Before we delve into this week's releases, I want to take a second to give "Precious" a shout. Opening on just 18 screens, the Sundance favorite and Oscar buzzer still managed to take in just shy of $2 million. It's not a movie I intend to see again anytime soon, but it's a compelling work of fiction. And even if it wasn't, I'm a person who is impressed by cold, hard facts. And the big fact here is that "Precious" enjoyed a monster opening weekend as a limited release.
Moving on, this week's star is director Roland Emmerich's apocalyptic disaster flick, "2012." John Cusack and his pals fly around the world, bearing witness to scenes of mass destruction as humanity crumbles all around. Sounds super-uplifting, doesn't it? I'm guessing that this will be the big weekend winner; it's definitely on my "must see" list.
Opening alongside "2012," though in a not-quite-as-wide release, is "Pirate Radio," a UK import from director Richard Curtis starring Phillip Seymour Hoffman. The story is set in 1966, following the crew of a radio station which broadcasts from a pirate ship. It hit UK theaters in April, and is now finally sailing into U.S. shores.
The biggest ticket on the limited release circuit is getting a relatively tiny opening. Fantastic Mr. Fox," arrives on just four screens. A wider release will follow soon enough, but lucky viewers in New York and Los Angeles get their taste a bit early, as per usual.
Also getting it's first, tiny opening this weekend is another Sundance darling, Oren Moverman's "The Messenger." Defiantly NOT a war movie, "The Messenger" follows a pair of modern war veterans (Woody Harrelson and Ben Foster) who are tasked with delivering death notices to widows on the homefront.
There are a variety of other limited release newcomers this week, including "Dare," "Ten9eight," "Uncertainty," "Oh My God" and "Women in Trouble." There's also "William Kunstler: Disturbing the Universe," a fascinating Sundance doc about the lawyer who represented both the Chicago Seven and LIRR shooting perpetrator Colin Ferguson, among many others. Produced by his daughters, it's a surprisingly even-handed look at a man who fought for the perceived forces of good and evil alike during his lengthy career.