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Fetching Limited Releases

March 16th, 2007

A big list of limited releases this weekend, not so much in the number of films but in the number of theaters. Five of the seven films on this week's list have opening theater counts in the double-digits with a couple opening in more than six dozen. This means that even with little overlap in target audiences, at least one will be squeezed out at the box office. On the other hand, Fido has Canada pretty much to itself when it comes to limited releases. I've seen more ads for that movie up here than I have for Premonition.

Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon - Reviews
A mockumentary set in a world where the villains of teenage slashers are real. Jason, Michael, Freddy, etc. They all are real and amassed huge body counts. In this movie a documentary film crew is following Leslie Vernon, who is trying to become the next big name in teenage slashers. It's a very inventive premise and the execution is much better than expected making this film a must see for fans of 80s slashers or the more recent Scream franchise. Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon opens tonight in 74 theaters, which might be too many for the film to survive. However, I figure the unrated DVD will be a big seller.

Caffeine - Reviews
A quirky ensemble comedy set at the Black Cat Café. Between the staff and the regulars there's enough stories here to fill three film; however, this is not always a good thing. The film seems forced at times while we never really get to know enough about the characters to be drawn in. On the other hand, the film is one that should have more appeal with the average moviegoer than critics and could have a decent run, but it will likely have to wait till the home market for that. Caffeine opens tonight in select theaters, including a couple in the Laemmles chain.

Fido - Reviews
Fido is a Canadian zombie movie set in the 1950s where the zombie are just mindless killing machines, but domestic servants, mailmen, and ... uh ... have other uses. It's a brilliant film that opens in the States in June, but makes its Canadian debut tonight. Easily worth checking out, if you can find it playing near you. Canada can make excellent movies, we just can't seem to figure out how to promote them yet. Hopefully that will change as there has been a lot of ads for this movie on the TV this past weekend. Yes, this is exactly what I said last weekend, but this time I'm 90% sure the movie is coming out.

Hat Trick - Reviews
A sports movie, but it's not about hockey as I assumed from the name, it's about cricket. How well a sports movie does at the box office is proportional to the popularity of the sport, so this film has only niche market appeal here. In addition, the film is a Hindi language film from India, which makes it a double niche market film. On the other hand, that niche market is very supportive of these films and it could do very well this weekend. Hat Trick opens tonight in 22 theaters in major cities nationwide.

Nomad (The Warrior) - Reviews
This film cost $40 million to make. $40 million. The first time I saw that figure, I assumed it was a typo. Perhaps one too many zeros. Or maybe a one instead of a four. But no, the Kazakh government invested $40 million in making this movie and it seems almost impossible that it will earn that back. On the other hand, the film might convince studios worldwide that Kazakhstan is a good place to film a movie, and might recoup its investment that way. As for the film, it isn't earning very good reviews. It's a great spectacle filled with amazing sights and sounds, but the story never comes together as a cohesive whole. Nomad (The Warrior) opens 30 theaters this weekend with plans to go wide on the 30th.

Tortilla Heaven - Reviews
A small town in New Mexico is invaded by true believers after the image of Jesus is seen in a hand-made tortilla. The film is light-hearted and a little slight, but should please its target audience. On the other hand, the film's theater count of 84 is a little high, even with a targeted ad campaign. It could do enough to make the studio happy and pave the way for a successful home market run, but I don't see it expanding much beyond that over the next few weeks.

The Wind that Shakes the Barley - Reviews
The film is about the anti-British rebellion in Ireland. Strong reviews should help the film in limited release, but it won't have the same resonance with audiences here as it did back home. On the other hand, it is Saint Patrick's Day this Saturday, and that could help the film immensely. The Wind that Shakes the Barley opens tonight in 9 theaters, mostly in New York City and the Los Angeles area.


Filed under: Limited Releases, An Eye for an Eye, The Wind That Shakes the Barley, Fido, Tortilla Heaven, Nomad, Behind the Mask: The Rise of Leslie Vernon