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Limited and VOD Releases: Which Releases will Make some Noise?

December 23rd, 2016


There are a number of limited releases coming out this week spread from Wednesday through Sunday. This includes several that are aiming for Awards Season glory: 20th Century Women, Hidden Figures, Silence, and others. There might be too many great films on this week's list, which means some will not live up to their box office potential.

20th Century Women - Reviews
This film’s reviews are stunning and it has already picked up a few major Awards Seasons nominations. It is opening in limited release on Christmas day and I suspect it will be one of the big hits in limited release over the next week.

The Autopsy of Jane Doe - Reviews
Video on Demand
Father-son coroners have to determine what killed an unknown woman at a crime scene. The film is earning some of the best reviews of the week, but it is a horror film that is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are minimal. That said, if you like horror during Christmas, it is certainly worth the $7 rental.

Dangal - Reviews
A Bollywood film about a man who dreamed of winning gold in wrestling, but had to give up his dream due to the lack of financial support. Instead, he’s determined to train his future son to be a championship wrestler. However, his first child is a daughter. So is his second, and third, and fourth. He’s about to give up on his dream again, when his oldest two daughters beat up a two boys, he decides they have what it takes. The film has more reviews than most Bollywood films open with and its Tomatometer Score is 83% positive, so fans of Bollywood movies, or of inspiration sports movies based on real life events, should check it out. It is playing in more than 300 theaters starting on Wednesday.

Hidden Figures - Reviews
A film about the African-American women who helped America’s space program in a time when neither African-Americans nor women in general were given a fair shot at any scientific career. The reviews are amazing and the film should inspire countless people today to enter STEM fields.

I, Daniel Blake - Reviews
This is one of two films starting their Oscar qualifying runs this week. The film’s reviews are over 90% positive, so it does have a shot, but it is a long shot. We will talk more about it when its actual limited release run begins early in January.

Julieta - Reviews
A woman from Spain plans to go to Portugal when she learns her estranged daughter is living in Switzerland. With no way to contact her daughter, she moves into her old apartment and hopes her daughter will contact her. From here, the movie flashes back and we learn how they got into this situation. The film's reviews are great, but not award-worthy and there are a lot of award-worthy films in limited release right now. I fear the competition will cause this film to fall between the cracks.

Live by Night - Reviews
The latest film directed and starring Ben Affleck. Unfortunately, it is his weakest directorial effort and this will hurt its limited release run. It might hurt it enough that it can’t expand truly wide on the 19th.

A Monster Calls - Reviews
A young boy’s mother is dying of cancer and in order to deal with this, he calls for a monster. The film is starting its Oscar-qualifying run this week and it is earning some Awards Season buzz. Not a lot, but some.

Patriots Day - Reviews
A movie about the Boston Marathon bombing. The reviews are right on the edge between good and good enough for limited release. On the other hand, the film did have an amazing opening day earning a theater average of nearly $10,000, so audiences seem to like it even more than critics did. It has a planned wide expansion on the 13th of January and this start suggests it could do well.

Silence - Reviews
Two missionaries travel to Japan after receiving word that their mentor has denounced his religion. At the time, Christianity was outlawed in Japan and torturing Christians until they gave up their faith was common. The film is directed by Martin Scorsese and some thought it would be a major player during Awards Season, but that hasn’t happened so far. The film opens on Friday and the pedigree should help it thrive in limited release. I’m not sure it is the type of film that will expand truly wide without Oscar nominations to boost it.

Toni Erdmann - Reviews
A father decides to travel to be with his estranged daughter, but their relationship isn’t exactly a warm one and they struggle to connect. The film’s reviews are over 90% positive, but there’s a lot of direct competition coming out this week and I fear this film will fall below most people’s radar.

Filed under: Limited Releases, Silence, Live by Night, A Monster Calls, The Autopsy of Jane Doe, Patriots Day, 20th Century Women, Hidden Figures, Julieta, Toni Erdmann, I, Daniel Blake, Dangal, Ben Affleck, Martin Scorsese