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Limited and VOD Releases: Oscar Bounce Dissuades New Releases

January 15th, 2016

The Lady in the Van

It is one of the worst weekends to release a film in limited release, because the Oscars nominations were just announced and people who are most interested in limited releases are more likely to check out any Oscar nominated film they might have previously missed. There are only a few films with more than a handful of reviews, and only one of those is earning overwhelmingly positive reviews: The Lady in the Van.

Band of Robbers - Reviews
Video on Demand
A modern retelling of the Huckleberry Finn / Tom Sawyer story, but with the characters older and criminals. The reviews are good, but not great, and I think it will fall between the cracks theatrically. On the other hand, it is worth at least a rental on VOD. Band of Robbers is the widest of the limited releases on this week's list playing in 17 theaters.

The Benefactor - Reviews
Video on Demand
Good cast, weak reviews, VOD premiere. We might not even get theatrical numbers for this release.

Detective Chinatown - Reviews
This film has cracked $100 million in its native China and Chinese films have shown they can succeed in limited release here. Additionally, it is an action comedy, and while comedy has a hard time translating into other cultures, action films have a universal appeal. Detective Chinatown opens tonight in 15 theaters.

The Lady in the Van - Reviews
The best-reviewed film of the week, it even picked up some Awards Season nominations, but no Oscars. Of all of the films on this week's list, this is the one I think will do the best, but even so, I don't think it has what it takes to earn a real measure of mainstream success. The Lady in the Van opens tonight in four theaters, split evenly between New York City and the Los Angeles area, with plans to expand over the coming weeks. Check out the official site for more details.

Moonwalkers - Reviews
Video on Demand
A CIA agent and a rock band manager have to fake the moon landing, without the help of Stanley Kubrick. There are some cast members I like in this movie, but the reviews are bad and it is playing on VOD, so I have no faith in its box office chances.

A Perfect Day - Reviews
A body is dumped in a well in the middle of a war zone in order to contaminate the water. A group of aid workers are called in to remove it, but what seems like a simple task is complicated by the war. The film has a good cast and good reviews, but that likely won't be enough to thrive in limited release. A Perfect Day opens tonight in two theaters, including the IFC Center in New York City.

Filed under: Limited Releases, The Lady in the Van, Moonwalkers, The Benefactor, A Perfect Day, Tang ren jie tan an, Band of Robbers, Rupert Grint, Ron Perlman