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Limited and VOD Releases: Make Room for Limited Releases

October 16th, 2015


It is a fantastic week for limited releases with a number of movies in various genres that are earning impressive reviews / loud buzz. There's documentaries (All Things Must Pass and A Ballerina's Tale); horror (Tales of Halloween); action (The Assassin); and even a potential Oscar winner (Room).

All Things Must Pass - Reviews
A documentary about Tower Records, which was at one time one of the biggest retail chains worldwide and arguably the biggest in the music industry. Then it was gone. The reviews are unanimously positive and much of the praise it going to its first-time director, Colin Hanks. All Things Must Pass opens tonight in two theaters, one in New York City and the other in Los Angeles, before expanding over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

The Assassin - Reviews
Shu Qi stars as the titular assassin in this Taiwanese martial arts movie. The film is earning stunning reviews and there has been some good pre-release buzz. Unfortunately, films in this genre rarely have break out success in limited release. I'll be keeping an eye out for the film when it reaches the home market. If I could pre-order it today, I would.

A Ballerina's Tale - Reviews
Video on Demand
A documentary about Misty Copeland, the first African-American to be named principal dancer at the American Ballet Theater. On the one hand, this is an inspirational story about breaking boundaries. On the other hand, my first reaction to reading that was, "Really? What took so long?" This happened this year. 2015. A Ballerina's Tale opened on Wednesday in two theaters, as well as on Video on Demand.

Beasts of No Nation - Reviews
A young boy sees his father killed in the civil war their country is mired in. He is then conscripted to be a child soldier in a mercenary group. One of several films earning strong reviews, this one's buzz isn't as loud as some of the others. Additionally, it is playing in 31 theaters, which might prove to be too many.

Meadowland - Reviews
A husband and wife deal with the disappearance of their son in different, and potentially dangerous ways. The film's reviews are amazing, but I don't have high hopes for its box office potential, as the movie hits VOD next week.

Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2 - No Reviews
Like most Bollywood films, there are no reviews on Rotten Tomatoes. Its review on Now Running is positive, so that's good news.

Room - Reviews
Brie Larson stars as Ma, a young woman living with her five-year old son, Jack. They live in a windowless ten-by-ten foot room, which is where Ma has lived since she was kidnapped a decade ago. With Jack starting to question their world, she decides it is time to escape. The film's reviews are nearly perfect and there's some buzz that Brie Larson will pick up an Oscar nomination for her performance here. Room opens tonight in New York City and Los Angeles with a planned nationwide expansion in November.

Tales of Halloween - Reviews
A horror anthology film that features ten short films about Halloween. It is perfectly timed for its release and the reviews are outstanding. However, it is still the wrong genre for limited release. It is part of the 8 Films to Die For series, which is also opening in theaters tonight.

This Changes Everything - Reviews
A Canadian documentary about climate change. The reviews are mixed with some critics complaining that it isn't urgent enough or that it doesn't come together as a cohesive whole. This Changes Everything is playing tonight in theaters across Canada and the United States. Check out the official site for more details.

Truth - Reviews
A drama based in part on the Dan Rather story that looked at the military record of George W. Bush. It feels like Oscar-bait, but its reviews suggest it won't be an Awards Season player. In fact, with reviews that are just 66% positive, it likely won't thrive in limited release. Perhaps it will do well during its opening weekend, thanks it part to its star power, but its chance of expanding significantly are weak.

Woodlawn - Reviews
A faith-based film about high school football and desegregation in the1970s. There are only three reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but all three of them are positive, so that's good news. Unfortunately, it is playing in 1500 theaters and missing the Mendoza Line is just as likely as becoming a box office hit.

Filed under: Limited Releases, Nie yin niang, Meadowland, Room, Tales of Halloween, Beasts of No Nation, Woodlawn, Truth, A Ballerina's Tale, This Changes Everything, All Things Must Pass, Pyaar Ka Punchnama 2, Colin Hanks, Brie Larson, Shu Qi, Jacob Tremblay, Misty Copeland