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Limited Releases Go Completely Crazy

October 28th, 2011

For the second week in a row, there are too many limited releases trying to divide up the limited marketplace. It's not quite as busy as last weekend, but the number of limited releases did hit double-digits, including four opening in dozens of theaters, of two of those for opening in more than 100. Again like last weekend, there are films earning advance buzz, films earning good reviews and films with casts with strong name recognition. However, there are few that have even two of those three. Like Crazy comes the closest to earning all three, while Ra. One could have some crossover success.

13 - Reviews
Sam Riley plays Vince Ferro, a young man in desperate need of money. When he finds an envelope with instructions for a job promising a big pay day, he assumes the identity of the dead man it belong to, only to find out the job is as a competitor in a high-stakes game of Russian Roulette where gamblers bet on the outcome. It's a remake of a foreign language film, 13 Tzameti, by the same director, Géla Babluani, but while that film earned amazing reviews, this film is being savaged by critics. 13 opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Los Angeles, before being released on DVD and Blu-ray in just a couple weeks.

All's Faire in Love - Reviews
This film was shot in 2008, but sat on a studio shelf for a couple years. One look at the reviews explains why that happened. Owen Benjamin stars as Will, who is forced by his college teacher to be one of the performers in a Renaissance Faire as a make-up for missing his class. There he runs afoul of some of the veteran Renaissance performers, but falls in love with Kate. Too many critics are calling it too predictable, while it is opening in too many theaters, 86, for a limited release. Avoiding the Mendoza Line might be asking too much.

Anonymous - Reviews
The widest release of the week. This film has Oscar-bait written all over it. Early buzz was incredible, its cast includes a number of award winners, its early reviews were incredible, and it was set to open wide. Then something happened. Its reviews collapsed to under 50% positive and Awards Season buzz has all but evaporated. (The film still looks amazing, so it could pick up Oscar nods for sets, costumes, etc.) Anonymous opens tonight in 265 theaters, but that could be as far as it goes.

The Hammer - Reviews
The filmmakers were going for an inspiration real life sports story, but the early reviews are not promising. The film is a dramatization of Matt "The Hammer" Hamill, who was born deaf and became the first deaf National Wrestling Champion, as well as a UFC fighter. The film opens tonight in 80 theaters, which is too many for this type of release.

Inkubus - Reviews
A horror film opening in limited release and with no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. That's not a good sign. The film does have a better cast than most such movies with actors like Robert Englund and William Forsythe in it. It could find an audience, but it will likely have to wait till the home market to do so.

Janie Jones - Reviews
Ethan Brand is a rock star whose career is folding. One day he learns a woman, Mary Ann Jones, whom he had a one-night stand with, had his child, Janie Jones. Now she's heading off to rehab, and he has to take care of her. It's not the best of time for him, but the two bond over a shared love of music. This film has been earning good buzz, the cast is better than most limited releases have, but the reviews are split right down the middle. Perhaps it will do well when it opens tonight in Seattle and New York City, while it also debuts today in Video on Demand.

Like Crazy - Reviews
Anton Yelchin and Felicity Jones star as two college classmates who fall in love. However, their relationship is threatened when she overstays her visa and is deported. I've been hearing about this film for a while, at least compared to most limited releases, and the film has some good up-and-coming actors in it. However, while its reviews are good, I'm not sure they are good enough to thrive in limited release. Like Crazy opens tonight in four theaters split between New York City and the Los Angeles area.

My Reincarnation - Reviews
A documentary about a father / son relationship between Chögyal Namkhai Norbu and Yeshi Silvano Namkhai. When Yeshi was an infant, he was recognized as the reincarnation of a great Buddhist teacher and his father is one of the great Buddhist teachers in the western world. However, his son doesn't want to follow in his father's footsteps. The film's reviews are good, but not great. The subject matter could help it with art house moviegoers, but it has little chance to expand too much. My Reincarnation opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City and the Laemmle Monica in Santa Monica.

Ra. One - Reviews
This Bollywood film is earning 88% positive reviews. The fact that a Bollywood film is opening with reviews on Rotten Tomatoes is rare enough, but to be among the best reviewed new releases of the week is stunning. The film was reportedly the most expensive Indian film ever made and was pushed back several months due to the extensive post-production schedule. Hopefully it finds a crossover audience. It's opening in nearly 200 theaters, which is higher than most similar films, so perhaps the distributor is aiming for a wider audience.

Restitution - No Reviews
An insurance investigator dies and is when the police look in on it, they find evidence that he was a serial killer who killed three people. A year later, a writer comes into town to write a book about the story, but when he does, he finds the facts don't add up. And when his informants start dying, he knows he's found something worth writing about. The film has no reviews, its the wrong genre for limited release, it's not opening in the usual locations for a limited release, and it comes out on DVD in just ten days. Restitution opens tonight at the Emagine Canton in Detroit, Michigan.

Sidewalls - Reviews
A film from Argentina set in Buenos Aires. It's about two people, Martin and Mariana, living in neighboring buildings in the big city but still being isolated from each other. The reviews are good, but not great. Also, it's release is a bit messed up, so that could be a problem. The official site says it opened in theaters on the 21st and debuted on Video on Demand on Wednesday. But the IFC Center site says it opened on Wednesday. Those who tried to see it in the theater last weekend may just skip the theater experience and rent it on VoD instead.


Filed under: Limited Releases, All's Faire in Love, 13, Anonymous, Janie Jones, Like Crazy, Inkubus, The Hammer, Medianeras, My Reincarnation, Restitution, Ra. One