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Limited Releases are Not Hurting for Theaters

June 26th, 2009

There are only half-a-dozen limited releases on this week's list, but half of them are opening in more than a dozen theaters. Opening in more theaters is not always good for a limited release, and this could be the case this week. Of the film's on this week's list, The Hurt Locker has the best reviews and the best chance at finding an audience.

Cheri - Reviews
At the beginning of the month, there were some sources that had this movie opening wide. Granted, 76 theaters is wide for a limited release, but that's not a selling point. The film is a period piece about a romance between a young man and an older woman. The main complaint from critics is the young man in question is not charismatic enough to overcome is obvious flaws. No one is charismatic enough to overcome the obvious flaws here. This has resulted in reviews that are only mixed, which is not good enough for limited release. Cheri opens tonight in select cities nationwide, but that could be as wide as it goes.

The Hurt Locker - Reviews
A movie about a bomb disposal unit in Iraq. On the one hand, it is earning some of the best reviews around. On the other hand, it is still a movie about the Iraq War, and that's been a tough sell at the box office. The unique angle could help, but even so it will likely have to wait till the home market to find success. The Hurt Locker opens tonight in four theaters, half in New York City and the other half in the Los Angeles area.

New York - Reviews
An Indian film about a group of college students from India and what happens to them after the events of 9/11. One of the widest limited releases of the week, it nonetheless has no reviews, and likely little in the way of crossover appeal. New York opens tonight in 60 theaters throughout the nation, but surprisingly few in New York City or the surrounding area.

Quiet Chaos - Reviews
An Italian starring Nanni Moretti and Valeria Golino. The film is earning excellent reviews here, and was a major player at the David di Donatello Awards last year (the Italian equivalent of the Oscars). Quiet Chaos is opening tonight at the IFC Center in New York City, and it could find an audience on the art house circuit.

The Stoning of Soraya M. - Reviews
A gripping real life story becomes difficult to sit through, both because of what happened to this woman, and because the film is laden with clichés and moves at a glacial pace. Still, there are some good performances, and it could find a more receptive audience on the home market. The Stoning of Soraya M. opens tonight in more than two dozen theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also in New York, D.C., Texas, and other states.

Surveillance - Reviews
Not a film I expect to do very well at the box office for a number of reasons. Firstly, while the reviews are good, they are not that good, and not up to the level normally required for a film to thrive in limited release. Secondly, it's a suspense about serial killing, which is not the kind of movie that normally does well in limited release. Finally, it debut on VOD in May, so a lot people who would have been interested in seeing it, likely already have. That said, it did win a couple of awards at the New York City Horror Film Festival, and could find an audience on the home market.


Filed under: Limited Releases, The Hurt Locker, Chéri, The Stoning of Soraya M., Surveillance, Caos Calmo