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Last Chance for Oscar Hopefuls

December 28th, 2007

With the deadline for Oscar eligibility nearly here, we have several films that are contenders for Oscar glory. Those that can earn enough buzz will have a better shot at escaping their limited release and expanding wide. Or in the case of The Bucket List, even poor reviews won't prevent that now.

The Bucket List - Reviews
Good news, the reviews are a lot better than the early buzz. Bad news, they are still below 50% positive, which is a terrible score for a limited release. Great news, the film earned a per theater average of more than $10,000 during its opening day on Christmas. This is a movie with mainstream appeal regardless of its release strategy and after its opening day, a wide expansion is all but assured (in fact, it is scheduled). The Bucket List opened on Tuesday in 16 theaters and expands wide on January 11th.

Honeydripper - Reviews
A movie about the early years of Rock 'n' Roll. When it deals with corrupt cops, bad debt and other stories it doesn't really work. But when it deals with the music, it's one hell of a ride. It's too soon to tell if there's enough of the latter to bring in enough moviegoers to expand wide. Honeydripper opens tonight in four theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust - Reviews
A documentary about how Hollywood portrayed the Holocaust in films. One of the best reviewed films on this week's list, it will still struggle against the mainstream appeal of films like The Bucket List, as well as the Oscar contenders like There Will Be Blood.

The Orphanage - Reviews
One of only two new releases coming out this week, The Orphanage is looking to follow in Pan's Labyrinth's footsteps. However, its reviews are not as strong as Pan's Labyrinth's were and there's not as much buzz surrounding the project. It should still draw in crowds in limited release, but I don't see it having the same ability to expand wide. The Orphanage opens tonight in 18 theaters in major cities nationwide.

Persepolis - Reviews
The second foreign language release on this week's list. This coming of age story is earning near perfect reviews, but strangely it was overlooked for Best Animated Picture at the Golden Globes nominations earlier in the month. It also earned a per theater average of just over $5000 during its opening day, which is a good result, but not as strong as I was expecting or hoping. Persepolis opened on Christmas day in 7 theaters, mostly in the Los Angeles area.

There Will Be Blood - Reviews
An obvious Oscar contender, this film earned nominations from Golden Globes and the Screen Actors Guild and with reviews that are nearly 90% positive, there's little doubt as to why. Add in a Boxing Day debut of nearly $70,000 in just 2 theaters and there's also little doubt this film will expand wide over the coming weeks, although none has been scheduled. There Will Be Blood opened on Wednesday in two theaters, one in New York City and one in Los Angeles, but I expect theaters to be added at a fast pace in the coming weeks.


Filed under: The Bucket List, There Will Be Blood, El orfanato, Persepolis, Honeydripper, Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust