Hot Sundance films are fizzy highs in the Wasatch mountains, but they often seem to become something flatter and less transporting when they arrive in urban, sea-level plexes. This is one of the oldest truisms around. I’ve been writing articles about this syndrome for a good 20 years.
Variety‘s Rebecca Rubin has checklisted the latest manifestations of this cultural disparity, but she can’t quite bring herself to blurt out the phrase “no-star wokester indie flicks don’t usually fly with Joe and Jane Popcorn.”
I’m not allowed to infer that “movies about brilliant chubby girls struggling with personal or professional issues” constitute a problematic sub-category, but one could at least argue as much.
It’s too early to say if Paul Downs Colaizzo‘s Brittany Runs a Marathon (Amazon, 8.23) will swim or sink. (An 84% Rotten Tomatoes audience score is a positive indicator.) But Geremy Jasper‘s Patti Cake$, Nisha Ginatra‘s Late Night and Olivia Wilde‘s Booksmart all qualify, and they all underperformed.
I was mostly taken by Gurinder Chadha‘s Blinded By The Light, but it didn’t connect all that broadly after opening on 8.16. No stars, British Pakistani culture, father-son conflict, etc. Warner Bros. acquired the Springtseen-themed musical in Park City for $15 million, but since opening in 2207 theatres it’s only made $8,103,492.
The one big narrative breakout hit is A24’s The Farewell (because it’s an excellent, well-acted film that delivers the emotional goods), and the only documentary hit so far is Apollo 11 with $9,039,891 thus far.
After five weeks in theatres HE’s own David Crosby: Remember My Name has only accumulated $459,880. Easily one of the best docs of the year and an emotional truth drug movie second to none. Why the lethargy?.
Rubin excerpt #1: “Netflix bought Extremely Wicked, Shockingly Evil and Vile, a drama from the perspective of Ted Bundy’s girlfriend, for a reported $8 million, but it’s not clear yet whether it will mount an awards push.” HE clarification: An awards push is unlikely.
Rubin excerpt #2: “Amazon’s The Report likely won’t be breaking any box-office records, since it will land on Prime Video two weeks after it it opens in theaters.” HE clarification: Not happening.