Even with a big star like Angelina Jolie, A Mighty Heart is not performing too well at the box office (less than $8 million in two weeks). For most releases, such disappointment would signal the end of a theatrical run. However, instead of pulling the film completely and hoping for better business on video, Paramount Vantage is attempting to jumpstart its battery. This weekend the studio is removing A Mighty Heart from many of its screens, dropping its theater count from 1,350 down to 651. Basically the film has been taken out of markets it isn't doing so well in; now maybe the buzz will grow in stronger areas and later the film can go back to a wider release. Even in the limited release, though, the film is bound to face strong competition from other well-received indies like Sicko, Once and La Vie en rose. Still, Paramount Vantage is going to really push this one in hopes that it will eventually find its audience. Paramount is also pushing for a heavy awards campaign for A Mighty Heart, and so it probably wants the slow buildup and long run kind of success that Crash achieved two years ago. The studio is still planning for the film's DVD to come out in time for Oscar voters.
I still haven't seen A Mighty Heart, but I had planned on going last night. Unfortunately, my local theater didn't have a showtime between 5:15pm and 10:30pm because it shares a screen with La Vie en rose (it seems Transformers is hogging most of the screens, even in NYC). So, instead I finally saw Knocked Up. Because I'm such a tardy moviegoer, I have to appreciate strategies where a movie is allowed long-term play. I still need to see Sicko and La Vie en rose and Once and many others that will hopefully be around for awhile. If only more distributors could recognize people like me who don't contribute to opening weekend grosses and would let other well reviewed movies stick around a little longer.