Thinking Outside the Multiplex – “Opening Elsewhere” Supplement

by MIKE MACCOLLUM

the_fantastic_mr_fox

So many movies (25!) opened nationally in limited release this weekend that it took an extra day – and a separate post – to do them justice.

OPENING ELSEWHERE – Of the twenty-plus movies below, only one (Fantastic Mr. Fox) is likely to open in many Indiana theaters – and only one other (The Messenger) sounds like it has a shot at an art house run in Indiana.

Badal Faqed (A Replacement)– Actor Ahmed Ezz plays two roles – a hardnosed cop and a junkie – in this thriller from Egypt, which started Friday on one screen in Michigan. I couldn’t find an official site for this film, but this site has a trailer and this site an article with more information.

Dare – Emmy Rossum plays a young “good girl” who is told she hasn’t really lived yet, and then sets out to pursue a “bad boy;” things get complicated when her best friend gets the same idea.  Zach Gilford, Ashley Springer, Ana Gasteyer, Sandra Bernhard and Alan Cumming co-star in this film, which starts Friday in two theaters, one in NYC and one in LA.

Easier With Practice – A young man begins a relationship with a woman over the telephone, and then decides that he wants to meet her in person.  Brian Geraghty and Marguerite Moreau star in this comedy, which starts Friday at one theater in LA.

The End of Poverty? – Martin Sheen narrates this documentary, which investigates the causes of global poverty – and why it is so hard to eradicate – by interviewing social activists, government leaders, professors, and Nobel-Prize-winning economists.  The End of Poverty starts Friday at the Village East Cinema in NYC.

Eva – This drama charts the on-again, off-again relationship between a mysterious older man and a young woman in Europe during the years leading up to World War II.  Amy Hayes, Michael Ironside and Patrick Bergin star in Eva, which starts Friday at one theater in LA.

Fantastic Mr. Fox – George Clooney, Meryl Streep, Bill Murray and Owen Wilson are among those who provided voices for director Wes Anderson’s stop-motion-animated adaptation of Roald Dahl’s book of the same name; it starts Friday in NYC and LA.  Given the names associated with this project, the odds are good that this movie – which seems to have been scheduled for a wide release on November 13 until fairly recently – will make it to at least some Indiana theaters eventually.

The Flying Scissors – This mockumentary about a group of people all striving to be rock, scissors, paper champions has had a number of screenings at colleges across the US, and opened on Thursday, November 12, at the Tribeca Cinemas in NYC for a three-day run.

Four Seasons Lodge – A group of aging Holocaust survivors gather each summer to celebrate their survival in this documentary, which also finds them coming to grip with the various difficulties associated with getting older.  Four Seasons Lodge started Wednesday, November 11, at one theater in NYC.

Genius Within: The Inner Life of Glenn Gould – This documentary explores the little-known private life of the late pianist through interviews with those who knew him well, and through Gould’s own diaries; it starts Friday in Los Angeles.

The Good Soldier – Lexy Lovell and Michael Uys (who also made the award-winning doc Riding the Rails) directed this documentary, which interviews five soldiers of varying ages (who fought in World War II, Vietnam, the Gulf War and the ongoing war in Iraq) about what it means to be “a good soldier.”  The Good Soldier started on Wednesday, November 11, at the Village East Cinema in NYC.

The Hand of Fatima – The daughter of the late music critic Robert Palmer travels to Jajouka, Morocco, to visit the legendary “Master Musicians” of that village, and to see why Jajouka was so important to her father.  This documentary starts Friday at the Anthology Film Archives in NYC.

Heer Ranjha: A True Love Story – This Indian film is the latest version (there have been about ten others, dating back to the late ‘20s) of a tragic love story that has been around for approximately 3000 years.  Harbhajan Mann and Neeru Bajwa star in Heer Ranjha, which starts Friday at one theater in New Jersey and one in New York.

Kurradu – This Telegu-language film from India is an action/romance movie about a carefree young man who manages to lose a good deal of the money saved up by his father; it started Friday at six theaters in the Phoenix Adlabs chain (and possibly elsewhere as well, but I have yet to find any confirmation of this).  I wasn’t able to find an official site for this film, but this Wikipedia page has more information.

