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Limited Releases: Super or Merely Great?

March 20th, 2009

There are a few limited releases with potential this week; none are likely to match last week's Sunshine Cleaning, but they have potential nonetheless. If I were to pick just one film, it would be Sin Nombre; however, one can not discount The Great Buck Howard at the box office.

The Great Buck Howard - Reviews
Wow. This movie has an impressive cast for a limited release. It has an impressive cast for a wide release. Its reviews, on the other hand... 69% positive is not a bad score, in fact, its better than most wide releases earn, but limited releases are held to a higher standard. Also, the film is opening tonight in 47 theaters, which is just too many for a limited release. That said, there has been some buzz building for this film, and it could succeed in this path where others have failed.

The New Twenty - Reviews
An ensemble picture about a group of friends in their 20s dealing with life and love and becoming adults. The reviews are good with a Tomatometer score of 75%, or at least it would have a Tomatometer score of 75%, if it had enough reviews to qualify for one. Lack of reviews could be a sign of lack of buzz, which is a very bad sign for a limited release. The New Twenty opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Sin Nombre - Reviews
Written and directed by Cary Fukunaga, who is making his feature-length movie debut after writing and directing two short films. This film tells the story of two teenagers traveling in Mexico. One is trying to make it to the United States with her father, the other is on the run from his gang, as he is left after his leader committed a horrible crime. Sin Nombre opens tonight in six theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also in New York City, and of all the film's on this week's list, it has the best chance to expand wide.

Spinning Into Butter - Reviews
We have word that this film is opening in one theater tonight. However, the official site has it opening in four theaters, next weekend. Let's hope the official site is correct, or it will have a really hard time at the box office this weekend.

Super Capers - Reviews
A kids movie, and those usually don't do well in limited release. Strike one. It is opening in 80 theaters, which is way too wide for a limited release. Strike two. And it is earning zero percent positive reviews. Strike three. There's a slim chance this film will succeed, a very slim chance, but I would be impressed if it topped the Mendoza Line over the weekend.

Valentino: The Last Emperor - Reviews
A documentary about the world of fashion, specifically the design house run by Valentino Garavani. The film came out on Wednesday, and in two days has already pulled in more than $11,000 in one theater, so there's obviously demand for the biographical film, despite reviews that are not impressive for a limited release. Valentino: The Last Emperor opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, Sin Nombre, The Great Buck Howard