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Limited and VOD Releases: Feeling Maudlin

June 16th, 2017


It is not a particularly good week when it comes to limited releases and almost none of the films on this week’s list have a shot at box office success. The Book of Henry is the widest release by far, but its reviews will likely result in a really poor theater average. On the other hand, Maudie might be able to earn some measure of mainstream success. Its reviews are certainly a positive sign.

The Book of Henry - Reviews
This is by far the biggest release on this week’s list, both in terms of theater count and pre-release buzz. It is about a young boy who has a crush on his neighbor. When he learns she’s being abused, he devises a plan to rescue her. Unfortunately, while the buzz is louder than most limited releases can hope for, the reviews are terrible. There’s almost no chance it will survive in limited release. In fact, since it is opening in nearly 600 theaters, it might not even open above the Mendoza Line.

Harmonium - Reviews
A Japanese family lives a normal life, until a man just out of prison comes to work in the father’s workshop. The film is earning unanimously positive reviews and could do well in the art house circuit, but it is a foreign-language film, so it likely won’t expand significantly.

The Hippopotamus - Reviews
A disgraced poet tries to investigate the reports of miracle healings performed by a young boy. It is based on a book by Stephen Fry, which caught my attention, but something went wrong, as the reviews are mixed. Perhaps the novel is difficult to adapt, as many critics complain that the film is overly reliant on a voice-over.

The Journey - Reviews
A political drama about the peace process in Ireland where two politicians on opposite sides have to travel together. Timothy Spall and Colm Meaney give great performances, which help elevate the script. However, the reviews are merely good, which is usually not good enough for limited release. Also, I don’t think audiences are in the mood for political drama at the moment.

Kill Switch - Reviews
Video on Demand
A scientific experiment goes awry and links our world to a parallel Earth. Now one man must travel to the other world to separate the two, or both will be destroyed. The reviews are awful and it is playing on VOD, so it will go nowhere at the box office.

Lost in Paris - Reviews
A woman travels from Canada to Paris when she receives a letter from her aunt, who has gone missing. There she meets a homeless man and she tries to track down her missing relative. The reviews are great, but it is a foreign-language film, so it will likely be limited to the art house circuit.

Maudie - Reviews
This is a Canadian movie about artist Maud Lewis, played by Sally Hawkins. The reviews are excellent, close to award-worthy, while it did really well during its release in Canada, considering the small size of the market. The subject of the film won’t have the same connection south of the border, but hopefully it will still find an audience.

Once Upon a Time in Venice - Reviews
Video On Demand
This film has a great cast, but the reviews are painful. Furthermore, it is playing on VOD and so it has almost no chance at box office success.

Score: A Film Music Documentary - Reviews
A documentary about movie scores that features interviews with dozens of composers, directors, movie executives, etc. The reviews are over 90% positive and this film seems tailor made for the art house circuit. On the other hand, documentaries rarely have breakout success.

Secondary VOD Releases:
Pray for Rain - Reviews - Video on Demand
Only one secondary VOD release this week. It is propaganda that tries to blame the California drought on environmentalists and not Global Warming / poor water management. Needless to say, the few reviews on Rotten Tomatoes are negative.

Filed under: Limited Releases, Maudie, The Book of Henry, The Journey, The Hippopotamus, Fuchi ni tatsu, Paris pieds nus, Kill Switch, Pray for Rain, Once Upon a Time in Venice, Score: A Film Music Documentary, Stephen Fry, Sally Hawkins, Colm Meaney, Timothy Spall, Dominique Abel, Fiona Gordon, Emmanuelle Riva, Jaeden Lieberher, Maddie Ziegler