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Limited and VOD Releases: Race to the Top

August 28th, 2015

Turbo Kid

There are practically no films on this week's list that I think have a shot at box office success. That's not to say there are no films earning great reviews, but all of them have something that will hold them back. Most of the time, it's a simultaneous Video on Demand run. This includes Turbo Kid (Video on Demand); Z for Zachariah (Video on Demand); and Queen of Earth (Video on Demand). All could find audiences, but they will find them on the home market.

7 Chinese Brothers - Reviews
Video on Demand
Jason Schwartzman stars as a young man who hasn't gotten his life together and spends most of his days drunk. He lucks out and gets a job and a Jiffy-Lupe, mainly because his new boss, Eleanore Pienta, has very low standards for employees. The reviews are good, perhaps good enough to find an audience in theaters; however, it is playing on VOD, so the home market is where the vast majority of people will see it.

Memories of the Sword - Reviews
A Korean film set during the Goryeo Dynasty. More and more Korean movies are finding audiences in limited release here, which is great news for this film's box office chances. On the other hand, there are only four reviews, which shows there's not a lot of buzz. Back to the original hand, all four reviews are positive. Memories of the Sword opens tonight in just over 20 theaters, in both Canada and the United States. Check out the official site for more details.

Mountain Men - No Reviews
This film co-stars Chace Crawford and Tyler Labine. Chace is the successful brother who left his small town behind and is living in the big city, but he returns to get his brother to help him evict squatters that are living in their family's mountain cabin. However, the trip there goes sour and the the family dramedy turns into a survival movie. There are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but I read a couple of reviews online and they were both positive. Mountain Men opens tonight at the Vancity Theatre in Vancouver, Canada.

Phantom - Review
A Bollywood film that doesn't even have a page on Rotten Tomatoes, at least not one that I could find. There is a review on Now Running, which also has showtimes for those interested in seeing the movie.

Queen of Earth - Reviews
Video on Demand
Elisabeth Moss stars as a woman whose father just died and whose boyfriend broke up with her. She decides to go with her friend, Katherine Waterston, to a beach house to recuperate. However, once there, she discovers she can't relax for two reasons. There are too many painful memories in the beach house, plus she and her friend have drifted apart over the years. At the moment, the reviews for this film are 96% positive. However, it is also playing on VOD, so its box office chances are not nearly as robust.

The Second Mother - Reviews
A Brazilian film about a live-in housekeeper who is like a second mother to the teenage son of the wealthy family she works for. When her own daughter comes to stay with her, the balance of the household is disrupted. This is one of the best-reviewed films of the week, so it could do well in limited release. But it is a foreign-language film, so its chances of expanding significantly are very limited. The official site says it is opening tonight, but if you look at the list of screenings, the earliest one is for next week. Not helpful.

Turbo Kid - Reviews
Video on Demand
A movie set in the future, in the year 1997. This is a Canadian film that is an intentional B-movie that is an homage to low-budget action films from the 1980s. The reviews are fantastic, but it still likely won't find an audience in theaters, for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is playing on VOD, just not on Amazon. Secondly, it is not a genre that tends to do well with art house aficionados. Additionally, Turbo Kid is playing in nearly 30 theaters, which might be too many for the film to thrive. Check out the official site for more details.

When Animals Dream - Reviews
Video on Demand
Sonia Suhl plays Marie, a 16-year old girl who lives in a small fishing town. Strange occurrences, including a rash of deaths, could be linked to a family curse. The film's reviews are good, but not great, and as I've said before, limited releases tend to need great reviews to thrive. It is also the wrong genre for limited release, plus it is playing on VOD. It will likely find an audience, but only on the home market.

Z for Zachariah - Reviews
Video on Demand
Three people, Margot Robbie, Chiwetel Ejiofor, and Chris Pine live in a post-apocalyptic world. They believe they are the only three humans left alive... and they get into a love triangle. The reviews are much better than that setup sounds and it is certainly worth checking out. However, it is playing on VOD, so renting it at home is likely going to be the first choice for most.

Zipper - Reviews
Video on Demand
Patrick Wilson stars as a federal prosecutor who is being groomed for politics. However, there's a serious problem. He's addicted to sex and has cheated on his wife repeatedly, including with high end escorts. The film has an excellent cast, better than a lot of wide releases have, but its reviews are terrible. Worse still, it is playing on VOD, so its box office numbers will likely be non-existent.


Filed under: Limited Releases, Z for Zachariah, Zipper, Turbo Kid, Que Horas Ela Volta?, Queen of Earth, 7 Chinese Brothers, Nar dyrene drommer, Memories of the Sword, Phantom, Mountain Men, Chace Crawford, Chiwetel Ejiofor, Tyler Labine, Elisabeth Moss, Chris Pine, Jason Schwartzman, Katherine Waterston, Patrick Wilson, Margot Robbie, Eleanore Pienta, Sonia Suhl