Surefire Ways to Get a Limited Release

November 1, 2007 at 11:18 am Leave a comment

Surefire Ways to Get a Limited ReleaseSo you’ve made yourself a fine little film. Maybe you made it on a small budget, or maybe just small in Hollywood terms – something like $15-20 million, the money you would find under the cushions of Michael Bay’s couch. Either way, without a major financial investment from the studio, some bean counter has weighed out the cost verses both the best and worst case scenarios at the box office. And now they’re talking about either making it direct to DVD or perhaps giving you a limited release. How did this happen?When you were shooting this movie you dreamed of the day it would debut on over 2,000 screens. You smiled thinking of the film playing down the street from your mom’s house, across from your old high school, and at the Cineplex in the mall where the girl who wouldn’t give you the time of day from homeroom now manages the Lane Bryant. Now it looks like at best you’ll have an art house run in New York City, Los Angeles and maybe, just maybe, if you’re a good little boy, they’ll play it in Chicago so Roger Ebert can watch it. Maybe.

What went wrong? Well my friend, here are three signs your movie is going into limited release.

1.) No explosions
Did you remember to blow something up? And I mean blow something up real good? No? Then there’s a good chance you’re getting limited release. If there weren’t explosions did you put ghosts? Pirates? Pirate ghosts? Hot car chases? Robots? Aliens? Alien robots that transform into hot cars and chase each other? No? Oh dude, no wonder. You’ve taken your first step towards limited release.

2) Maggie Gyllenhaal
Did you cast Maggie Gyllenhaal? Did you cast Maggie Gyllenhaal? Come on, fess up. You did? Okay, strike number two. Maggie Gyllenhaal is the queen of limited release. I swear there’s a limited release shrine to her somewhere in New York complete with a statue that tourists walk by and wonder aloud who the hell Maggie Gi-len-Hale is. New Yorkers love her, but to everyone else she’s the sister to that guy that looks like Spider-Man. But what if you didn’t cast Maggs? Did you cast Parker Posey? Zooey Deschanel? Or any iteration thereof? If Reese and Angelina passed and you turned to one of these girls to carry your film, prepare for the art house run, my friend.

3.) Your movie is really, really good
The third and final nail in the coffin is that your film is really a damn good movie. And the studio thinks it is too good. They’re afraid audiences won’t get it, that it will fly over their heads. If the words “deep,” “meaningful,” “profound” or “life affirming” get used anywhere near your film, you are toast. Critics will laud and praise your movie. But your mom’s friends will have never heard of it. It won’t play across from your old high school. And that manager of the Lane Bryant will pay her $8 to see The Heartbreak Kid. Again.

Really? One explosion would have killed you?



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