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Limited Releases are Wonderful

October 8th, 2010

The list of limited releases is long and varied with a few Oscar potential films, as well as a few that are not being greeted as warmly by critics. Likewise, there are some films opening in only a single theaters, while others are opening in dozens, or even hundreds of theaters. With so many films, a lot will unfortunately fall through the cracks, but hopefully there will also be at least a few hits.

As Good As Dead - No Reviews
A journalist, Cary Elwes, is kidnapped by a trio of cultists, led by Andie MacDowell, and tortured. They are doing this to avenge their murdered leader, but the more brutal they get, the more the suspect Cary Elwes is innocent. On the one hand, this movie is opening during the right time of year. On the other hand, it is the wrong genre and it has no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which suggests it will struggle at the box office. As Good As Dead opens tonight at the Quad Cinema in New York City.

GhettoPhysics: Will the Real Pimps and Ho's Please Stand Up? - Reviews
Love the name, but I'm not too psyched about this film's chances. First of all, it is opening during a very busy week and one could argue it even has direct competition. This documentary and Inside Job both talk about the current economic situation, but this one uses the analogy of Pimps and Ho's to describe how Wall Street treats the rest of us. It could work, but there are not enough reviews on Rotten Tomatoes to say for sure. GhettoPhysics opens tonight in nine theaters in select cities nationwide.

I Spit on Your Grave - Reviews
Good news: This film is opening just before Halloween, which is the perfect time of year for torture porn. Bad news: Practically everything else is going wrong. It's earning terrible reviews, it's the wrong genre for limited release, there's direct competition from a wide release, last week had two similar limited releases and both bombed, etc. I Spit on Your Grave is opening in roughly a dozen theaters nationwide, which is likely too many for the film to handle.

Inside Job - Reviews
A documentary about the recent financial meltdown and its root causes. ... It takes 108 minutes to say, "Deregulation"? In all seriousness, critics have praised the detailed nature of the case made by the filmmakers and the end result is worth checking out. Sadly the people who need to see it the most, like those in power, will probably not see it. Inside Job opens tonight in two theaters in New York City: Angelika Film Center and Lincoln Plaza Cinema.

It's a Wonderful Afterlife - Reviews
An Indian film about a widow who is worried her daughter will never get married, so she does the only normal thing she can think of, she kills off all of those who rejected her daughter. At first this plan works about as well as you would expect, but things get worse when she is haunted by the ghosts of her victims, who can't be reincarnated till their killer is dead. She's more than willing to die for her crimes, but not until her daughter is married, so the ghosts decide the best way for them to find peace is to help this woman's daughter get married. It's a warped setup for a comedy, even a black comedy. And despite being written and directed by Gurinder Chadha, who has had critical success in the past, this film is not winning over many movie critics. Perhaps something is lost in translation. Add in an opening theater count of 21 theaters, there's not a huge chance this film will be a major hit.

It's Kind of a Funny Story - Reviews
Early this week, it looked like this movie would open in limited release. However, it is opening in roughly 750 theaters nationwide. On the one hand, this does make reaching the top ten a real possibility. On the other hand, I'm not sure the studio had enough time to promote the film, while the reviews are only good and not great. The cast is impressive and hopefully it can earn a per theater average of $4000, or more. But there's a chance it will earn less than half that. Failing to reach the Mendoza Line has been happening a lot lately.

Nowhere Boy - Reviews
Aaron Johnson stars as John Lennon in this film set in 1955 and includes many pivotal events in his life, like his first meeting with Paul McCartney. So far the film is earning excellent reviews and even earned a number of nominations and awards in its native U.K., but it wasn't able to find much in the way of box office success there. Perhaps things will be better here. Nowhere Boy opens tonight in five theaters, three in the Los Angeles area and two in New York City.

Rachel - Reviews
A documentary about Rachel Corrie, a peace protester who was killed in Palestine in 2003. So far the film has earned good reviews, but not many reviews, which suggests it is going to fly in under the radar of many people. Rachel opens tonight at the Anthology Film Archives in New York City.

Stone - Reviews
With a cast that includes Robert De Niro and Edward Norton and based on a script by the screenwriter who wrote Junebug, it's easy to see why there were high hopes for this film. However, its reviews are below 50% positive. That's nowhere near the level needed to thrive in limited release, never mind being an Awards Season player. Stone opens tonight in six theaters, mostly in New York City, but also a couple in the Los Angeles area.

Tamara Drewe - Reviews
This British film earned good reviews when it opened in its native market, but only managed a few million dollars. Its reviews here haven't been quite as strong, while its box office prospects are even weaker. 73% positive reviews would be great for a wide release, but generally speaking, it's not enough for a limited release. Additionally, while Gemma Arterton's star could be on the rise, currently, I don't think she has the star power to lead a film like this to mainstream success. Tamara Drewe opens tonight in four theaters, two in New York City and two in the Los Angeles area.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Nowhere Boy, It's Kind of a Funny Story, Tamara Drewe, Stone, Inside Job, I Spit on Your Grave, As Good as Dead, It's a Wonderful Afterlife, GhettoPhysics: Will the Real Pimps and Ho's Please Stand Up?, Rachel