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Limited Releases will have to go Way Back to Look for a Big Hit

July 5th, 2013

It's a pretty busy week for limited releases with several films having openings spread out from Wednesday through Friday. However, while it is a busy week, only two of them are earning overall good reviews. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me is earning the best reviews, but as a documentary, its chances of expanding are limited. On the other hand, The Way Way Back is not only earning great reviews, but its cast is better than most wide releases could hope for.

Absence - Reviews
Erin Way plays Liz, a woman who is far along in her pregnancy. However, one day she wakes up and she's no longer pregnant. She can't explain what happened and neither can her doctor, but police think she gave birth and got rid of the baby. Liz, her husband, and her brother try to escape the attention by taking a break going to a mountain cabin, but once there they realize whatever happened to the baby isn't over yet. The reviews are weak and horror / thrillers rarely do well at the box office. That said, it should find a more receptive audience on the home market. Absence opens tonight in two theaters, the Quad Cinema in New York City and the Gateway Film Center in Columbus, Ohio.

Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me - Reviews
Big Star was a rock band from the 1970s that never found commercial success to match their critical acclaim and broke up after recording just three albums (only two of which were released). However, they were not forgotten and were influential for a number of bands. This documentary looks at the band, their short career, and some of the tragedies that followed. It is the best-reviewed limited release of the week and it is worth checking out. Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me opened on Wednesday at the IFC Center in New York City.

A Girl and a Gun - Reviews
A documentary about the gun culture, but looking at it from a female perspective. The reviews are weak with most critics complaining that it lacks focus and even with a short running time doesn't have enough to say to keep you attention the whole time. A Girl and a Gun opened on Thursday in select cities and on video on demand.

Hammer of the Gods - Reviews
There are not a lot of viking movies out there. Given this film's reviews, it likely won't do well enough to convince more studios to make them. Granted, there are only four reviews online at the moment, so maybe things will turn around, but all four reviews are negative, so I doubt that will happen. Hammer of the Gods opens tonight in theaters and on Video on Demand.

Just Like a Woman - Reviews
Two women, Sienna Miller and Golshifteh Farahani, travel from Chicago to Sante Fe together. The former is leaving a cheating husband and going to a Belly Dancing tournament, the latter is on the run after accidentally killing her domineering mother-in-law. The film's Tomatometer Score is currently in single-digits while it is playing on Video on Demand, so its box office chances are very weak. Just Like a Woman opens tonight in select cities.

The Look of Love - Reviews
A biopic of British pornography magnate, Paul Raymond, played by Steve Coogan. It is directed by Michael Winterbottom working with a screenplay by Matt Greenhalgh, both of whom have made excellent movies. Unfortunately, this film's reviews are only good and not great. Furthermore, Paul Raymond isn't a household name in America, so the film's chances are hurt as a result. The Look of Love opens tonight in three theaters, including the Sundance Cinemas in Los Angeles.

Stuck in Love - Reviews
A romantic comedy starring Greg Kinnear as a divorced man who is still hung up on his ex-wife, Jennifer Connelly. It is the wrong genre for limited release and the reviews are only mixed and this will further hurt its chances. On the other hand, the film has a good cast and fans of romantic comedies know the genre rarely wins over critics, so maybe it will find a more receptive audience on the home market. Stuck in Love opens tonight in 21 theaters in select cities.

The Way Way Back - Reviews
The directorial debut for Nat Faxon and Jim Rash, who previous won an Oscar for their screenplay for The Descendants. The film is earning the second-best reviews of the week, but since the best-reviewed film is a documentary while this movie is a populous coming of age comedy with a fantastic cast, it should easily be the biggest hit of the weekend. In fact, it should become one of the biggest limited release hits of the summer. The Way Way Back opens tonight in 19 theaters, which is a lot, but I think it will still thrive.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Hammer of the Gods, Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me, Stuck in Love, The Way Way Back, A Girl and a Gun, Just Like a Woman, Absence, The Look of Love, Jennifer Connelly, Steve Coogan, Golshifteh Farahani, Greg Kinnear, Sienna Miller, Michael Winterbottom, Matt Greenhalgh, Nat Faxon, Jim Rash