Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Another weekend, another dozen-plus Specialty films entering the crowded theatrical market. The end of summer opened the floodgates of limited release titles and momentum has continued into fall. A number, of course, are four walling in support of their VOD/digital release and often disappear after a couple of weeks. Most execs have expressed concern for the saturation, but maintain that their releases are unique and have a shot at standing out in a crowded market. Noted one indie veteran this week, “It is both not sustainable and not going to change. There is an embarrassment of riches in the theatrical marketplace this season so you better have the goods if you want to compete.” This week’s Preview includes nine of the newcomers hitting theaters this weekend. Notably, two of the week’s biggest roll outs are targeted toward niche (albeit large niches) markets. Bollywood will have a big North American roll out with Besharam from Reliance, while faith-centered audiences will welcome Grace Unplugged via Roadside and Lionsgate. Among the others bowing in limited release are Phase 4’s Slamdance winner The Dirties, Magnolia’s Bad Milo!, Ketchup’s doc Linsanity, Film Arcade’s A.C.O.D., Sundance titles I Used To Be Darker from Strand and Sundance Selects’ doc The Summit. And Paladin will open Five Dances in limited release.
2013 Slamdance Grand Jury Prize winner The Dirties. The drama revolves around two best friends who film a comedy about getting revenge on bullies at their high school, but one of the would-be filmmakers takes matters beyond a big screen fantasy. “Elyse Seiden from the Kevin Smith Movie Club saw the film at the 2013 Slamdance Film Festival and brought it to us and Kevin,” said Phase 4 CEO Berry Meyerowitz. “Kevin was over the top about the film so he pursued it for our label together. The club is a great jumping off point for independent filmmakers, and The Dirties is the type of movie that has just the right amount of edge to mobilize and create conversation among the Kevin Smith fan base.” Phase 4 is hoping to broaden the film’s audience beyond the KS Club’s core 18-34 male group via the topic of bullying. “Our intent with the audience is to create conversation around bullying while also positioning this film against others of its kind,” said Meyerowitz. “The Dirties is unique in how it takes a neutral stance while creating understanding of the plight of the victims and the (potential) consequences of bullying.” (more…)