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Limited and VOD Releases: Farewell to Loved Limited Releases

May 12th, 2017

Hounds of Love

It is a busy week for limited releases. Not only are there are lot of films coming out, but most of them have a sizable number of reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, suggesting there is at least some buzz. Unfortunately, a number of these movies are earning reviews that are mixed, or worse. Furthermore, there are many that are playing in too many theaters for limited release or playing on VOD, neither of which will help their box office chances. As for top picks, I would see Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe in theaters or Hounds of Love on Video on Demand.

Absolutely Anything - Reviews
A group of aliens giving a human, Simon Pegg, anything he wants as part of an experiment. This is a Monty Python movie and there was a lot of buzz around it... when it was filmed in 2014. Something went wrong. Obviously something went wrong, as the film took three years to get a theatrical release. Even fans of the cast and crew will want to wait till it reaches the home market to see it.

Dead Awake - Reviews
Video on Demand
This film is technically not earning enough reviews to be covered here; however, it would be the only secondary VOD release of the week, so I might as well talk about it. This is a horror film about sleep paralysis. It’s the wrong genre for limited release, there are not a lot of reviews, most of the reviews are negative, and it is playing on VOD. That adds up to no real chance at box office success.

The Drowning - Reviews
Video On Demand
A child psychologist, Tom, saves a man, Danny, from drowning. However, when Danny was 11, he was convicted of a murder and it was Tom’s expert witness that put him away. That’s an interesting setup, but the execution is mixed and it is playing on VOD.

Folk Hero & Funny Guy - Reviews
Video on Demand
A struggling stand-up comic gets a break when he befriends a successful folk singer and invites him to be the opening act on his new concert tour. The film’s reviews are good and the film does feel like an art house hit; however, it is playing on VOD, so it will likely do better on the home market than in theaters.

Hounds of Love - Reviews
Video on Demand
An Australian horror movie about a woman kidnapped by a couple, who have been responsible for a number of women disappearing. She has to figure a way to drive a wedge between the couple in order to survive. The film’s reviews are well over 90% positive, but it is a horror film playing on VOD, so its box office chances are negligible.

Lowriders - Reviews
A street artist is torn between the life his father and older brother have and a new life that his art can bring him. This is one of two films on this week’s list that were originally scheduled to open wide, but is only playing in 300 theaters. This is too many for a limited release, while its reviews are merely good and not great.

Manifesto - Reviews
Cate Blanchett stars as 13 different characters in this anthology film about different art movements in film history. The setup screams “Art House”, which will limit its chances to expand significantly. Furthermore, anthology films almost always do better on the home market, because you can skip over the weaker installments. That said, if you are a cinephile, it is worth checking out.

Paris Can Wait - Reviews
A Romantic Dramedy starring Diane Lane and Alec Baldwin that is earning good reviews, but not great reviews. Had this been opening wide, I would give it a chance at becoming a sleeper hit. As it is, it will have to wait for the home market to find an audience.

Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe - Reviews
Josef Hader stars as Stefan Zweig, who was one of the best German-language writers of his time, but who fled the country with the rise of the Nazis, because as a Jewish intellectual, his life was in danger. This is one of the best-reviewed films on this week’s list, but I fear it won’t find an audience in theaters. It’s a timely movie and needs to be seen by more.

Tracktown - Reviews
Video on Demand
Alexi Pappas co-wrote, co-directed, and stars in this movie as a long-distance runner and hopeful Olympian. She’s an actual Olympian in real life and in fact has the Greek record for 10k run, set in the 2016 Olympics. The reviews are about 80% positive, so it could find an audience; however, it is playing on VOD, so it will likely find an audience on the home market instead of theaters.

Urban Hymn - Reviews
Video on Demand
A troubled youth is encouraged by her social worker to turn to singing as an escape. The reviews are good, but not good enough for limited release. On the other hand, they are perfectly acceptable for VOD.

Violet - Reviews
This film looks at the aftermath of a random act of violence. However, we see it not from the eyes of the victim or the perpetrator, but the victim's friend who did nothing to stop it. That hook seems to be enough to win over the vast majority of critics, but I don’t know if it will be enough for audiences. It is a crowded week.

The Wall - Reviews
This is one of two films on this week’s list that were originally scheduled to open wide. It is a war movie about two American soldiers pinned down behind a small wall by an Iraqi sniper. The reviews are good enough that if it were opening wide, I would think it had a chance of finding an audience. However, it is opening in “select cities” and it is rare for films released this way to do well in theaters. Maybe it will find an audience on the home market.

The Wedding Plan - Reviews
Noa Koler plays a woman whose fiancé dumps her a month before their wedding. Instead of canceling the wedding, she decides to go ahead leaving it up to fate to find her a potential husband. The reviews are just over 80% positive, which is the level we like to see for limited releases. On the other hand, it is a foreign-language film, so its chances of expanding are not good.

Whisky Galore - Reviews
A movie about a shipwreck off the coast of Scotland. The cargo was literally tons of whiskey. It should be a fun comedy, but its reviews are merely mixed, so it likely won’t go anywhere in theaters. It’s worth a rental, when it comes out on the home market.

Filed under: Limited Releases, The Drowning, Absolutely Anything, Urban Hymn, Folk Hero & Funny Guy, Lowriders, Laavor et hakir, The Wall, Paris Can Wait, Whisky Galore, Manifesto, Stefan Zweig: Farewell to Europe, Tracktown, Hounds of Love, Dead Awake, Violet, Monty Python, Cate Blanchett, Alec Baldwin, Josh Charles, Shirley Henderson, Diane Lane, Simon Pegg, Letitia Wright, Avan Jojia, Alexi Pappas, Noa Koler, Josef Hader