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Not the Only Limited Release

April 24th, 2009

An interesting week for limited releases with several films earning amazing reviews, as well as a couple earning terrible reviews. There's even a Canadian movie on the list. Not sure if any will be big hits theatrically, but several are worth checking out.

Il Divo - Reviews
A BioPic or Italian Prime Minister Giulio Andreotti. So far reviews are excellent, and it was a sizable hit in its native Italy, but without the direct connection to audience here, I fear it won't do enough over the weekend to prove it can expand. Il Divo opens tonight in two theaters in New York City: Lincoln Plaza Cinema and Landmark Sunshine Theatre.

Empty Nest - Reviews
The latest from Argentinean writer / director / producer Daniel Burman, who produced The Motorcycle Diaries. The film is about a couple dealing with their relationship after their youngest child moves out of their home. So far reviews are just below the 80% I usually associate with potential limited release hits, but it is close enough that it could have a chance. Empty Nest opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

The Garden - Reviews
This Oscar nominated documentary is finally being releases, not that you would notice given its lack of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. As I mentioned previously, its shocking nomination should help at the box office, but it might have to wait till the home market to find an audience. The Garden opens tonight at the Nuart Theatre in Los Angeles.

The Informers - Reviews
The widest limited release of the week, and it is earning the worst reviews as well. Not a good sign. It does have a good cast and it is based on a novel by Bret Easton Ellis, who also wrote the source material for American Psycho, Less Than Zero, and Rules of Attraction. (Although, only the first one is a really strong selling point.) Add in a good cast, and it might survive one week. Maybe. The Informers opens tonight in more than 400 theaters across the nation, but that might prove to be too many, a few hundred too many.

The Mutant Chronicles - Reviews
Limited releases rely on word of mouth to survive, much more so that wide releases. Because of this, they need much better reviews to thrive at the box office. If a wide releases were to earn a Tomatometer score of just 17% positive, it would be a really bad sign. For a limited release, it is hard to see this as anything but fatal. Not all of the review are bad, and some critics think it is an effective time-waster, but even then it is worth a rental, at most. The Mutant Chronicles opens tonight in Los Angeles and New York City, but it has already played on PPV for a month. Can't imagine this movie will be a big hit at the box office.

Only - Reviews
A Canadian movie about a boy whose parents run a motel, and a girl of a family staying there, whose parents appear to be on the verge of divorce. It's a Canadian movie, which means there's little promotion and almost no reviews, but with a production budget reportedly at just $10,000, it should make its money back. Only opens in Toronto this week, and in New Orleans next week, and Vancouver the week after that, but most will likely have to wait till the home market to see it.

Treeless Mountain - Reviews
A South Korean film about two sisters, Jin and Bin, who are left alone after their mother leaves to find their estranged father. So far So Yong Kim's sophomore effort is earning excellent reviews, but the limited release market is competitive, and it is hard to give even the best film a better than 50% chance at thriving under the best of circumstances. Treeless Mountain opens tonight at the Film Forum in New York City.

Tyson - Reviews
A documentary about boxer Mike Tyson, who at one time was considered by some to be the greatest boxer of all time. However, it is his life outside of the ring that is the subject here, and it is a compelling subject for sure. Tyson opens tonight in nearly a dozen theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Tyson, The Informers, Il Divo, Treeless Mountain, The Garden, The Mutant Chronicles, Empty Nest