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Which Limited Release will Open with a Bang?

October 21st, 2005

It's a busy week for limited releases, including a couple of films that are destined for mainstream success, but not as many as one would think given the proximity to award season.

After Innocence - Reviews
A documentary look at several men who were sent to prison who were later found innocent thanks to DNA tests. But it's not all happy stories as these men, some of whom have been in prison for 20 years, have difficulties adjusting to life on the outside. After Innocence opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Emmanuel's Gift - Reviews
Another documentary, this time about Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah, a disabled man born in Ghana, West Africa. Normally when a child is born with disabilities they are poisoned and left to die because the family, barely surviving as it is, can't handle the added burden since. Emmanuel Ofosu Yeboah helped fight against this image by overcoming his disability and bicycling across Ghana. Emmanuel's Gift opens in six theatres tonight in Los Angeles, New York City, Chicago and others.

Kids in America - Reviews
When I first heard about this film it looked like it was going the limited release route, but the release it's getting this weekend is much wider than I thought it would be. In fact, it's too wide. The promotional push the film has received isn't strong enough to warrant such a wide release and this will really hurt the film's per theatre average. Even an average of just $4000 would allow the film to reach the top ten, but it might struggle to earn just half that. Kids in America opens in more than 700 theatres nationwide this weekend, and will likely lose most of those by next weekend.

Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang - Reviews
Val Kilmer's return to comedy! My two favorite Val Kilmer movies are Real Genius and Top Secret, but in an effort to seem like a more serious actor he's avoided the genre ever since. His return has not only pleased me, but the critics as well, and the only question left is whether or not it will please moviegoers. I predict it will, so much so that it will lead the per theatre charts over the weekend. Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang opens tonight in 8 theatres and should expanded nationwide in the coming weeks.

National Lampoon's Barely Legal - Reviews
National Lampoon continues its descent from champion of American humor to insignificant studio cranking out direct-to-DVD wannabes. That may seem harsh, but just compare their recent offerings to classics like Animal House. One a related note, one of the stars of the movie, Tony Denman, starred in a TV series called G vs E, which needs to be released on DVD. National Lampoon's Barely Legal opens tonight in 20 theatres and that will likely be the widest it gets.

The Protocols of Zion - Reviews
A documentary look at the rise of anti-Semitism after 9/11, specifically based on the rumor that no Jews died in the attacks. The film also looks at, and is named after, the "The Protocols of the Elders of Zion," which has long since been proven as a hoax but is still a major source of anti-Semitic rhetoric. The Protocols of Zion opens tonight in four theatres including the Laemmles Sunset 5 in Los Angeles and the Lincoln Plaza in New York City.

Shopgirl - Reviews
The long-awaited adaptation of Steve Martin's novella. But while there are plenty of fans of both Steve Martin the actor and the writer, they may be disappointed by the film, as the reviews are mixed. To make matters worse, the film went from a wide release to a limited release, and with mixed reviews it probably won't have the word-of-mouth needed to expand nationwide. It should still earn some mainstream success, just not as much as if it was opening in 2000+ theatres. Shopgirl opens in eight theatres tonight in New York City, Los Angeles, and Toronto, Canada.

Ushpizin - Reviews
A powerful film from Israel that was nominated for three Ophirs, winning one of them. (Ophirs are the Israel equivalent of the Oscar.) Israeli cinema is starting to make inroads into the international market and this film should help increase its appeal to the masses. Ushpizin opened on Wednesday in half a dozen theatres in New York City and Los Angeles.

The Work and the Glory: American Zion - Buy from Amazon
Another example of Mormon cinema, which is very popular in Utah but has never managed to make a real impact outside the Mormon community. This is the first such film to open nationwide, but that strategy will most likely not work as the film only really has niche market appeal and opening in 210 theatres is risky regardless of the subject matter. As I've said before, it's too many for a targeted ad campaign and not enough for a nationwide one.

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Filed under: Limited Releases, Shopgirl, Kiss Kiss, Bang Bang, Emmanuel's Gift