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Mass(ive) Limited Releases

January 29th, 2010

Not a large number of limited releases opening this week, but there are a few that are of interest, some for positive reasons, others not so much. For instance, North Face earned awards in its native Germany and is earning strong reviews here. On the other hand, Preacher's Kid is opening in what could be way too many theaters for a limited release while it has no review on Rotten Tomatoes. Will either of these films thrive? Will any of the films on this week's list thrive? We will find out soon enough.

Falling Awake - Reviews
A New York musician (Andrew Cisneros) tries to become a success in order to win the love of a woman (Jenna Dewan). Limited releases need strong word-of-mouth, so it is devastating for a film to only have one review on Rotten Tomatoes and it's worse that it is negative. Additionally, the film is opening in Miami tonight and New York next week, but it is also playing on Video on Demand, which will also hurt its box office chances. It is hard to see it succeeding.

North Face - Reviews
A German drama about an attempt to climb the north face of the Eiger mountain, which in 1936 was seen as unclimbable. The film's reviews are unbelievable, while it earned a number of awards in its native Germany. That said, it is a foreign language film, and mountain climbing might not be popular enough to draw in crowds. North Face opens tonight in three theaters, all in New York City.

Off and Running - Reviews
A documentary about a young African-American lady's search for her roots. She was adopted by lesbian parents and has two adopted brothers, one Korean and one mixed race. That level of diversity has been a blessing and a curse, which is something the filmmakers focus on. The film is earning very good reviews and could find an audience in art house theaters, but its prospects at expansion are limited. Off and Running opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Preacher's Kid - No Reviews
Written and directed by Stan Foster, who previously helped make Woman, Thou Art Loosed. The movie is loosely based on the Parable of the Prodigal Son, but without any reviews it is hard to tell if it is a successful adaptation. It is a niche market film opening in more than 100 theaters, which is a lot for this type of release. Maybe it will be a surprise hit, but it has a lot working against it.

Saint John of Las Vegas - Reviews
An amazing cast is led by Steve Buscemi as a forming gambling addict forced to return to Las Vegas to investigate a insurance fraud. Peter Dinklage, John Cho, Emmanuelle Chriqui, and others also star. On paper there's a lot talent here, but so far the film has only one positive review out of sixteen up on Rotten Tomatoes. That's beyond unacceptable for a limited releases and puts it in the realm of "One of the worst movies of the year." Maybe the star power can give it a boost during its opening weekend, but I can't see it thriving after that. Saint John of Las Vegas opens tonight in two theaters, The Landmark in Los Angeles and Angelika Film Center in New York City.

Zombies of Mass Destruction - Reviews
A horror / comedy about a zombie invasion in a small town and how the town's residents react, or more specifically, who they decide to blame. The film is earning good reviews, which is surprising as this is a tough genre to get right. Also, no offense to the people at After Dark, but their track record isn't exactly good and most of what they release can be generously described as B-movie material. Zombies of Mass Destruction opens tonight in dozens of theaters, but mainly in places that don't normally have limited release premieres (Spokane, Washington, for example) and it will likely struggle at the box office.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Preacher's Kid, Saint John of Las Vegas, Falling Awake, Zombies of Mass Destruction, North Face, Off and Running