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Limited Releases: There is Treasure to be Found

March 20th, 2015

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter poster

It is a busy week with a number of limited releases earning outstanding reviews. This includes a couple of foreign-language films (Amour fou and La Sapienza), as well as a couple of horror films (Backcountry and Spring). However, of the films on this week's list, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter is the one with the best chance of earning some measure of mainstream success.

Accidental Love - Reviews
This film was originally shot in 2008 with David O. Russell; however production shut down when the studio ran into financial difficulties. It was then completed in 2010 without David O. Russell. That would have been the end of it, but David O. Russell's past three films earned Oscar nominations, so this film is getting a release to take advantage of that. Since its reviews are currently zero percent positive and the film has been playing on Video on Demand for more than a month, it will likely go nowhere at the box office.

Amour fou - Reviews
Set in Berlin in the early 1800s, this film is about Heinrich von Kleist, a poet who wants to fall in love and commit a double-suicide, because he thinks that is the ultimate sign of love. The reviews are above 90% positive, which should help it do well in limited release. However, it is a foreign-language film, so its chances of expanding wide are very limited. Amour fou opened on Wednesday at the Film Forum in New York City.

Backcountry - Reviews
A couple go hiking in the woods only to get lost and wind up in bear country. The reviews are very strong, strong enough that it should find an audience in theaters. Or to be more accurate, it should have been able to find an audience in theaters, if it weren't the wrong genre for limited release. It could still find an audience, but it will likely have to wait for the home market to do so. Backcountry opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City.

Danny Collins - Reviews
Al Pacino plays an aging rock star who learns of a hand-written letter sent to him by John Lennon that was never delivered to him. He decides to re-evaluate his life as a result. The film's cast is incredible; its reviews are not. Even if the next couple of reviews are positive and it rises above the overall positive level, it won't be enough to win over art house aficionados. Danny Collins opens tonight in five theaters in New York City and Los Angeles.

Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter - Reviews
A movie inspired by real life events about a woman who allegedly mistook Fargo for a documentary and died trying to find the buried money. The film is earning amazing reviews and it even picked up a couple of Independent Spirit Awards nominations. Unfortunately, those were handed out a while ago and I fear not enough people remember them to boost this film's box office chances. Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter opened on Wednesday at the IFC Center in New York City and it expands tonight to three more theaters. Check out the official site for more details.

Lost and Love - Reviews
A man is trying to find his son, who was kidnapped 15 years earlier. He meets a younger man, who was also kidnapped as a child. The film's reviews are weak and it is opening in 24 theaters, which is too many for a limited release.

La Sapienza - Reviews
A drama about a man traveling with his wife to Italy, so he can research his book about Francesco Borromini, an Italian architect from the 1600s. This film is earning excellent reviews and it is a great fit for art house theaters. On the other hand, it is a foreign-language film, so its chances of expanding significantly are limited. La Sapienza opens tonight at the Lincoln Plaza Cinema in New York City.

Spring - Reviews
A horror romance about a man who travels to Italy and meets a beautiful woman with a dark secret. Horror films rarely do well in limited release, plus the film is opening on Video on Demand. (It is actually coming out on BitTorrent first, before expanding to other Video on Demand platforms.) Granted, the reviews are excellent, but I think its theatrical numbers will be far from excellent. On the other hand, it is becoming clear that for a lot of limited releases, the Video on Demand numbers are more important that the theatrical numbers.

Tracers - Reviews
The latest film starring Taylor Lautner is a heist movie set in the world of parkour. It is earning terrible reviews and it is also being dumped on Video on Demand. I don't expect it to go anywhere at the box office.

The Walking Deceased - Reviews
This film is earning zero positive reviews and it is the wrong genre for limited release. It is also a genre that has been bombing at the box office for years.

Zombeavers - Reviews
Three women go to a cabin on a lake and get attacked by zombie beavers. It is an intentionally B-movie, but its reviews are good. Unfortunately, the reviews are not great and this is the wrong genre for limited release. Additionally, it is playing on Video on Demand, so its box office chances are nearly zero.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Accidental Love, Tracers, Spring, Danny Collins, Backcountry, Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, Zombeavers, The Walking Deceased, Amour fou, La Sapienza, Shi gu, Al Pacino, Rinko Kikuchi, Taylor Lautner, David O. Russell