London River – Brenda Blethyn and Sotigui Kouyate´ star in this drama from director Rachid Bouchareb (Days of Glory).  Blethyn plays a Christian woman from the Channel Islands, while Kouyate´ is a French Muslim man; both come to London after a terrorist attack to see if their respective children – both of whom have gone missing – are still alive.  London River starts Friday at one theater in LA.

Love Hurts – After his wife leaves him, middle-aged stick-in-the-mud Ben is deeply depressed, until his teenaged son gives him a makeover that makes Ben very popular with the ladies.  This movie – which sounds like it shares a few plot points with Play the Game – starts Friday at two theaters in LA.

The Messenger – Ben Foster, Woody Harrelson, Samantha Morton and Jena Malone star in this drama about an army officer who is assigned to the Casualty Notification Service after his tour of duty in Iraq.  After he informs one young woman of her husband’s death, he finds himself increasingly drawn to her – all while coping with his own memories of the war.  The Messenger starts Friday at four theaters – two in NYC and two in and Washington, DC.  For a while, it was on the Keystone Arts page as a November 13 opener, but now it isn’t mentioned there at all – and there is no Indiana booking on the film’s official site (as of now, at least) either.

Oh My God? – Director  Peter Rodger traveled to 23 countries to interview religious leaders, celebrities (such as Hugh Jackman, Bob Geldof, Ringo Starr and Seal) and men, women and children from all walks of life about what God means to them.  This documentary starts Friday at three theaters, one in NYC, and two in the greater LA area.

Punctured Hope – A drama based on the real-life story of a young woman who faced sexual abuse, genital mutilation and slavery, Punctured Hope was shot on location in West Africa with an all African cast; it starts Friday in LA.

Some Voices – Daniel Craig and Kelly MacDonald star in this British film – which was made in 2000 – about a schizophrenic man who gets a job at a café, and falls in love with a fellow employee who is mentally ill herself.  Some Voices starts Friday in Portland, OR. This is another movie apparently without an official site; this Wikipedia page has more information on it.

Ten9Eight: Shoot the Moon – Ten9Eight is a documentary about inner city teenagers from across the US competing in an annual contest to come up with a successful business plan.  It played at the Heartland Film Festival earlier this year, and starts Friday at fifteen theaters (in NYC, LA, Atlanta, Boston, Chicago, Miami, Kansas City, and Washington, DC).

Tum Mile – This Indian film involves two ex-lovers who meet each other again after a period of six years.  But this isn’t a standard-issue love story, since the story takes place during the real-life floods that struck Mumbai four years ago.  The film’s official site plays up the disaster-movie aspects (such as the special effects), so it probably isn’t very surprising that this is starting on the same day as 2012… although Tum Mile is getting a much more limited release (at 14 theaters across the US, most of them in the Phoenix Adlabs chain).

Un brillante proposito – This Mexican action/crime drama from director Rene Cardona III is about an honest cop of some sort (the synopsis on the web site is in Spanish, and my rusty skills in that language helped me about as much as the Babelfish translation) who apparently is forced to join forces with a criminal to get to the bottom of something or other.  This movie starts Friday at one theater each in New Jersey and California.

Uncertainty – Scott McGehee and David Siegel – who also co-directed Suture and The Deep End – made this movie with (appropriately enough) two alternate plot lines, exploring the two very different results (a tale of suspense and murder in Manhattan, or a story of family and heartbreak in Brooklyn) facing a NYC couple tossing a coin to decide how to spend their day.  Joseph Gordon-Levitt and Lynn Collins star in this film, which starts Friday in NYC.

William Kuntsler: Disturbing the Universe – Two daughters of the now-deceased radical lawyer co-directed this documentary about their father, who took on some very unpopular clients, not all of them with politically-charged cases for which Kuntsler is best remembered today.  This film starts Friday at two theaters, one in NYC and one in  Boston.

