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Limited and VOD Releases: Eight Reasons to Love Limited Releases

December 25th, 2015

The Hateful Eight

While there are a massive number of wide releases / wide expansions this week, there are very few limited releases. Generally by this time of year, the competition from previously released Awards Season contenders is just too much. The only type of film that can truly thrive is one that has a lot of pre-release buzz. This year, this includes The Hateful Eight, which has the widest opening on this week's list and expands truly wide next week, as well as The Revenant, which expands wide early in January.

45 Years - Reviews
A married couple, Charlotte Rampling and Tom Courtenay, are preparing for their 45th wedding anniversary when the body of his first love is discovered frozen in the Swiss Alps. Secrets are revealed and their marriage might not survive till their anniversary. The reviews for this film are amazing, but the buzz isn't great, at least not compared to the number of Awards Season contenders currently in theaters. Hopefully it will be able to thrive in limited release. 45 Years opened in three theaters on Wednesday.

Anomalisa - Reviews
This film opens in limited release next week, but it appears to be the only limited release next week and due to the holidays, we might not have a limited release report next week. It is a stop-motion animated film written and co-directed by Charlie Kaufman. It's his first film since Synecdoche, New York, which came out seven years ago. If the critics are correct, it is his best film ever. In fact, it might be the only real competition Inside Out has for the Best Feature-Length Animated Film Oscar.

The Hateful Eight - Reviews
The latest from Quentin Tarantino. His most recent film, Django Unchained, was his biggest box office hit of all time. It is unlikely this film will top that mark, as the buzz just isn't there. Its reviews are 75% positive, but while this is a great score compared to the average wide release, it is weak compared to Django Unchained's 88% positive reviews. The Hateful Eight opens tonight in 100 theaters, including some Roadshow special showings, while it expands wide on the 31st of next week.

Mr. Six - Reviews
Mr. Six was once a notorious gangster, but he has since fallen from his peak. When his son is kidnapped and he can't get him back through regular channels, he gets his old gang back together to get his son back the old-fashioned way. There are only five reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but four of them are positive and Chinese films do have a growing reputation for box office success here. Mr. Six opened on Thursday in 30 theaters.

The Revenant - Reviews
This movie is Oscar-bait, especially for Leonardo DiCaprio, who still hasn't won an Oscar. Unfortunately, while he is earning a lot of praise for his performance, the overall reviews are not exactly award-worthy. Fortunately for Leonardo DiCaprio, he is still the overwhelming favorite to win this year. (It helps that his closest competitor is Michael Fassbender in Steve Jobs and that film bombed. A movie's box office run shouldn't have an effect on its Oscar chances, but it usually does.) The Revenant opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and Los Angeles, before expanding wide on January 8th.

Where to Invade Next - Reviews
Michael Moore's latest documentary tackles what I consider the most dangerous aspect of American culture: American Exceptionalism. Or to be more accurate, a warped version of American Exceptionalism, the one that states America is number one in everything and therefore there's nothing to learn from other nations. Michael Moore travels the world and looks at ways other countries do somethings better than America does and shows the nation how it can learn to be better. For instance, the criminal justice system in the United States is a mess, so perhaps the country can learn from the way it is done in Portugal, for instance. The reviews are overwhelmingly positive and Michael Moore does have a history of box office success. The film gets an Oscar-qualifying run this week before opening nationwide in February.

Yellow Day - Reviews
This had a special release last year, but it is getting a limited release now. It is a faith-based film that is partially live action and partially animated. The animated sequences look painfully cheap and there doesn't appear to be any crossover appeal. Maybe it will find an audience on the home market.

Filed under: Limited Releases, The Revenant, The Hateful Eight, Yellow Day, Steve Jobs, Anomalisa, Lao pao er, 45 Years, Where to Invade Next, Tom Courtenay, Leonardo DiCaprio, Michael Fassbender, Michael Moore, Charlotte Rampling, Quentin Tarantino, Charlie Kaufman