Limited Releases: Easy Cash for Limited Releases

Girl on a Bicycle poster

There are lots of films on this week's list of limited releases, but only one of them, The New Black, is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews. The Returned is earning overall positive reviews, but that's not enough to thrive in limited release. In fact, given the competition, it is unlikely there is any film that will earn breakout success.

Adult World - Reviews
Emma Roberts plays a young lady who has recently graduated from college with a degree in poetry and finds herself unemployed and forced to live with her parents. The reviews started out really weak but while they rebounded, they are still merely mixed. Adult World opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Beijing Love Story - Reviews
A Chinese film based on a Chinese TV series. It is a romantic movie that focuses on a number of couples with various issues. The TV show was a huge hit, but the reviews for the movie are weak. Beijing Love Story opens tonight, both in its native China and in six theaters in the United States and two in Canada.

Date and Switch - Reviews
Two best friends make a pact to loose their virginity before the high school prom. However, there's a twist when one of them announces he's gay. The film is only earning mixed reviews and it is already playing on Video on Demand, so its box office chances are weak. This is too bad, because there are a number of cast members that I really like (Wendi McLendon-Covey, Gary Cole, Sarah Hyland, etc.).

Down and Dangerous - Reviews
A film about a smuggler who is forced between helping a woman from his past and dealing with a rival. There are only three reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and only one of them is positive. It is also the wrong genre for limited release, as action films generally don't do well if they are not wide releases. Finally, it is playing on Video on Demand and it will likely perform a lot better there. Down and Dangerous opens tonight in 15 theaters in the United States as well as one in Toronto, Canada.

Easy Money: Hard to Kill - Reviews
A sequel to Easy Money, which earned great reviews, but struggled to find an audience here. This film is earning weak reviews, which will hurt it even more. On the other hand, the star, Joel Kinnaman, is a lot more known here than he was before Easy Money came out. That might help a little. Easy Money: Hard to Kill opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Girl on a Bicycle - Reviews
A man who has just proposed to his girlfriend finds himself infatuated with a strange woman. The film is only earning 10% positive reviews, which would be terrible for a wide release. It will prove fatal for this limited release. Girl on a Bicycle opens tonight in a few dozen theaters. Check the official site for more details.

Gunday - No Reviews
A Bollywood film about two boys who are refugees, but who are rescued by a gun runner and eventually rise up in the criminal world. Like most Bollywood films, there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, so it is hard to tell how well it will do with its target audience. Then again, even with reviews, these films are notoriously difficult to predict.

Jimmy P. - Reviews
After World War II, Jimmy P. returns home. However, the soldier is experiencing symptoms of mental illness and meets with Georges Devereux, an anthropologist, who helps him get to the root of the problem. While this is an interesting and true story, the reviews are only mixed, so it will likely struggle at the box office. Jimmy P. opens tonight at the The Elinor Bunin Munroe Film Center in New York City and debuts on Video on Demand on the 20th.

Lucky Bastard - Reviews
A porn site offers the chance to have sex with one of the porn stars who works there. But since this is a "found footage" horror movie, you know it will end poorly. The reviews started out strong, but they have quickly faded falling to just below the overall positive level. Additionally, horror films rarely do well in limited release and the NC-17 might mean people will just wait till the home market. Lucky Bastard opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

The New Black - Reviews
A documentary about the gay rights movement within the African-American community. It is the best reviewed new release of the week and with the number of states that are right in the middle of this debate, it is very timely. Hell, Michael Sam coming out of the closet is also closely tied into this movie. The New Black opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City, while there are plenty more screenings scheduled. Check the official site for more details.

The Returned - Reviews
A movie about a zombie apocalypse, except there's a twist. There's a protein that was discovered that can prevent zombie symptoms, but can't cure zombieism. Anti-zombie attacks are on the rise, especially after rumors that the protein is running out. As a result, couple, Kate and Alex, go on the run to hide their secret. Alex is one of the returned. This is one of only two movies coming out in limited release this week that is earning overall positive reviews, and it is barely doing that. The Returned opens tonight, but the distributor's site is vague ("US theaters"). It is playing at the City Cinemas Village East in New York City, but I don't know where else. When you release a film in limited release, advertising the theaters it is playing in is the absolute number one priority.

A Stranger in Paradise - No Reviews
Colin Egglesfield plays an investor about to make partner when the SEC starts investing some of his investments. He then has to take an unscheduled vacation in Bangkok till the investigation is over, but while there gets mixed up with the Thai mafia, thanks to his brother. This movie is the wrong genre for limited release and it has no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Finally, it is also playing on Video on Demand, so its box office numbers will likely be an afterthought.


- C.S.Strowbridge


Date posted: 2014-02-14