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Limited Releases get to the Heart of Awards Season

December 18th, 2009

Just a few limited releases on this week's list; however, all three have Awards Season aspirations, and all three have already picked up at least a one major nomination. That said, the usual caveats with regards to limited releases expanding wide still apply. Even though they have a lot of buzz, they have even more competition.

Crazy Heart - Reviews
Jeff Bridges stars as Bad Blake, a country music singer whose career has had a toll on his personal life, and vice versa. Maggie Gyllenhaal co-stars as Jean Craddock, a reporter looking for the story behind his story, but more importantly might be the key to his salvation. Reading that brief description of the movie and it feels... stale. Even writing it sounds stale. However, so far the reviews have been impeccable with special praise going to Jeff Bridges. Bridges has earned nominations for awards from the three major groups that have announced so far. Impressive. The film has already begun its limited release run and earned close to $13,000 in 4 theaters on Wednesday, which suggests it has some potential to expand. And the more nominations Jeff Bridges picks up, the better.

Nine - Reviews
The biggest limited release of the week, at least in terms of advanced buzz and potential to expand. In fact, it already has a wide expansion planned for Christmas Day and it might actually be more accurate to call this a prestige release and not a limited release. That said, while the studio has planned its expansion already and it has plenty of nominations to brag about, its actual reviews are not great, or even good. They are better than they were at the beginning of the week, but they are still below 50% positive. That's lower than I would expect from an Awards Season player. That's lower than I would expect for a film like this to survive in wide release, and should be fatal for a limited release. However, the advance buzz might be enough for the film to survive long enough to expand wide, but its chances once it does so are dubious. Nine opens tonight in 4 theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area, but also in New York and Florida.

The Young Victoria - Reviews
The third limited release this week is opening in the most theaters, but its reviews are not quite up to the level we normally associate with films that thrive in limited release. That said, Emily Blunt is earning a lot of praise for her performance, and has one major nomination so far. Fans of costume dramas in general and British Royalty specifically should find enough here to enjoy. The Young Victoria opens tonight in 44 theaters in major cities nationwide (New York City, Los Angeles, Chicago, etc.) which might be too much for the film to thrive.


Filed under: Awards Season, The Young Victoria, Nine, Crazy Heart