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Countdown to Limited Releases

September 25th, 2009

As September ends, we move closer to the start of Awards Season and there are a number of films that look on paper to be Awards Season contenders. There are also a lot of films that are earning terrible reviews and while likely disappear from theaters in short order. Amazingly, the widest release of the week appears to be a Canadian film, Trailer Park Boys - Countdown to Liquor Day.

Blind Date - Reviews
After losing their 5-year old daughter in a car crash, the husband and wife decide to go on a blind date with each other in order to re-connect and re-invigorate their married. Many critics have complimented the acting, but even more critics have complained that the acting is the only part of the film that is laudable. Blind Date opens tonight at the Cinema Village in New York City.

Bluetooth Virgins - Reviews
A film about the perils of giving criticism to an artistic friend. It seems the critics don't have the same issues, as the film has gone zero for three so far. The critics who have reviewed it say it's a little too self-indulgent, even compared to the average Indie film. That said, I've read several other reviews that are more positive, so I'm not sure which way to go on this movie. Bluetooth Virgins opens tonight at the Laemmle's Music Hall 3 in Los Angeles and the Quad Cinema in New York City.

The Boys are Back - Reviews
Clive Owen stars as a sports writer who has to become the sole parent to two boys after his wife dies. Clive Owen hasn't had a lot of luck at the box office recently, nor is the film earning reviewed that are overwhelmingly positive. Combined with the competition, there is a good chance that this film will struggle to find and audience in limited release. The Boys are Back opens tonight in six theaters in New York City and the Los Angeles area.

Brief Interviews with Hideous Men - Buy from Amazon
Julianne Nicholson stars as a college student who interviews a large number of men about their relationships with women and sex. However, because of this setup, the film feels almost like an anthology and lacks a cohesive narrative. Most critics agree that there are some segments that work, but most also agree that there are not enough of them that do for the film to work as a whole. Perhaps its best to wait till it reaches the home market so you can skip the segments that don't work. Brief Interviews with Hideous Men opens tonight in IFC Center in New York City.

Capitalism - A Love Story - Reviews
Micheal Moore's latest documentary is an attack on capitalism, at least the form that is practiced in the United States and other so-called capitalist nations around the world. (It's not even Laissez Faire Capitalism. Here corporations are encouraged to take stupid, insane, greedy, immoral risks, because if they win, they keep the profits, which is capitalism. But if they lose, they get the government to bail them out because they are too big to fail, which is socialism. It is literally the worst of both systems combined into one.) So far the film has made $36,000 in four theaters in just one day, which is fantastic for a documentary, but it's less than half as much as Fahrenheit 9/11 made during its opening day, and it was playing in just two theaters. However, that film opened in the middle of summer and not in September. Finally, even if this is a 100% portent for this film's chances, it will still make $25 million at the box office, which is a huge, huge number for the genre. In fact, I'm still thinking it will top out at $20 million, but this is a great start no matter how you look at it. Capitalism - A Love Story opened on Wednesday in four theaters while it expands into 1000 next Friday.

Coco Before Chanel - Reviews
A period piece / biopic. These films are made to win awards; however, there are a few problems here. Firstly, it is a little too early to grab much in the way of Awards Season buzz. Secondly, the film's reviewed are not award-worthy. In fact, they are below the level normally associated with success on the art house circuit. On the other hand, it does star Audrey Tautou, which does give the film a boost in terms of drawing power. Coco Before Chanel opens tonight in six theaters in New York City and the Los Angeles area.

I Hope They Serve Beer In Hell - Reviews
Loosely based on the real-life adventures of Tucker Max. Hopefully very loosely based, because a lot of what happens in the movie is illegal, so he could be looking at a lot of jail time As far as the film's box office chances go, it's a raunchy comedy that is opening in select cities. That's practically three strikes against it right there. Add in the fact that its reviews are terrible and a lot of critics are comparing it to The Hangover, which is vastly superior, and this film has almost no chance at box office success. I assume the Unrated DVD / Blu-ray will perform better, on the other hand.

Paranormal Activity - Reviews
A couple movie into a new home only to learn it is haunted. That's not a unique setup for a horror film, but if the reviews are any indication, that's not a big problem here. I'm still not overly bullish on the film's chances, because horror films rarely do well in limited release. At least Let the Right On In had some advance buzz before it opened in, as it was earning strong reviewed from its international run. Also, the film is opening in a number of markets spread throughout the nation, so it won't have the chance to concentrate marketing enough to get the word out. Hopefully it will find an audience on the home market. Paranormal Activity opens tonight in 12 theaters from Seattle, Washington to Orlando, Florida, and many places in-between.

Trailer Park Boys - Countdown to Liquor Day - Reviews
It's the end of the road for Ricky, Julian and Bubbles. Yep, this is the last we will see of the Trailer Park Boys. A Canadian movie that is getting a serious promotional boost. In fact, I've seen more ads for this movie on TV than I have for the three wide releases, combined. Trailer Park Boys did extremely well for a Canadian movie and nearly made the top ten during its opening weekend. That's not bad for a movie only playing in Canada. Trailer Park Boys - Countdown to Liquor Day will have to see significant growth this time around if it wants to crack the top ten, but given the marketing and theater count push, it could get there. Trailer Park Boys - Countdown to Liquor Day opens nationwide in Canadian while most people in the States will have to wait till it comes out on DVD to see it.

What's Your Raashee? - No Reviews
Typical of Bollywood releases, this film is opening in dozens of theaters, but it is opening with no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes and no chance at crossover appeal. It does have an official site, which is better than some other films in this niche market, so at least it has that. What's Your Raashee? opens tonight in 77 theaters, but that's likely as wide as it will go. That could be enough to help it reach $1 million by the time its run is over, which is more than most limited releases mange to earn.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Capitalism: A Love Story, Coco avant Chanel, Blind Date, Brief Interviews with Hideous Men, What's Your Raashee?, Paranormal Activity, I Hope They Serve Beer in Hell, The Boys are Back