Women in Trouble – Carla Gugino, Connie Britton, Marley Shelton, Simon Baker, Elizabeth Berkley, Josh Brolin, Emmanuelle Chriqui, Josh Brolin, and Joseph Gordon-Levitt (him again) star in this comedy about one complicated day in the lives of ten women who seem to lead very different lives, although all of them face some sort of trouble.  Women in Trouble starts Friday at three theaters – two in NYC and one in Hollywood.

8 responses to “Thinking Outside the Multiplex – “Opening Elsewhere” Supplement

  1. I’d love to see “Oh My God,” too bad it’s not releasing anywhere here.

  2. Aaron-

    I just checked Variety’s chart of boxoffice results for this past weekend, and it looks like Oh My God had a paltry opening week per-screen average of around $2750- and that pretty much sinks any chance it might have had of expanding to any theaters beyond those that were already on its website this week. On the other hand, Uncertainty made over $13,000 on one screen in its opening week, while The End of Poverty made about $12,500 on one screen and Four Seasons Lodge made nearly $11,700 on its only screen in its first week- so these movies have at least a shot at wider expansion.

    The Messenger made an average of a little over $11,000 per screen at four theaters, however, so maybe its chances of expansion aren’t as great as I thought they would be. And while Boondock Saints II had a very good per-screen average (over $8000 per theater from 68 locations) when it opened two weeks ago, this weekend’s expansion might have tanked, since it looks like the distributor didn’t bother to report the grosses to Variety….

  3. Update-

    The official site for Fantastic Mr. Fox now says it will be “everywhere” on Thanksgiving. For whatever its worth, the Keystone Arts’ site says that the film will start at that theater on 11/25; as of now, I don’t know how many other theaters in the area (if any) will be showing the movie then.

  4. Hey Mike, while we’re on the subject, is there any chance Flame and Citron will play in the area?

  5. I wish Flame and Citron would play the Keystone Arts, but it looks unlikely. There is no Indiana date mentioned on the release schedule at the film’s site; indeed, a run at a theater in Georgia starting this past Friday is the last theatrical booking of any kind I noticed there. I am guessing that the movie just didn’t make enough money in the US to hit Indy.

    Still, if you and as many others as possible were to request the film to the folks at the Keystone Arts, they might be able to squeeze it in, somehow or other, some day. (I am fairly certain that I requested the movie several months ago, but will do so again the next time I’m at the theater, which could be within the next week.) As I understand it, the Keystone Arts usually has more potential bookings than it does screens- but there could be a week in the near future when they are facing a shortfall of potential movies, and F & C could fill the gap, if enough people request it.

    Aaron- you could try suggesting Oh My God to the Landmark, or any other theater. Given the opening weekend the movie had, they most likely won’t play it- but it never hurts to get a request out there.

  6. I never knew you could actually request films. Interesting. Thanks for the heads up, Mike.

  7. Yeah, you can request- and sometimes it can make a difference, sometimes (more frequently, I suspect) it doesn’t. Unlike the late, lamented Key Cinemas- which either had an independent booker, and/or booked its own films- the Keystone Arts has someone in the Landmark hierarchy (out of state, I believe) who does their booking. If enough people request a movie, those requests could make the difference in a borderline situation.

    So I would recommend making a request to a staff member the next time you are at the theater. Put the title or titles you want in writing, so it/they can be passed along up the chain. And yeah, it probably won’t change anything- but again, it can’t hurt. (Plus, if enough people are requesting enough art movies, it just might persuade the only art house in Indianapolis to play more art movies, and less mainstream stuff. And that would not be a bad thing at all.)

  8. I just re-checked Variety’s boxoffice chart for this week, and Boondock Saints II is now on there- as are several other movies that weren’t there yesterday. FWIW, the per-theater-average this week was over $4,000. (That probably includes a few screens it is still on from when it opened a few weeks ago, and where the numbers will be lower than they are at the new theaters this week.) I have no idea if this will make enough money to get an even wider release, but I hope so.

    (Also, I’m holding out hope that Black Dynamite, another film from the same distributor- Apparition- will make it to Indy as well…. but I think the odds are much better for BSII. The only film from Apparition to make it to Indy so far is Bright Star, which leaves the Keystone Arts Thursday night.)

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