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Limited Releases have Stories to Tell

May 10th, 2013

Most summers there is at least one limited release that manages to find enough success to expand truly wide. There are quite a few new limited releases this week, but most of them are earning weak reviews and will likely fail to find an audience in limited release. There are three films that are earning 80% positive reviews or better: Sightseers, Stories We Tell, and Venus and Serena. Unfortunately, the last two are documentaries and the first one is a Black Comedy, so it is unlikely we will have a true break-out hit this week.

Aftershock - Reviews
The biggest limited release of the week. It is a horror film written, starring, and produced by Eli Roth. There's a lot of buzz in the genre community, but horror films opening in limited release rarely to do well. Aftershock opens tonight in just over 100 theaters, but that is likely as wide as it will go.

Blackbird - Reviews
A Canadian film about a a young boy who is bullied in school due to his friendship with a popular girl. As a result, he makes a threat online, but this threat is taken really seriously and he finds himself sent to juvenile detention and the community thinks he was about to go on a Columbine-style school shooting. There are not a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but the film did do well at the Toronto International Film Festival and the Genie Awards. Blackbird opens tonight in Halifax, Montreal, Toronto, and Canada. Check the Official Site for more details.

I Declare War - Reviews
A Canadian movie about a group of kids who play Capture the Flag in the woods. One day, their game of pretend war turns serious when one of the soldiers, Skinner, usurps his commanders position and captures an opposing soldier, Kwan, and tortures him for information in order to defeat the opposing captain, P.K. The film has earned good reviews, but like most Canadian films, it faces an uphill battle at the box office. I Declare War opens tonight in Toronto and on the 17th in Vancouver. There are special screenings planned. Check here for details.

Java Heat - Reviews
An American in Indonesia teams up with a local cop to help catch a terrorist. Its an action film opening in limited release, which is bad news for its box office chances. Also, it has zero positive reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Java Heat opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

No One Lives - Reviews
A low-budget horror opening in limited release with reviews that are overwhelmingly negative. ... Maybe it will do well on the home market. No One Lives opens tonight in 53 theaters.

Sightseers - Reviews
Chris wants to take his girlfriend, Tina, on a lovely vacation around the English countryside. It almost immediately goes wrong... Fatally wrong. One of the better reviewed new releases of the week, but it is a dark comedy, which is a genre that is hard to market. On the other hand, Death at a Funeral did do relatively well back in 2007. Sightseers opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Los Angeles.

Stories We Tell - Reviews
Sarah Polley earned an Oscar nomination for Best Adapted Script for Away from Her. Now she is back with a documentary about the fallibility of storytelling. She interviews a family about some of their stories and gets a wide variety of often contradictory answers. This is the best reviewed new release of the week and Sarah Polley has had success as a writer / director in the past. Of course, documentaries have a harder time expanding. Stories We Tell opens tonight in two theaters in New York City and expands to Los Angeles and other cities next weekend.

Venus and Serena - Reviews
One of the best reviewed films of the weekend. It is a documentary about Venus and Serena Williams, who were the biggest stars of tennis for a decade, but at the time this film was made, their careers were winding down. The movie should draw in fans of the pair and could do well over the weekend, but like most documentaries, it's chances of significant expansion are limited. Venus and Serena opens tonight in three theaters in New York, Los Angeles, and Washington, D.C.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Stories We Tell, Java Heat, No One Lives, Sightseers, Venus and Serena, Aftershock, Sarah Polley, Eli Roth, Alive Lowe, Steve Oram