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The Limited Releases are Looking Beautiful

June 3rd, 2011

For the past two weeks in a row we've seen one limited release just dominate the market by earning close to $100,000 on the per theater chart. Will that happen again this week? The odds are really stacked against it; it would be like a wide release opening with $100 million three weeks in a row. But if it does happen, Submarine is the film most likely to manage that feat. However, there are a few other limited releases worth keeping your eyes on.

Beautiful Boy - Reviews
The first of three films that are opening tonight that have a legitimate shot at success in limited release. In this film Maria Bello and Michael Sheen star as a married couple who have to deal with the aftermath when their son commits a mass shooting at university before killing himself. The film's reviews started out above 80%, but have since slipped enough that I'm concerned about its chances at the box office. On the other hand, it does have a strong cast and maybe that will help enough. Beautiful Boy opens tonight in four theaters split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Beginners - Reviews
Oliver's parents were married for 44 years, but after his mother died, his father came out of the closet. This is just one of many threads that make up the plot of Beginners, a film that is earning excellent reviews. Add in a cast with much higher name recognition than most limited releases, and it has a legitimate shot at earning some mainstream success. On the other hand, it might be too much of a niche market for that to happen. Beginners opens tonight in five theaters, three in New York City and two in the Los Angeles area.

Film Socialisme - Reviews
Last year Jean-Luc Godard celebrated his 80th birthday and did so by making his first fully digital film. (It was actually filmed in 2008, but post-production lasted until 2010.) The film's Tomatometer score is low compared to his historical average and really low for a limited release. However, the name Jean-Luc Godard could help it at the box office. Film Socialisme opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Good Neighbours - Reviews
A Canadian movie set during the time of the Quebec referendum, but focusing on a group of residents in an apartment building where one of them may or may not be a serial killer. There are a surprising number of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, given that most Canadian films are more or less ignored by critics, and so far three out of four are positive. Good Neighbours opens tonight at the Bell Lightbox in Toronto Canada, and if you catch the 7:10 show, there's a Q&A with the director after the show. Additionally, it opens in the States at the end of July, so look for that.

The Lion of Judah - Reviews
This film has been pushed back a number of times and I'm not 100% sure it is opening this weekend. If it does, I don't expect it will be a hit for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is opening in far too many theaters at 81. Secondly, it has far too few reviews, and the only one on Rotten Tomatoes is negative. Finally, it's an Easter movie opening in June.

Love, Wedding, Marriage - Reviews
Dermot Mulroney makes his directing debut, but as is often the case, the transition from actor to director appears to be a rough one. Mandy Moore stars as a recently-married marriage counselor who begins to doubt the whole institution when her parents announce they are getting divorced. In order to save her faith in her marriage, she tries to fix her parents'. Not only are all of the reviews on Rotten Tomatoes negative, but most are aggressively so. It's being called a Romantic Comedy without chemistry or humor, a collection of clichés, a sitcom stretched to feature-length, etc. It does have more name recognition that a lot of limited releases, but I can't imagine that will be enough. Love, Wedding, Marriage opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City and the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles.

Small Town Murder Songs - Reviews
A Canadian movie about a small town cop, Peter Stormare, whose own violent past comes back after a series of brutal murders occur in a peaceful Mennonite town. This is writer / director Ed Gass-Donnelly's second feature-length film, but it is earning quite a bit of praise. (It's better than it's Tomatometer Score would indicate, as it earned a lot of positive reviews from Canadian critics that aren't part of Rotten Tomatoes.) On the other hand, while it has an excellent central performance, plus terrific mood, its potential to expand is limited by its deliberate pace. Small Town Murder Songs opened last week, but now expands into Florida, Missouri, Oregon, and other states.

Submarine - Reviews
A coming of age story centered on Oliver, who has two goals in life. Firstly, lose his virginity before he turns 16. And secondly, make sure his mother doesn't get back together with her ex-boyfriend. The film is earning the best reviews of the week and the buzz has been strong for a long, long time. It should win the race on the per theater chart, unless X-Men: First Class really beats expectations. Submarine opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

!Women, Art, Revolution - Reviews
A documentary about the Feminist Art Revolution, as it is referred to in the movie. It takes a look at the past 40 years in art and the struggle for female artists to gain recognition in a traditionally male-dominated world. (I like the statistic from the trailer. Only 3% of the artists in the modern section are female, but 83% of the nudes are.) The reviews are good, but not great, with a few critics complaining that the film is a little too superficial. Then again, some of the critics making those complaints are still giving the film a positive review overall. !Women, Art, Revolution opened on Wednesday at the IFC Center in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Beginners, Beautiful Boy, X-Men: First Class, Submarine, The Lion of Judah, Love, Wedding, Marriage, Small Town Murder Songs, Film Socialisme, !Women, Art, Revolution