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The Nature of Limited Releases

June 18th, 2010

There's a very eclectic mix of limited releases this week, including a couple documentaries, a few foreign films, even a Canadian movie. If I were to pick one film that has the best shot at mainstream success, it would be Cyrus, but hopefully it will be a good week for limited releases.

8: The Mormon Proposition - Reviews
A documentary about Proposition 8 and the Mormons' role in getting it passed. This film has excellent timing, as the Church of LDS recently became the first religious organization to be fined for malfeasance under California election law. That said, it is so one-sided that it will likely be merely preaching to the choir. This could limit its box office chances. On the other hand, the other side was very, very unlikely to be swayed, or even watch the movie in the first place, so this might not be an issue. 8: The Mormon Proposition opens tonight in more than a dozen theaters in major cities nationwide.

Cyrus - Reviews
A divorcee romance between Catherine Keener and John C. Reilly. They seem to be the perfect match, until he meets her son. One of the better reviewed films on this week's list, it also has an impressive cast and is a film that could find a wider audience, as opposed films that are aimed at art house crowds. That said, it is always a difficult trek from limited release to any real share of mainstream success. Cyrus begins that trek tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

The Killer Inside - Reviews
Michael Winterbottom directs this film noir thriller. Casey Affleck stars as Lou Ford, a sheriff in a small Texas town who was a serial killer in his younger days, but has been able to control his urges. That is, until now. Good director, good cast, mixed reviews. 51% positive would be okay for a wide release, but it is nowhere near strong enough for a limited release. The Killer Inside opens tonight in the IFC Center in New York City before expanding over the coming weeks.

I Am Love - Reviews
An Italian film starring Tilda Swinton as Emma Recchi, the wife of a successful businessman whose children are leaving home. The film is earning great reviews, even if some critics are using "melodrama" to describe the movie. It might thrive in limited release. However, as a foreign language film, its potential to expand is probably limited. I Am Love opens tonight in seven theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

Let it Rain - Reviews
This French film is earning strong reviews and was a midlevel hit in its native land. The character/dialogue-driven comedy / drama could be a hit in limited release, but there's little hope for wide expansion. Let it Rain opens tonight in two theaters, both in New York City.

The Nature of Existence - Reviews
A documentary about the meaning of life from the director of Trekkies, Roger Nygard. Huh... that's quite a switch in scope. Why go from Star Trek to something as insignificant as the meaning of life? Moving on... the film's reviews are good, but not great, and its box office chances are probably limited. The Nature of Existence opens tonight in two theaters, including the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Raavan - Reviews
The latest Indian film opening Stateside. For a long time, Bollywood films would open without much attention, and certainly no mainstream critic would review it for Rotten Tomatoes. However, that's starting to change and they are earning a lot more mainstream attention. Since this one stars Aishwarya Rai, one of the few Bollywood stars to make Hollywood films, it should continue that trend. That said, it's too much of a wildcard for me to predict its box office chances. Raavan opens tonight in more than 100 theaters, which could be enough for it to open with $1 million, or it could finish its run with less than half that.

Year of the Carnivore - Reviews
A Canadian film directed by Sook Yin Lee, who is probably best known for her performance in Shortbus. This film is a romantic comedy about a woman who feels she'll never be with the man she loves because she doesn't know enough about sex, so she decides to go out and get more experience on the subject. I haven't seen many reviews, but almost all of the ones I have seen have been positive, so if you live in Vancouver, Toronto, or Montreal, check it out. Hopefully it will do well enough that it will expand throughout Canada, while maybe it can find a distributor in the United States.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, Parlez-moi de la pluie, Cyrus, 8: The Mormon Proposition