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Limited Releases: In-Between Release Seasons

August 24th, 2012

Like I said last weekend, it is an awkward time to debut a film in limited release. It is too late for summer holidays, but too early for Awards Season. There are not nearly as many releases this week as there were last week, but at least there are a few earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. The one with the best chance of success is Sleepwalk With Me, but Samsara and Somewhere Between could be art house hits.

Hermano - Reviews
Adoptive brothers look to turn their skills at soccer into a way to escape poverty, but gang connections could derail the plans of one of them. The film is earning mostly positive reviews, but well below the level usually needed to thrive in limited release. Also, sports films tend to thrive based on the relative popularity of the sport, and soccer has never taken off in the United States. Finally, Hermano is opening in just over 50 theaters, which is too many for a limited release.

The Revenant - Reviews
A soldier, Bert, is killed while serving in Iraq and his body is returned home for a proper burial. However, he doesn't stay buried. He turns to his buddy, Joey, for help, and the two try to come up with a way to satisfy he need for human flesh without hurting the innocent. The film has almost no chance at the box office. Its reviews are only mixed, while black comedies rarely thrive at the box office. That said, perhaps it will perform better on the home market. The Revenant opens tonight in five theaters in New York, Austin, Columbus, Phoenix, and Portland, Oregon.

Samsara - Reviews
A non-narrative documentary, which is a way of saying the film is a collection of interesting visuals. My initial reaction to that description was, "How am I going to assign keywords to a film like that?" The reviews are excellent and the director, Ron Fricke, and producer, Mark Magidson, have made some excellent films in the past. It is the type that could thrive in limited release. Samsara opens tonight in New York City and Seattle.

Sleepwalk With Me - Reviews
Stand-up comic Mike Birbiglia writes / directs / stars in this movie, which is partially based on his life. The film is earning excellent reviews, and has generated more buzz than most limited releases earn. The filmmakers started a faux-feud with Joss Whedon over whose film will make more at the box office. Sleepwalk With Me opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City, but expands rapidly next week.

Somewhere Between - Reviews
A documentary about Chinese girls adopted by American families after China instituted their one child policy. The critics are praising the film's ability to look at a very specific set of circumstances these four girls have in common and tell a story that everyone can relate to. Documentaries rarely have breakout success, but this one at least has a shot at being a hit on the art house circuit. Somewhere Between opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City, and includes Q&A sessions with the filmmaker and some of her subjects over the weekend.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Hermano, The Revenant, Samsara, Sleepwalk With Me, Somewhere Between