Limited Releases Look to Defeat the Competition

It's yet another Oscar week with the limited releases, as Undefeated and Bullhead are hoping their Oscar nominations can boost their box office chances. But they are not the only limited releases of note. There are a couple opening with excellent reviews and even a couple opening in more than 50 theaters.

Bullhead - Reviews
If you read the official synopsis on this movie's site, it sounds like the movie is about the unscrupulous beef trade. The trailer doesn't help illuminate the situation. Its reviews are excellent and the film earned an Oscar nomination for Best Foreign Language Film, so that should help draw in the curious. Bullhead opens tonight in nine theaters in New York City, the Los Angeles area and Austin, before expanding dramatically next week.

Cirkus Columbia - Reviews
Miki Manojlovic plays Divko Buntic, who was born in Yugoslavia but whose family fled to Germany for freedom. Now in the 1990s, he's returning home hoping his riches will allow him to have a good life in his newly democratic homeland. At first things look great, but coincidentally, when his lucky black cat disappears, his relationships with his young wife and his estranged son start to sour. So far this film is earning excellent reviews and it could have an impact at the box office. The co-writer / director, Danis Tanovic, did find success with No Man's Land in 2001 and while it is unlikely this film will top $1 million, it could do well for a foreign language film. Cirkus Columbia opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

Deadline - No Reviews
Steve Talley stars as a reporter investigating a 20-year old murder of an African-American youth in a small southern town. His publisher is unsure about letting him investigate the story, so forces him to team up with Eric Roberts, an older and more experienced reporter. What at first seems like a killing related to the civil rights movement turns out to be about a whole lot more. So far there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, plus it is opening in 15 theaters, which is a lot for a limited release. Maybe if the movie had a lot of advance buzz it would be able to handle that many theaters, but I don't see any evidence to suggest that's the case.

Deep In The Heart - Reviews
The story Richard Wallrath, whose alcoholism destroyed his marriage, but who later found God and turned his life around. This is the latest film aimed at the churchgoing set, but with only one review on Rotten Tomatoes, it likely doesn't have the buzz needed to find any crossover audience. Additionally, with an opening theater count of 60, it might struggle on the per theater average as well.

On the Ice - Reviews
The feature-length debut for writer / director Andrew Okpeaha MacLean. It tells the story of two friends living in a remote Alaskan town who have to deal with the guilt when they accidentally kill another friend during a seal hunt. The film's reviews are split 50/50, but perhaps the rather unique perspective can draw in moviegoers. On the Ice opens tonight in four theaters split between New York City and Alaska.

Putin's Kiss - Reviews
A documentary about, Masha, a high ranking member of the Nashi, a political youth organization in Russia. The Nashi is an organization run by the Kremlin and some have compared it to the Hitler Youth. Masha is very loyal to Putin, but befriends a journalist, Oleg Kashin, who is very critical of the regime. When he is beaten into a coma, she begins to question what she believes. The film's reviews are good, but not great, and it will likely struggle to find an audience here. Putin's Kiss opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Thin Ice - Reviews
Greg Kinnear plays a salesman who cons a farmer into handing over a rare violin only to be blackmailed by Billy Crudup. I'm of two minds when it comes to this film. On the one hand, this film has a cast most limited releases couldn't and it has reviews better than most wide releases. On the other hand, the film is opening in nearly 60 theaters, which is way too many for a limited release, while its reviews are merely good, but not great. I don't think it will thrive.

Undefeated - Reviews
A documentary looking at a high school football team that has been historically so bad that they are little more than a practice squad for better teams. However, in 2004 they hired a new coach and he was determined to turn things around. The film follows the season where they try to win their first playoff game in the school's 110 year history. The film's reviews are excellent at 91% positive, which should be enough to draw in moviegoers who are more ambivalent towards football. Undefeated opens in five theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, and other markets.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2012-02-17