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Can Limited Releases Pick Up the Slack?

December 2nd, 2011

Since there are no wide releases this weekend, the box office will be looking to limited releases to help boost the numbers. Last year the biggest release was The Warrior's Way, which made just over $3 million during its opening weekend. Obviously no limited release is going to match that this weekend. However, The Warrior's Way finished with less than $6 million and that figure might be within reach for a couple limited releases. Shame has the best shot at reaching that level of box office success, but Outrage is also earning great reviews.

Answers to Nothing - Reviews
An ensemble film that deals with several interconnected stories. Among the actors in the cast is Dane Cook, so it's not terribly surprising that its reviews are terribly weak. Also, it's opening in 21 theaters, which is too many for a limited release, especially for a film earning reviews that are this bad. I don't expect it to have much of an impact at the box office.

Coriolanus - Reviews
Ralph Fiennes stars as the titular Coriolanus, a Roman General, who looks for military revenge after being outmanouvered on the political battleground. The film opened in limited release in January, but it is having its Oscar Qualifying run this week. Given its early reviews, this might pay off.

I Am Singh - No Reviews
One of the widest releases of the week, it is aiming for a niche market and has zero reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. It's an American film aimed at a Punjabi market, but with no reviews it is impossible to tell if it will connect or have any crossover appeal. I Am Singh opens tonight in 54 theaters.

The Lady - Reviews
A biopic of pro-democracy political activist Aung San Suu Kyi directed by ... Luc Besson. Luc Besson is best known for stylish action films, so this movie is a huge change of pace for him and, with zero positive reviews out of five on Rotten Tomatoes, it was a change that didn't work out. The Lady opens tonight at the Laemmles Music Hall 3 in Los Angeles.

Outrage - Reviews
A brutal battle in the ranks of the Yakuza is the central plot in the latest film from writer / director Takeshi Kitano, whose previous films include The Blind Swordsman: Zatoichi. This film is earning better reviews at the moment and might do well enough in limited release to earn some measure of mainstream success. Outrage opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City and the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

Pastorela - No Reviews
Agent Jesus Juarez (Joaquín Cosio) has always played Satan in the church's Christmas play. But this year he was late to the auditions and the new pastor gave his role away to someone else. Now he fights to get the role that is rightfully his. The film is opening in more than 50 theaters, but there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. It is aimed at a niche market and I don't expect it to thrive beyond it.

Shame - Reviews
A film about sex addiction that earned an NC-17 rating. It also earned an Independent Spirit Award nomination to go along with its 86% positive Tomatometer Score. It could do well on the art house circuit. It is directed by Steve McQueen, who previously made the award-winning Hunger. It stars Michael Fassbender, who won awards for his performance in Hunger. And it stars Oscar nominee Carey Mulligan. I don't know if it will be able to turn this pedigree into box office dollars, but out of all the limited releases opening this weekend, it has the best shot at earning some degree of mainstream success. However, the NC-17 rating will likely keep it out of Megaplexes. Shame opens tonight in nine theaters in major cities nationwide.

Sleeping Beauty - Reviews
Limited releases rarely have a lot of advance buzz, but this film was an exception for a long time. It stars Emily Browning, who seems destined to be a big star, especially if she's willing to take on challenging roles like this. However, it is unlikely this film will increase her exposure, as its Tomatometer Score is currently below 50%. It is unlikely to escape the art house circuit due to its nature, but with weak reviews, it will likely not even survive there. Maybe the buzz will help during opening weekend. Sleeping Beauty opens tonight at the IFC Center and the Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center, both in New York City.

Surviving Progress - Reviews
A Canadian documentary about technology progress and how it might not be good for us. Or to be more specific, how using technology for short term gain at the expense of our future could destroy us. It is important to make that distinction, as abusing technology progress is dangerous, but the progress itself is good. The problem is, as the documentary points out, that's what we've been doing for a long, long time as a species. Surviving Progress opens tonight at the Cumberland in Toronto and the Rio Theatre in Vancouver.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, Autoreiji, Answers to Nothing, Coriolanus, Shame, Sleeping Beauty, Pastorela, The Lady, I Am Singh