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Just the Facts on Limited Releases

August 18th, 2006

Where there are several limited releases opening in the States tonight, only one, Factotum, is earning strong enough reviews to be likely to expand significantly. A couple of others could have the popular appeal to do the same, but they will have a tougher road ahead.

10th and Wolf - Reviews
An amazing cast is wasted on this entirely derivative mob movie. Since there have been more than 100 such films, including several that use the undercover angle, it takes a lot to stand out and be noticed. Unfortunately, it doesn't seem like the filmmakers even tried as every cliche and stereotype is used in this film. 10th and Wolf opens in half a dozen theatres tonight, mostly in the New York City area, before coming out on DVD September 19th.

Bon Cop, Bad Cop - Reviews
This Canadian buddy cop action / comedy is part of a new wave of Canadian films made for mainstream success. So far it looks like a success as it has already broken records in its native province of Quebec. It opened with $1.27 million in the province, which is akin to Pirates of the Caribbean's opening a few weeks ago and enough to put it in 18th place on the North American charts. This week it expands into the rest of Canada and if it earns half as much in the rest of the country, it could become Canadian biggest hit domestically in a long, long time and easily recoup its production budget of $8 million Canadian. Yes, this is the exact same thing I said last week, but it turns out the film wasn't expanding into the rest of Canada until the 18th, not the 11th as I originally thought.

Factotum - Reviews
The only film on this week's list to earn overwhelmingly positive reviews, and even then it just reached the 75% positive level. Matt Dillion stars as Henry Chinaski, a.k.a. Charles Bukowski. Let's face it, Factotum is an autobiographical book, as is much of what Charles Bukowski wrote. There are three limited releases that could score some measure of mainstream success, and while this one is the least populous, I have a feeling that it will be this week's winner on the per theatre charts and slowly grow during the early part of autumn. Factotum opens tonight in six theatres, two in New York City and the rest in the Los Angeles area.

Familia - Reviews
The directorial debut of writer / director Louise Archambault, this Canadian film deals with two women whose lives diverged greatly but when circumstances reunite them, they find they have more in common than outward appearances would indicate. The film was a success on the festival circuit and earned 8 Genie nominations, including one win, at this year's awards. The film was already released on DVD a while ago, but is finally getting a theatrical release in English-Canada. Last weekend it played in Toronto while this weekend it opens in Vancouver at the Fifth Avenue Cinema.

The Illusionist - Reviews
This film was reportedly going to open wide, but its release schedule was changed to a limited release tonight and a planned expansion for September 1st. This is exactly what I was warning against in my August Preview. Since the film doesn't have a national ad campaign behind it, it won't have the audience awareness needed to maximize its per theatre average. And without that, it won't be able to expand significantly over the coming weeks. This is a shame since the reviews are better than most (although not overwhelmingly positive), and it will result in a serious reduction in box office potential. The Illusionist opens tonight in more than three dozen theatres in select cities nationwide.

My First Wedding - Reviews
Rachel Leigh Cook stars as Vanessa, a woman who is about to get married. But when she starts having libidinous thoughts for every man she sees, she runs to a confessional and confides in a priest, who turns out to be a carpenter who was there to repair the confessional. The mistaken identity film is a predictable romantic comedy, which is an entirely redundant statement. However, fans of the genre will find enough to like to make the film worth watching, but even then a rental will suffice.

The Pusher Trilogy - Reviews: Pusher, Pusher II: With Blood on My Hands, and Pusher III: I'm the Angel of Death
All three movies from the Pusher Trilogy are playing at the Cinema Village starting tonight. The franchise is a organized crime drama set in the Copenhagen world of drugs. Being a Danish film series, not a lot of people will recognize a lot of the actors involved, but it does star Mads Mikkelsen, who is the villain in the latest Bond flick.

Trust the Man - Reviews
I had high hopes for this film, but the reviews just haven't lived up to expectations (especially amongst the cream-of-the-crop critics). The run-of-the-mill reviewers have been much more kind giving the film just over 50% positive. That, and the great cast, could be enough to bring in moviegoers and help the film expand wider. But it is opening too wide (with a theatre count of 38) for that to be a likely scenario. On the other hand, it should perform well on the home market.


Filed under: Limited Releases