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Limited and VOD Releases: Limited Releases Served with Drawn Butter

May 13th, 2016

The Lobster

It's a relatively good week for limited releases with several that are earning excellent reviews. Of these, The Lobster is the one I think will do the best at the box office. Kill Zone 2, Love & Friendship, and some others are also earning excellent reviews, but are playing in VOD.

AmeriGeddon - No Reviews
I really hope this is parody. If not, then this is a movie for those who thought Red Dawn was made by "dirty leftists".

High-Rise - reviews
Video on Demand
This is one of the biggest limited releases on this week's list, if you go by the buzz. It has an impressive cast, led by Tom Hiddleston, but the overall reviews are only good and not great. If this was opening wide with an advertising campaign to go with it, I would predict it could be a sleeper hit. As it is, it will do more business on VOD than in theaters.

How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town - Reviews
Video on Demand
This film's chances at box office success are nearly zero for a very simple reason: It was crowd-funded. (I was one of the backers.) Crowd-funding has become a good way for Indie filmmakers to get the money needed to make their films, but it also means the people who are most interested in the movie already paid money, so they won't be buying tickets to see it in theaters.

Kill Zone 2 - reviews
Video On Demand
This is only a psuedo-sequel, as the film has no narrative connection to the original. Instead, it is about an undercover cop, played by Tony Jaa, whose cover is blown and he is then framed for a crime he didn't commit. Once in jail, the warden discovers he's a match to his daughter, who needs a bone marrow transplant. The reviews are 100% positive, while the film made nearly $100 million internationally. It should do very well... on VOD. I wouldn't be surprised if its box office numbers are never released.

Last Days in the Desert - Reviews
Ewan McGregor plays both Yeshua and The Demon that temps him in the desert. The film is "inspired" by the Bible telling the story of the last days Jesus spent in the desert, the full details of which are not in the Bible. This could be either a very interesting bit of storytelling, or something that will not appeal to either churchgoers or a more secular audience. The reviews are right on the level between what is needed for success and failure in limited release.

The Lobster - reviews
This movie is set in a dystopian world where if you are single and reach a certain age, you are gathered with other single people and you have to find a mate in 45 days. If you don't, you are transformed into an animal for the rest of your life. It is a very strange premise, one that will likely prevent it from earning mainstream appeal. However, the reviews are amazing and it could do very well in the art house circuit. It might even be remembered during Awards Season. On a side note, you can take a personality quiz on the official site to see what animal you would be turned into. You get three choices, mine were Panther, Cat, and Lobster. ... I'm not sure how I feel about that.

Love & Friendship - Reviews
Video on Demand
This is the best-reviewed limited release on this week's list. It is also opening on VOD, so its box office chances are very limited. On the other hand, this is more evidence that VOD has overtaken box office revenue in importance for limited releases. Unless you are aiming for a truly wide expansion, or Awards Season glory, VOD is the way to go.

A Monster with a Thousand Heads - Reviews
A woman has to deal with the bureaucracy after her husband's cancer reaches the next level. The film's reviews are excellent, but it is a foreign-language film, so its appeal is limited to the art house circuit.

Pele: Birth of a Legend - Reviews
Video on Demand
This film's box office chances are terrible. Sports movies tend to do as well as the sport is popular and soccer is just not that popular here. Furthermore, its Tomatometer Score is barely in the double-digit range, while it is also playing on VOD. That's three strikes for the film's box office chances. (And yes, I do realize that's the wrong sport.)

Queen Mimi - Reviews
A biopic about Marie Haist, who became homeless in her 50s and lived in a laundrymat. There she met Zach Galifianakis and the two became friends and he's even taken her to red carpet events. There are not a lot of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, but all five of them are positive. Hopefully this will translate into ticket sales.

Sunset Song - reviews
An epic drama set in Scotland just before the start of World War I. The film could do relatively well in limited release. In fact, if it were released in the fall, I would say it was aiming for Awards Season glory. Even if its reviews are not good enough to win Best Picture, it could have picked up a nomination for Production Design, Costumes, etc.

What We Become - Reviews
Video on Demand
A town is quarantined after a virulent form of the flu kills several people. However, the flu doesn't just kill people, it turns some into ... zombies. Zombies are way overplayed in movies, TV shows, movies, etc., but the reviews here are good enough to be worth paying to watch it on VOD.

Moving onto the secondary Video-on-Demand titles, i.e. the ones that are not earning enough buzz to be worth an individual entry.

Video-on-Demand releases:
A Bit of Bad Luck - Reviews - Video on Demand

The Curse of Sleeping Beauty - Reviews - Video on Demand
I Am Wrath - Reviews - Video On Demand
Love Addict - Reviews - Video on Demand
Most Likely to Die - Reviews - Video On Demand
Search Party - Reviews - Video on Demand
Of all of the secondary VOD releases this week, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty is the only one to draw my attention. The reviews are not good, but at least it looks visually interesting enough to check out on VOD. The rest of the films look far too generic.

Filed under: Limited Releases, Search Party, Last Days in the Desert, High-Rise, The Curse of Sleeping Beauty, Love & Friendship, I Am Wrath, The Lobster, Saat po long 2, Pele: Birth of a Legend, Sunset Song, Un monstruo de mil cabezas, How to Plan an Orgy in a Small Town, A Bit of Bad Luck, AmeriGeddon, Sorgenfri, Queen Mimi, Most Likely to Die, Love Addict, Ewan McGregor, Zach Galifianakis, Tom Hiddleston, Tony Jaa, Marie Haist