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Limited and VOD Releases: Who Will be the Limited Releases’ Saving Grace

April 13th, 2018

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami

There are not many limited releases that have a shot at box office success on this week’s list. The biggest ones are either opening too wide, like Beirut, or are already playing on VOD, like Borg vs. McEnroe, Wildling, and others. This leaves Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami as the film I think has the best shot at earning some measure of mainstream success.

Aardvark - Reviews
A sibling rivalry causes enough mental stress for Josh Norman that he begins to hallucinate and has to go to a therapist. The film has a good cast with some serious star power, but the reviews are awful and it will likely go nowhere at the box office.

Beirut - Reviews
This film is earning reviews that are right on the edge between good and good enough for limited release. It is also playing in over 700 theaters and earned $370,000 during its Wednesday debut. All of this suggests a weak start and a short stay in theaters.

Borg vs. McEnroe - Reviews
Video on Demand
This is the biggest limited release of the week, at least in terms of buzz. Sverrir Gudnason plays Bjorn Borg, while Shia LaBeouf plays his tennis rival, John McEnroe. At one point, it was expected to open semi-wide, now it is coming out on VOD. Either this is terrible news for the film, or another sign that VOD has overtaken limited release in terms of box office potential.

Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami - Reviews
A documentary about Grace Jones, an entertainer who has been a model, singer, and actor. The documentary has much louder buzz than most documentaries get, while its reviews are over 90% positive. Perhaps this film can escape the art house circuit and find some mainstream success.

Hitler’s Hollywood - Reviews
A documentary about how entertainment helped shape Germany during the Nazi regime. The reviews are great, but documentaries rarely do well in theaters. If it is not a nature documentary or a biography of a celebrity, then its chances of earning a measure of mainstream success are even more limited.

The Judge - Reviews
A documentary about Judge Kholoud Al-Faqih, the first woman appointed to be a Sharia judge in the Middle East. There are not a lot of reviews, but so far all of them are positive, which is a good sign. Perhaps it will do well at the box office, for a documentary.

Krystal - Reviews
This film has over ten reviews, but still doesn’t have a single positive review. Moving on.

Marrowbone - Reviews
Video on Demand
A horror movie with mixed reviews that is also playing on VOD. That’s three strikes for this film’s box office chances.

A Prayer Before Dawn - Reviews
A real life story about an English boxer sent to a Thai jail and who competes in Muay Thai tournaments while in prison. There are only nine reviews on Rotten Tomatoes, which suggests a lack of buzz, but all nine reviews are positive.

Quai des Orfevres - Reviews
A 1940s French drama about a murdered showbiz producer and all of the suspects trying to avoid becoming the prime suspect. The film’s reviews are 100% positive, so even if you can’t see it in theaters, you can at the very least rent it on VOD.

The Rider - Reviews
Brady Jandreau is a real life rodeo star who is forced into retirement due to an injury. This film earned amazing reviews and a quartet of Independent Spirit Awards Nominations. Hopefully this will help it do well in limited release; however, it feels too small to expand wide enough for mainstream success.

Submergence - Reviews
Video on Demand
A research scientist and a secret agent fall in love, but their jobs mean they will be separated. This film has a great cast, but the reviews are terrible. Maybe the cast will get people to rent it on VOD, but it likely won’t go anywhere in theaters.

Wildling - Reviews
Video on Demand
Bel Powley plays a teenage girl who is rescued from her kidnapper. While she was kidnapped, he injected her with drugs that prevented puberty, but now that she’s not getting them, her body begins to change. These changes are not your average puberty, but something more supernatural. This film’s reviews are good, but it will likely still have to wait till the home market to find an audience, as horror films almost never do well in limited release.

Zama - Reviews
The film takes place in the 18th century and is about a government official in the Spanish Empire waiting for a promotion out of the small town he’s currently assigned to. The reviews are nearly 90% positive, so it could find an audience in theaters. On the other hand, it is a foreign-language film, so its chances of finding mainstream success are very limited.

Secondary VOD Releases:
There were no secondary VOD releases this week, but there are several larger films debuting on VOD this week.

Filed under: Limited Releases, Quai des Orfevres, Krystal, Beirut, Aardvark, Zama, The Rider, Une prière avant l'aube, Submergence, Borg vs McEnroe, El Secreto de Marrowbone, Grace Jones: Bloodlight and Bami, Wildling, The Judge, Hitler’s Hollywood, Grace Jones, Shia LaBeouf, Zachary Quinto, Jenny Slate, Bel Powley, Brady Jandreau, Sverrir Gudnason