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Quality Limited Releases are Wanted

July 11th, 2008

There are eight limited releases opening this week, only one of which is earning overall positive reviews. And that film, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, has already debuted on TV, which further complicates its box office chances. This could result in a week without a single strong release on the per theater chart.

August - Reviews
A film named August that is opening in the middle of July. Given its reviews, that might be the most interesting aspect of the movie. Limited releases generally need much better reviews that a wide release to make an impact at the box office. For instance, reviews that are just under 80% positive for a limited release are comparable to just over 60% positive for a wide release, i.e. good, but not great. So for a film to earn only 22% positive reviews, chances are it will go no where. That said, the film has a good cast and perhaps they can help draw in enough people during its opening weekend to convince other theaters to take a chance on it. August opens tonight at the City Cinema Village East in New York City.

Eight Miles High - Reviews
A German film about the 1960s icon, Uschi Obermaier. Reviews are mixed with some critics calling it unintentionally funny. Furthermore, Uschi Obermaier is not well known here, which will further hurt the film's box office potential. Eight Miles High opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Garden Party - Reviews
The widest limited release of the week, it is also earning some of the weakest reviews. This film looks at the intersecting lives of seemingly unconnected people. It's the kind of movie someone makes after watching one too many Robert Altman movies. Altman made this genre look way too easy and there have been way too many imitators lately, writer / director Jason Freeland being the latest. Garden Party opens tonight in seven theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, which is where the movie is set.

Harold - Reviews
Spencer Breslin stars as the titular Harold, a 13-year old boy starting high school. The problem, he has early onset male pattern baldness. In essence, he looks, and acts, like a middle-aged man. Movies about characters starting high school and not fitting in are very common. If this film took that simple premise and did something unique with it, it could have been a serious indie hit. However, it doesn't rise above its genre. Harold opens tonight in a handful of theaters in select markets, including New York City, Houston, Texas, and others. - No Reviews
Also known as, A Date with Murder, although I can't find reviews under either name. The movie is about a woman whose sister is killed and thinks it has something to do with her online dating profile, so she decides to sign up with the same site to figure out who the real killer is. Given the total lack of publicity for this movie, I would be amazed if its opening this week went well. In fact, there's probably only a 50/50 chance that its box office numbers will be released on Monday. opens tonight at the Regency Fairfax in Los Angeles while it is scheduled to expand into Portland, Oregon next week.

Ripple Effect - Reviews
A movie about a fashion designer tries to right the karmic wrongs he committed 15 years ago that stars its writer / director Philippe Caland. Triple-duty might be too much for the man, as what few reviews there are have been mixed. Most sources have the film coming out tonight. However, the official site has it opening in 3 theaters next Friday.

Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired - Reviews
A documentary about filmmaker Roman Polanski. This is an unusual film, as it aired on HBO previously, making it one of the few theatrical releases to debut on TV first. This is a risky maneuver on the part of the distributor, but with excellent reviews, it could pay off. Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Stone Angel - Reviews
A Canadian movie that opened north of the border just a few weeks ago and there's little that needs to be added now. It is opening in six theaters tonight, mostly in New York City and the Los Angeles area, but also in Maryland and Minnesota.


Filed under: Limited Releases, The Stone Angel, Roman Polanski: Wanted and Desired, Garden Party, Ripple Effect, August,