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Limited and VOD Releases: Big Game and Other Small Releases

June 26th, 2015

Big Game

The vast majority of the films on this week's list are either debuting on Video on Demand simultaneously with their theatrical release, or have been playing on VOD for a while. There are a few exceptions, but none of them look like they will become box office hits. The film I'm most interested in seeing is Big Game. It might not be the typical limited release and its reviews are not award-worthy, but it certainly looks entertaining. At the very least, it is worth a rental on Video on Demand.

7 Minutes - Reviews
Video on Demand
Three men are deep in debt to a dangerous drug kingpin and are forced to rob a bank in order to get the money they need. This is the wrong genre for limited release, its reviews are terrible, and it is playing on VOD. That's three strikes for its box office chances.

Batkid Begins - Reviews
Video on Demand (Preorder)
A documentary about the Batkid phenomenon. In 2013 the Make a Wish Foundation helped a five-year old cancer patient with his wish to become Batman for a day. The reviews are great, for the most part. Many critics suggest the film is too sweet and moves into the emotionally manipulative area too often. That said, if you want something that will tug on your heart strings, this is it. Batkid Begins opens tonight in select theaters, while it is already up for VOD pre-order on

Big Game - Reviews
Video on Demand
Samuel L. Jackson stars as the President of the United States. Air Force One is shot down and the president is nearly captured; however, a young boy, Onni Tommila, helps the president evade capture. This isn't the biggest or the best film on this week's list, but it is the one I'm most interested in seeing.

Escobar: Paradise Lost - Reviews
Video on Demand
A man falls in love with a woman while on vacation in Colombia. However, when she takes him to meet her uncle, he learns she is the niece of Pablo Escobar. The reviews are mixed and the film is playing on VOD (but not on Amazon) so its box office chances are nearly zero.

Felt - Reviews
Written and directed by Amy Everson and partially based on her real life experiences. Unfortunately, the film's reviews are below the overall positive levels and limited releases usually need much better than merely overall positive reviews to thrive. Felt opens tonight at the IFC Center in New York City with other dates scheduled for the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

Fresh Dressed - Reviews
Video on Demand
A documentary about the intersection of fashion and hip hop. The reviews are excellent, but documentaries rarely have break out success at the box office. Additionally, like so many films on this week's list, it is playing on VOD. (It is a Vimeo exclusive at the moment.) Fresh Dressed opens tonight in nearly a dozen theaters, as well as on VOD. Check out the official site for more details.

Into the Grizzly Maze - Reviews
Video on Demand
An action / thriller about a killer bear in the Alaskan wilderness. Its cast isn't bad, but its reviews are terrible. Additionally, it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are close to zero.

A Little Chaos - Reviews
Video on Demand
This is only the second film written and directed by Alan Rickman, but despite a great cast, the reviews are weak. If you like costume dramas in general and the cast in particular, then it is worth renting on VOD. I don't think it will make an impact at the box office, on the other hand.

The Little Death - Reviews
Video on Demand
An Australian film about the sexual fetishes of a number of couples. It's a black comedy, which is a hard genre to get right. The reviews are mixed, which isn't a good sign. On the other hand, its reviews are perfectly fine for a VOD rental.

A Murder in the Park - Reviews
Video on Demand
A documentary about a man wrongfully convicted for a double-murder and sentenced to death. However, an investigation showed he was wrongfully convicted and the real killer was found and confessed. This documentary puts forth the hypothesis that the original man was actually the real killer and the new guy was wrongfully convicted. The reviews are good, but it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are nearly zero. Then again, documentaries rarely earn any measure of mainstream success in theaters anyway, so going straight to VOD seems to make financial sense.

The Pardon - Reviews
Based on the real story of Toni Jo Henry, the only woman executed by the electric chair in Louisiana. There's only one review on Rotten Tomatoes, which suggests there's not enough buzz to thrive. Worse still, it is negative. Finally, the official site has no release details.

The Princess of France - Reviews
An Argentinian film about a radio production of a Shakespeare play. The reviews are good, but not great. In fact, it is one bad review from seeing its Tomatometer Score drop below the overall positive level. The Princess of France opens tonight at the Film Society Lincoln Center in New York City.

Runoff - Reviews
A story about life in a small town, focusing on a woman who is trying to hold onto her farm in tough times when her husband comes down with a serious illness. Her friend offers her a chance to save her farm, but it involves illegal dumping of chemicals. At first she refuses, but when things get even more desperate, she has to reconsider. Runoff opens tonight at the Village East Cinema in New York City.

The Third Man - Reviews
Video on Demand
One of the greatest films ever made is getting a special re-release this weekend. If you haven't seen it yet, check it out. Personally, I would just buy it on Blu-ray.

WARx2 - No Reviews
Is this movie for real? In 2013, 8,000 soldiers committed suicide and this film tries to explain this not as a symptom of untreated PTSD, but the result of possession by djinni. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes (the one there is a link to a different film). The lack of reviews suggests there is not a lot of buzz and I doubt it will be a box office success.


Filed under: Limited Releases, The Third Man, The Pardon, Into the Grizzly Maze, Big Game, Escobar: Paradise Lost, WARx2, The Little Death, A Little Chaos, Felt, Batkid Begins, Fresh Dressed, A Murder in the Park, Runoff, 7 Minutes, La princesa de Francia, Samuel L. Jackson, Alan Rickman, Benicio del Toro, Jaime King, Onni Tommila, Amy Everson