeman is good in the movie, but that the movie is uninspired and overly sappy. The Magic of Belle Isle opens tonight in four theaters, split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

The Pact - Reviews
After their mother dies, Anges Bruckner returns to her childhood home, but when she disappears, her sister, Caity Lotz, comes to investigate. This is the debut film for writer / director Nicholas McCarthy, and while the reviews are good, they are not good enough to suggest success in limited release. Additionally, it is the wrong genre for the art house circuit. There are more than a few critics saying that while the film is not quite a full success, it offers plenty of evidence that the director and the star should find plenty of work in the future. The Pact opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Starry Starry Night - Reviews
Mei is having trouble dealing with her parents' marriage falling apart, but when Jay transfers to her school, she falls in love with him. The film's reviews are exactly 50% positive at the moment, which wouldn't be bad for a wide release, but will likely prove fatal in limited release. Starry Starry Night opens tonight at the AMC Empire 25 in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, The Magic of Belle Isle, Crazy Eyes, The Do-Deca-Pentathlon, China Heavyweight, Collaborator, The Pact, Xing kong