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Limited Releases: Under the Weather

October 4th, 2012

There are a large number of limited releases on this week's list, but very few have a serious shot at box office success. There are several films with casts with strong name recognition that were earning pre-release buzz, Butter, The Oranges, and The Paperboy, but none of them are earning strong enough reviews to suggest they will thrive in limited release. Fat Kid Rules the World might be the film with the best chance at mainstream success on this week's list, while Escape Fire might do well for a documentary.

Butter - Reviews
An ensemble comedy about butter sculpting. It's a slice of social satire that has a great cast and is earning better than average buzz, but the end result is only mixed reviews. Also, it is opening in 90 theaters, which is way too many for a limited release. Maybe the cast and the pre-release buzz will help it during the opening weekend, but soon enough the reviews will haunt it.

English Vinglish - Reviews
A Bollywood film, which means there are almost no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. In fact, there's only one at the moment. On the other hand, this is actually better than a lot of similar films, and the review is positive. In the film, Sashi is a woman made to feel insecure, because she can't speak English, which is important for the social status of Indians. Of course, English isn't an easy language to learn. English Vinglish opens on Friday in 82 theaters, which is on par with most Bollywood releases.

Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare - Reviews
Just in time for the presidential election to heat up, we have a documentary about the state of the American health care system. There are a lot of things wrong with the current American system, and most of them can be summed up with, 'putting profits before patients'. The film doesn't have a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but most of them are positive. I don't know if people are super interested in a film like this, or if they are sick of politics. Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare opens on Friday in eleven theaters.

Fat Kid Rules the World - Reviews
Matthew Lillard makes his directorial debut, and if the reviews are any indication, he's got a real career ahead of him. Jacob Wysocki stars as Troy an overweight and depressed 17-year old. However, when he attempts suicide, he is stopped by Matt O'Leary, a street musician. The pair become friends, but Troy's dad doesn't like his son's new best friend. The reviews are perfect so far, so hopefully it will thrive. Fat Kid Rules the World opens on Friday Cinema Village in New York City before expanding to Los Angeles next week.

Lawrence of Arabia - Reviews
Just a quick note that for the 50th anniversary of this film, there are special showings of this film tonight. Check Fathom Events' official site for more details. It is one of the best movies ever made and it is worth seeing in theaters.

The Oranges - Reviews
Two families, David and Page Wallings, and Terry and Cathy Ostroff, have always been close, ever since they first became neighbors. However, that changes when a romance develops between the two families. And it is not between their two kids, Toby and Nina, but between Nina and David. This film has a great cast and was earning a lot of pre-release buzz. However, its reviews are terrible. They would be bad for even critic-proof genres, like teenage slashers and they will likely kill this film before the weekend is over. The Oranges opens on Friday in more than 100 theaters, which is another reason to doubt its box office chances.

The Paperboy - Reviews
I heard a lot of buzz about this film, certainly more than for most limited releases. However, the actual reviews are merely mixed. Mixed is bad for a drama in wide release; they will likely be fatal for a limited release. It does have a strong cast and perhaps it will do well during its opening weekend, but I think the word-of-mouth will hurt it in the week's to come. The Paperboy opens on Friday in nine theaters in New York City, Los Angeles, San Francisco, Chicago, and Washington.

Trade of Innocents - Reviews
Dermot Mulroney and Mira Sorvino star as a married couple investigating human trafficking, specifically the child sex trade. It is a very important story and it is clear the filmmakers' hearts are in the right place, but the reviews are still negative. Trade of Innocents opens on Friday at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

V/H/S - Reviews
An anthology horror film that is earning very good reviews. However, I've also read some aggressively negative reviews, so opinion is very divided here. Secondly, it is the wrong genre for limited release. Finally, anthology films are naturally better suited for the home market, because you can skip one of the segments if it much weaker than the average. Finally, it came out on video on demand at the end of August. V/H/S opens this Friday in more than a dozen theaters, but I think its box office chances are very weak.

Wake in Fright - Reviews
An Australian film from 1971 about a teacher staying the night in a small Australian town before heading to Sydney. However, he has drinks with the locals that night, and the level of alcohol consumption never stops from there. The film earned incredible reviews when it first came out and was even nominated for the Palme d'Or at Cannes. However, it has never really been seen here. Wake in Fright opens on Friday at the Film Forum in New York City.

Wuthering Heights - Reviews
Based on the novel by Emily Brontë, which has been adapted into countless movies, TV movies, TV mini-series, etc. This one stars James Howson as Heathcliff and Kaya Scodelario as Catherine Earnshaw. It's a classic tale and while this film is very good, its reviews are not quite up to the level one would hope to see in a limited release. Wuthering Heights opens on Friday at the Film Forum in New York City.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Lawrence of Arabia, Butter, The Oranges, Wuthering Heights, Trade of Innocents, V/H/S, The Paperboy, Wake in Fright, Escape Fire: The Fight to Rescue American Healthcare, English Vinglish, Mira Sorvino, Adam Brody, Allison Janney, Catherine Keener, Hugh Laurie, Matthew Lillard, Leighton Meester, Dermot Mulroney, Matthew O'Leary, Oliver Platt, Kaya Scodelario, Jacob Wysocki, James Howson, Sridevi