Word of Mouth: 21 new movies open in Los Angeles [video]
Twenty-one choices might make for a mouth-watering selection at a breakfast buffet, but when so many movies open in one city, there's bound to be box-office indigestion. While the big studios are putting more and more money into fewer and fewer movies, independent filmmakers are flooding the mulitplex with a growing stream of new works. That increase this weekend has yielded a staggering number of new productions hitting Los Angeles theaters Friday — 21 movies.
Three works will debut in wide release: 20th Century Fox's reworking of "The Three Stooges," FilmDistrict's outer-space thriller "Lockout" and Lionsgate's horror film "The Cabin in the Woods."
All of them must fend off "The Hunger Games," which shows few sings of slowing after its March 23 opening. The competition will be a bit tougher for the 18 independent movies, many of which are either being distributed by their makers or have only minimal support from their upstart distributors.
The three big movies are being supported by multi-million marketing efforts that include national television spots, countless billboards and any number of promotional partners. The smaller movies, which obviously have less resources, have to be far more creative in their sales campaigns.
Some of the movies are pursuing distinct slices of moviegoers. The new dramas "Woman Thou Art Loosed: On the 7th Day" and "Life, Love, Soul" are selling themselves to African American audiences. "Detention" is going after fans of comedy horror movies, while "Blue Like Jazz" hopes to capture younger religious ticket buyers.
With so many movies competing for a limited number of people, it's certain that some of the 18 independent films will fail to generate business.
But the possibility of some box-office returns coupled with the hopes of attracting enthusiastic reviews that might help sell DVDs down the line is too tempting for the filmmakers behind the 18 works to resist. John Horn looks at the crowded weekend in this week's Word of Mouth column and offers this video recap:
Photo: Shanley Caswell in "Detention." Credit: Samuel Goldwyn Films.