The theatrical release calendar has drastically evolved over the last few years. Where December used to be a dropping ground for big winter films, it now seems that big releases avoid it in an attempt to steer clear of the latest ‘Star Wars’. Last week didn’t bring a single new wide release and the only movie opening wide this weekend is one that I literally had no clue existed until today.
Based on its lack of success to date, I don’t know how Broad Green Picture is still a distributor. The tiny company is the only one brave enough to open obvious counter-programming in advance of next weekend’s ‘Star Wars’. Today, the studio puts one onto 2,146 screens, which is high for a movie with minimal marketing and limited regional press screenings.
In the same year that Zach Braff’s geriatric caper comedy ‘Going in Style’ made $85 million worldwide, the director of ‘Hollywood Homicide’ attempts to do the same with the very similar ‘Just Getting Started‘. Tommy Lee Jones and Morgan Freeman play rivals who have to work together to stay alive. Jones is a retired FBI agent and Freeman is an ex-Mob lawyer who has been in Witness Protection since getting out of the business. When the Mob locates him, the pair are forced to buddy-up. Rene Russo and Joe Pantoliano co-star. With a sizzling synopsis like this, get your tickets now, folks! Matinees pre-sales are on fire.
This weekend also brings the limited release of one spectacular film that I can’t wait for everyone to see. In the hilarious dark comedy ‘I, Tonya‘, a barely recognizable Margot Robbie stars as Tonya Harding, the Olympic figure skater who may or may not have been responsible for the assault on rival Nancy Kerrigan. The witty screenplay gives insight to Hardy’s upbringing and what led to her final professional skating competition. The film itself is just as masterfully crafted as it is entertaining and engaging. Robbie gives an award-worthy performance, as does supporting actress Allison Janney. Sebastian Stan also does an excellent job. For me, this is the dark horse that’s likely to land in my Top 5 of 2017.
After an excellent weekend in limited release, A24 is pushing out ‘The Disaster Artist‘ to 840 screens. Fox Searchlight will also expand ‘The Shape of Water‘ to an unspecified number of screens ahead of its wide debut, which is expected for Dec. 22nd.