City Desk

From Arts Desk: Opening Now in Washington? Yeah, Right.

My colleague Jonathan L. Fischer talks with the Post's Ned Martel, who says D.C. should be on par with New York and LA when it comes to getting first-run indie films:

So are Martel and his sources right? I called Peter Knegt, a box-office analyst and associate editor at Indiewire, who says that generally speaking, D.C., Chicago, Boston, and Austin have the highest indie-flick box office following the Big Two. He's sympathetic to the local cinema owners quoted in Martel's piece, who complained about losing out on press buzz and national campaigns. He points out that some limited release films, like TheDescendants recently, do open in cities besides New York and L.A. But Knegt mentions a few reasons why most indie movie distributors aren't about to ditch their tiered release system.

Opening only in New York and L.A. is a way for distributors (particularly smaller ones) to limit their risk, especially if they're worried a film might not have legs. "It’s risky to put a film in 10 or 20 theaters in its first weekend," Knegt says. "If it sort of tanks, you’re screwed." Good box office in New York and L.A. can help prove a film is viable. "Some people might want to see Shame right now, but there are people at bigger theaters who want to see" how the film sells out of the gate, Knegt says.

Jon has lots more over at Arts Desk. Read the rest.

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