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Limited and VOD Releases: Resurrecting Limited Releases

August 7th, 2015

Cop Car

It could be a really good week in limited release, as there are several films earning great reviews and loud buzz. Leading the way in raw size is Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection "F", which could become one of the biggest Anime hits of all time, at least Stateside. Other films with a shot at thriving in limited release include Cop Car and The Diary of a Teenage Girl, but they are not the only films worth checking out.

Assassination - Reviews
This South Korean film is one of the biggest box office hits of the year in its native country. In fact, it has a chance to overtake Age of Ultron and become the biggest box office hit of the year in that market. On the other hand, there are only three reviews here and not enough of them are positive to think it has a real shot at success in limited release. It is laying the groundwork for Korean films and that could help later films succeed.

Call Me Lucky - Reviews
A documentary about Barry Crimmins, a stand-up comic turned political activist. The reviews are good, but I'm not sure they are good enough for the movie to thrive in limited release. If you are a fan of stand-up comedy, or of biographical documentaries, then it is worth checking out. You might have to wait till the home market to see it.

Catch Me Daddy - Reviews
A British film about the teenage daughter of a criminal family. She wants out of the life and runs away with her boyfriend. Her family objects to their relationship, so sends thugs to track them down. The reviews are excellent, which is even more impressive when you learn it's the first feature-length film from the director and writer. The film opens in Beverly Hills on Friday before expanding to New York City on Saturday.

Cop Car - Reviews
Out of all of the films on this week's list, this is the one I'm most interested in seeing. It focuses on two young kids who find an abandoned cop car in a field and decide to go for a joyride. But when a country sheriff finds out, he hunts them down and doesn't care that this was just a youthful indiscretion. Unfortunately, the reviews have slipped and are now only good and not great. Also, it expands to Video on Demand next week, so it doesn't have a lot of time to earn money in theaters.

Dark Places - Reviews
Video on Demand
I was really looking forward to this film, as it has a number of great actors in it. However, the early buzz was met with weak reviews, which will really hurt its box office chances. Additionally, its theater count is way too large for a limited release (just over 150 theaters) while it is also playing on VOD. It is not so bad that renting it on VOD would be a mistake, if you are a fan of the cast and genre, but that's about as enthusiastic as I can get.

The Diary of a Teenage Girl - Reviews
Out of all of the film's on this week's list, this one has the most art house buzz. It stars Bel Powley as a teenager growing up in the 1970s. She's dealing with her sexual awakening, which includes having an affair with her mother's boyfriend. The reviews are amazing and the buzz is loud for a limited release. It could even expand enough to earn some measure of mainstream success. The Diary of a Teenage Girl opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and Los Angeles, with planned expansions to follow. Check out the official site for more details.

Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection "F" - Reviews
The nineteenth film in this franchise did something that almost no Anime films do... it got a serious release in theaters in North America. It opened on Tuesday and earned $3.5 million in just two days. This success will undoubtedly lead more studios to look at other Anime titles to import and release in theaters here. I would love to see this success help make Anime more mainstream, but I think being more cautious is wiser.

The Falling - Reviews
Video on Demand
A film about a fainting epidemic at an all-girls school in 1969 England. The reviews are 80% positive, which is the level I like to see in a limited release. Plus, it stars Maisie Williams form Game of Thrones. On the other hand, it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are close to zero.

Harbinger Down - Reviews
Video on Demand
A crowd-funded creature feature that was produced using practical effects and not CGI monsters. I'm not one of those people who thinks practical effects are always superior to CGI; however, the people behind the effects in this movie are masters at the craft. The screenplay isn't up to the effects, but it is at least worth a rental on VOD.

Kahlil Gibran's the Prophet - Reviews
An animated anthology based on the work of Kahlil Gibran, with each essay directed by a different animator. The early reviews were great, but they have settled down and are now merely good. Additionally, it is rare for an animated film to have breakout success in limited release. Kahlil Gibran's the Prophet opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Los Angles, with planned expansions over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

Lawrence and Holloman - Reviews
A Canadian movie that we previously talked about, but it is now opening in the United States. There are only two reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and both of them are negative. But it is a Canadian film and I haven't talked about many of those recently.

The Runner - Reviews
Video on Demand
The latest film in the decline of Nicolas Cage's career. The reviews are so bad that they would hurt its box office chances if it were a mindless popcorn flick. They will prove fatal for its limited release run. The film is also playing on VOD, so perhaps it will find an audience there.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Dark Places, Lawrence & Holloman, The Diary of a Teenage Girl, Cop Car, Kahlil Gibran's The Prophet, The Falling, Harbinger Down, The Runner, Doragon bôru Z: Fukkatsu no 'F', Assassination, Catch Me Daddy, Call Me Lucky, Nicolas Cage, Maisie Williams, Bel Powley, Barry Crimmins