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Changing Fate of Limited Releases

October 24th, 2008

It looks like the streak of limited release misses will continue this weekend as Changeling is not living up to expectations with critics. There are still a couple of limited releases opening this weekend that are definitely worth checking out such as Let the Right One In and Fears of the Dark, but the odds are that neither will find an audience until the home market.

Changeling - Reviews
The Oscars are going to be interesting this year. I say this because this film was regarded as one of the possible contenders for a while, but with reviews like this, it won't be for long, and this will leave a huge vacuum that will have to be filled, likely by an underdog or two. I really thought this film would be an Oscar contender and perhaps reach $100 million. Now I have my doubts that the movie will expand wide. It starts its box office run tonight in just over a dozen theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, with plans to expand next week, but I'm not sure how that will go.

Down to the Dirt - No Reviews
A Canadian movie based on a Canadian novel that is set and filmed in the Maritimes. The movie is about a poet whose life is a wreck; a combination of alcohol and petty crime and self-destruction. There are no reviews over on Rotten Tomatoes, but I did find a few online that are mixed. The film is opening in a few theaters back East, where it was shot, but its box office prospects are limited.

Family Life - No Reviews
A Spanish TV movie being released in a few theaters here. In the movie, Marta and her partner want to have a child, but they run into troubles trying to find a sperm donor as a 'single woman'. Based on a true story, this movie is targeted at a niche market of a niche market, which will hurt its chances at the box office. Family Life opens tonight in three theaters, including in San Francisco.

Fears of the Dark - Reviews
A French animated anthology about fear. It uses multiple production methods, including traditional animation, computer assisted 2-D animation, 3D animation, and stop-motion animation. At the moment the reviews are only mixed, but there's enough here that it is worth checking out, even if most people will have to wait until the home market to see it. Fears of the Dark opened on Wednesday at the IFC Center in New York City.

Heroes - No Reviews
The first of two Indian films on this week's list. This one is opening in more theaters and has a better chance at box office success, mainly because I can't think of the last kids movie aimed at this target demographic. Not the last one that was a hit, but the last one that was released, period. Heroes opens tonight in 60 theaters in major cities nationwide.

Let the Right One In - Official Site
A horror movie opening in limited release. Right away a lot of people who have been paying attention to the box office recently will assume this movie will bomb. However, there have been few horror films that have opened to 95% positive reviews, which can only be seen as a positive. Even so, it does have an uphill battle, especially since the movie is a Foreign Language flick. In fact, since horror generally doesn't do well in limited release, and Foreign Language films generally can't expand, there's a very strong chance that this film won't find an audience until the home market. Hopefully it will do well there.

Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom - No Reviews
A movie based on the popular TV series about a group of African-American gay men. It's a niche market of a niche market film, and sadly I can't find any reviews, which further suggests it won't be able to escape limited release. Additionally, the movie will be play VOD and when given the chance, a lot of people choose to stay at home. Noah's Arc: Jumping the Broom opens tonight in a handful of theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, Atlanta, Chicago, and Washington, D.C.

Passengers - Reviews
The widest limited release of the week, and there's only one review on Rotten Tomatoes. It doesn't matter if it is positive or not (it's not), the mere fact that there are so few reviews bodes very poorly for the film's chances. Despite a good cast, the lack of buzz will likely result in an inability to fill theaters over the weekend. Passengers opens tonight in 125 theaters in major cities nationwide, but that is likely as far as it will go.

Roadside Romeo - No Reviews
A kids movie from India about a pampered dog that is left behind when its owners move and now has to fend for itself. It's a niche market film, like many on this week's list, and there are no reviews, no official site, and no attempt at crossover appeal. Roadside Romeo opens tonight in 29 theaters and could do well, since many other films aimed at the same target audience have become respectable limited release hits.

Stranded: I've Come from a Plane that Crashed on the Mountains - Reviews
A documentary about the Uruguay rugby team whose plane crashed in the Andes Mountains. It details the strain of surviving, especially when they had to resort to canabalism. One of the better releases this week, but I'm still unsure how well it will play with audiences. It's not like this is the kind of movie that thrives at the multiplexes, and I'm not even that sure it will do well in limited releases. Stranded opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

The Universe of Keith Haring - Reviews
A documentary about Keith Haring (hence the name). Keith Haring was an artist who was influential in the New York New Wave movement in the 1980s (his "Radiant Baby" is probably the best known part of his art, even if most people who have seen it don't know who painted it). So far the reviews have not been strong, which is doubly dangerous for a limited release film, and it is unlikely that it will be a breakout hit. The Universe of Keith Haring opens tonight Cinema Village in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Changeling, Låt den rätte komma in, Passengers, Roadside Romeo, The Universe of Keith Haring, Vida de familia