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Limited and VOD Releases: Sign Your Name. Here

April 7th, 2017

Your Name.

It is a busy week for limited releases with more than a dozen titles on this week’s list. This includes a quartet of releases with good reviews and loud buzz. Gifted’s reviews are good, but likely not good enough for limited release. That said, it has a shot at becoming a sleeper hit. Their Finest is a stellar British World War II dramedy, but the cast is more famous in the U.K. than here. Your Name is arguably the best film on this week’s list and it is a monster hit worldwide. However, it is playing in over 300 theaters and that might turn out to be too many. This leaves Colossal as the film with the best shot at mainstream success. Its reviews are not the best, but the combination of reviews, cast, buzz, and commercial viability is.

Aftermath - Reviews
Video on Demand
An air traffic controller, Scoot McNairy, makes a tragic mistake that causes the airplane crash that kills Arnold Schwarzenegger’s wife and daughter. Arnold Schwarzenegger can’t get through this tragedy without confronting the man responsible. The film has a good cast, but it also has mixed reviews and it is playing on VOD, so don’t expect it to do well in theaters.

The Assignment - Reviews
Video on Demand
Walter Hill has made some amazing films over his career. This is not one of them. In the movie, Michelle Rodriguez plays a male hitman who is after the surgeon who captured him and turned him into a woman. ... It’s a daring idea, I will give them that. However, it was plagued with controversy from the start and the end result isn’t engaging enough to either overcome the controversy, or take advantage of it. Furthermore, it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are negligible.

Colossal - Reviews
Anne Hathaway plays a functioning alcoholic. ... “Functioning” should be in air quotes. She just got fired, dumped, and is forced to move back to her small town from New York City. She gets black out drunk one day and when she wakes up, she learns a Kaiju monster attacked Seoul. She soon realizes that monster is her. This is one of the best releases on this week’s list, when you combine its reviews, its cast, and its buzz. In fact, it might be the only film with a real shot at mainstream success. Let’s hope I’m not being irrationally exuberant here.

Gifted - Reviews
Chris Evans plays a man being a single-parent to his niece after his sister committed suicide. When it is discovered the niece is a child prodigy in math, it is suggested she go to a special school; however, he promised his sister he would give her as normal a life as possible. The reviews are good with a Tomatometer Score of just over 60% positive. If the film were opening wide, it could become a sleeper hit. Unfortunately, 60% positive is likely not good enough for limited release. Then again, it does have a bigger cast and more buzz than just about any film on this week’s list.

Graduation - Reviews
A father is trying to help his daughter escape the corruption of his home country. When she it attacked just before a big test to secure a scholarship to a British university, he will do what it takes to get her that scholarship, even if it means working with the corrupt system he hates. Like many films on this week’s list, it is earning amazing reviews, but will sadly fall between the cracks because of the competition.

A Kind of Loving - Reviews
A re-release of a 1962 film about a man who falls in love with a woman, but when she gets pregnant, he has to marry her before he’s ready to raise a family.

Mine - Reviews
Video On Demand
Armie Hammer plays an American solider trapped by an enemy sniper. The reviews are bad, there is way too much competition, and it is playing on VOD. That spells a disaster at the box office.

Salt And Fire - Reviews
Video on Demand
This movie is directed by Werner Herzog and has a great cast. It does not have great reviews. Sometimes the director can let his sense of style overwhelm a story and that appears to be what happened here. It might still be worth checking out, if you are a fan of the director, but even then I would just rent it. Fortunately, it is a $3 rental on VOD.

Their Finest - Reviews
A British film set during World War II starring Gemma Arterton playing a woman who helps create propaganda films to boost British morale. This is one of the best-reviewed films on this week’s list and the star power is impressive compared to most limited releases. Maybe this will be enough for it to thrive. It is a crowded week, on the other hand.

The Ticket - Reviews
Video on Demand
A blind man regains his sight and is driven to become more successful in other aspects of his life. However, as he does, he leaves behind his old life, including his wife, friends, etc. The reviews are not good enough to think it will thrive in limited release, while it is also playing on VOD. If you think the premise is interesting and you like the cast, then it could be worth a rental.

The Transfiguration - Reviews
A high school boy with an obsession with vampires meets a girl who is just as much an outcast as he is. Instead of being a light in his life, things take a darker turn. The reviews are great, but it is a busy week for limited releases, so I don’t think this will be enough to thrive in limited release. The buzz is just too quiet.

Truman - Reviews
Two friends who have not seen each other in years reunite and their friendship continues as if they were never separated. Unfortunately, this will be their last reunion, as one of them has been diagnosed with terminal cancer. The film’s reviews are excellent and it could do well in the art house circuit. However, because it is a foreign-language film, it very likely won’t do well enough to expand significantly.

The Void - Reviews
Video on Demand
A Canadian horror movie about a cop who finds a bloody man stumbling down a deserted road one very dark night. He takes the man to the local hospital only to have the hospital surrounded by cult-like figures in robes. Then all hell breaks loose. The film is earning excellent reviews, but it is a horror film, which is a genre that rarely does well in limited release. Furthermore, it is playing on VOD, so its box office chances are approxiamately zero.

Your Name - Reviews
An Anime about two highschoolers, a rural girl and a boy from Tokyo, who swap bodies. The film earned excellent reviews and was a monster hit in its home market of Japan and elsewhere. In fact, it is the biggest Anime hit at the worldwide box office. Anime is becoming a lot more popular here, but it hasn’t become mainstream just yet. Your Name is opening in 303 theaters tonight, which will probably turn out to be too many. I hope I’m just being too pessimistic.

Secondary VOD Releases:
Alive and Kicking - Reviews - Video on Demand
Bethany - Reviews - Video on Demand
Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock - Reviews - Video on Demand
Speech & Debate - Reviews - Video on Demand
There are a quartet of secondary VOD releases this week, including two documentaries that are earning excellent reviews: Alive and Kicking and Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock

Filed under: Limited Releases, The Ticket, Salt And Fire, Colossal, Gifted, The Void, The Assignment, Aftermath, Truman, Bacalaureat, Mine, Their Finest, Kimi no na wa, Speech & Debate, Alive and Kicking, The Transfiguration, Shot! The Psycho-Spiritual Mantra of Rock, A Kind of Loving, Bethany, Sigourney Weaver, Gemma Arterton, Alan Bates, Chris Evans, Armie Hammer, Anne Hathaway, Werner Herzog, Walter Hill, Michelle Rodriguez, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Scoot McNairy, Adrian Titieni, Mckenna Grace, June Ritchie, Maria Dragus