"Genuinely Hilarious!" (/Film)Fall in love with rom-coms all over again. 👬 #BrosMovie The first romantic comedy from a major studio about two gay men, a smart, swoony and heartfelt comedy about finding sex, love and romance amidst the madness.📽️: youtube.com/watch?v=NEt7fC7Ip3U🎟️: laemmle.com/film/bros ... See MoreSee Less
ONE NIGHT ONLY! 9/27 at 7:30pm! #anvil! THE STORY OF ANVIL documents the heavy metal legends, Anvil! Lauded at #Sundance and #SXSW, and an Indie Spirit Award winning true story.🎟️: laemmle.com/film/anvil-story-anvil ... See MoreSee Less
After an amazing start to the summer box office season, things are going out with more of a whimper than a bang. And I’m OK with that. Ticket sales are only going to be as strong as the films that are in release at any given time. And to borrow the joke from the Catskills, the food isn’t so good …and such small portions. But that joke is only half right. Right now, there is a shortage of new films entering the marketplace. It’s largely another example of the supply chain being interrupted because of how the pandemic impacted the production schedule. Also, some of the films hitting the marketplace aren’t the most “commercial” titles. There are, however, some very worthy films that are currently in theatres. And I want to focus in on these films because they demonstrate one of the silver linings in the current marketplace, and that’s the power of WORD-OF-MOUTH.
Word-of-mouth publicity is the thing that gets people to see a film that they might not otherwise see. Maybe the reviews aren’t through the roof. Or maybe the marketing didn’t make it seem like it was a film that they would enjoy. Or maybe there wasn’t enough advertising support to bring a film to your attention. Whatever the case, we are talking about a film that you were initially not going to see. And then you hear something about the film. Someone tells you how much they enjoyed it. Or perhaps you start seeing posts about the film on your social media feed. Or maybe you talk to an employee at your local theatre and they tell you how much people are enjoying the film. However it gets started, enthusiasm and awareness begins to build. And in an environment (like now) where we theatre operators are searching for films that can draw ticket buyers, the ground is more fertile to allow a word-of-mouth success to grow.
This phenomenon is not limited to arthouse films. This summer alone, we have three legit word-of-mouth winners. Number one in the bunch is TOP GUN: MAVERICK, which has been playing in theatres since Memorial Day weekend. Everyone knew about the film. Everyone knew it would be a hit. But in this day and age, it is amazing for a film to still be in theatres over Labor Day weekend after opening in May. Baz Luhrmann’s ELVIS has also outperformed based on the initial opening numbers. The film started off well enough, with about $30M over the opening weekend. Based on that opening, pundits figured the film would top out well under $100M in total. And yet, the film, now just shy of $150M, showing that word-of-mouth around Luhrmann’s fine direction and Austin Butler’s star-making performance overcame the early focus on Tom Hanks’ less-than-successful supporting turn. Not to be left out is the adaptation of WHERE THE CRAWDAD’S SING, which also looks like it will end up grossing five times its opening weekend, well in excess of the usual multiple.
But this is Laemmle Theatres, and what we care about are the arthouse word-of-mouth successes. And we have several to mention. The most commercial of the bunch is MRS. HARRIS GOES TO PARIS, starring Lesley Manville in a fairy tale story. I’m not saying the film deserves to be part of the Oscar discussion, but it is an utterly charming film. And if you don’t want to take my word for that, consider that this semi-wide release is going to gross five to six times its opening weekend business. So clearly, I’m not the only one who had something nice to say about the film after seeing it.
We also have a couple of long-running documentaries that have been hanging around in theatres for a while. FIRE OF LOVE is perhaps the higher profile film, given its acquisition at the Sundance Film Festival, which set the film up with some early Oscar buzz. But there is another doc which opened even before FIRE OF LOVE, and is now heading into its third month of release. That’s HALLELUJAH: LEONARD COHEN, A JOURNEY, A SONG. I’ll admit to being a huge fan of Leonard Cohen’s music. But this story about his most famous (and most covered) song is something more. It’s a film about the search for meaning in our lives, and how this song seems to capture that searching by Mr. Cohen, by the artists who recorded this song, and by extension, by all of us. HALLELUJAH is just playing one show a day at the Monicas this week, but it is absolutely worth seeking out. And, again, if you don’t want to take my word for that, consider the “votes” of random ticket buyers who keep coming out to see the film, now in its ninth week of consecutive release in L.A.!
Last, but definitely not least, is the word-of-mouth surprise hit of the first half of 2022. This is a film that wasn’t even reviewed by the L.A. Times when it first came out (no surprise there), but ended up at the top of Justin Chang’s list of the best films of the first half of the year. And it absolutely deserved to be there. RRR is a Telegu-language film that has taken the entire film world by storm. It started out playing in theatres that cater to the Southeast Asian expatriate audience. But from there, word spread about the amazing special effects, the incredible stunt work, and the overall fun of the experience of seeing the film. That led to the film coming back into theatres on June 1 for a one-night event cinema #EncoRRRe screening. But that didn’t sate audience demand, so we extended our run for several weeks. And now, with students back from summer break, we want to give you one more chance to see this film in theatres. Yes, it is a bit of a commitment to see a three-hour film. But that’s only 20 minutes longer than ELVIS (which we already established as “worth it”), and I can assure that you’ll love every one of those extra minutes. Maybe you heard about this film, and you started watching a bit on some random streaming service. Sorry, but that’s just not the way to see RRR. This film demands to be seen with an audience so you can share in all the oohing, awwing, and laughter. Who knows, you may even need to get up and dance along during the big dance number.
Yes, we are at the end of a long summer of movies. And there are plenty of stories about the box office being down, and the impact that this may have on certain exhibition companies. But don’t believe that there isn’t anything worth seeing at the movies. If you haven’t already seen these pictures, find a theatre that is playing MRS. HARRIS, FIRE OF LOVE, HALLELUJAH or RRR, and make plans to see them. And don’t just take my word for it. Trust the ticket buyers like you that have made them in word-of-mouth winners.