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#1 Limited Release

June 27th, 2008

Not a lot in terms of limited releases this week, especially when it comes to high quality releases. While 60% positive reviews are considered overall positive, it generally takes 80% positive reviews for a limited release to thrive. This week, there are no limited releases to reach that level (although a couple come close and could reach that mark as more reviews come in). This makes it difficult to see which, if any of these films will break out.

Elsa & Fred - Reviews
A romantic comedy, which is not a genre that opens in limited release that often, and for good reason. Romantic comedies tend to earn weak reviews, which is especially deadly for a limited release. It's hard for these films to reach 50% positive, which this movie isn't able to do so far. Granted, it is close, but even just cracking 50% likely won't be enough for the art house crowds to truly embrace. Elsa & Fred opens tonight in two theaters in New York City: Angelika Film Center and Paris Theatre.

Finding Amanda - Reviews
Matthew Broderick stars as Taylor Peters who it trying to find Amanda, who is played by Brittany Snow. Amanda is Taylor's hard partying niece, who he is trying to convince to go to rehab. Given the cast and the broad comedy tone, it would make sense to open wide. In fact, given its reviews so far, which are only 41% positive, it will have a very, very hard time in limited release. It could find an audience on the home market, but that won't happen for a while. Finding Amanda opens tonight in more than a dozen theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also in several major cities nationwide.

Gunnin' for that #1 Spot - Reviews
A documentary about the all-star high school basketball game in which 24 of the best players compete in one game. The best reviewed film on this week's list, it is nonetheless earning just below the 80% positive I normally associate with films that are able to thrive on the art house circuit. Gunnin' for the #1 Spot opens tonight in more than a dozen theaters in major cities nationwide.

The Last Mistress - Reviews
From the writer / director Catherine Breillat, who previously made Fat Girl, Romance, and others. Fat Girl is arguably her best known movie here (although Romance was able to crack $1 million back in 1999). The Last Mistress is less controversial than Fat Girl and it earning nearly identical reviews. I don't expect it to be a breakout hit, but it could find an appreciative audience during its limited release. The Last Mistress opens tonight in two theaters in New York City: IFC Center and Lincoln Plaza.

Red Roses and Petrol - Reviews
Based on an Irish play, this movie focuses on a family who gather after their patriarch dies. So far there have not been many reviews, but they've all been negative; bland appears to be the most common adjective to describe the movie. This is especially bad for a limited release, as these films live and die on their reviews. Red Roses and Petrol opens tonight in seven theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic - No Reviews
The latest Indian release is also the wide limited release this week. No real surprise there, as that is often the case. Additional, as it is also often the case, there are no reviews, no website, and no attempt for crossover appeal. That said, it is opening in more than 80 theaters nationwide and it could earn quite a bit during its opening weekend, and at least $1 million overall.

Trumbo - Reviews
A documentary about Dalton Trumbo, who was a screenwriter, who won two Oscars despite being blacklisted. The film is divided into two sections: archival footage & interviews and then letters written by him read by actors. The first part is better than the second part and this is hurting its overall reviews, which are barely over the overall positive level. Which in turn will hurt its box office chances. Trumbo opens tonight in three theaters, two in New York City and the other in Los Angeles.


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Filed under: Limited Releases, Une vieille maîtresse, Thoda Pyaar Thoda Magic, Elsa & Fred, Trumbo, Finding Amanda, Gunnin' for that #1 Spot, Red Roses and Petrol