New Yorkers just got an extra Christmas present this year from the IFC Center: Gregg Araki's stoner comedy Smiley Face will actually get a one-week run at the arthouse theater beginning December 26. This is exciting news considering it was previously believed (with good reason) that we'd only get to watch the movie on DVD. Back in September, it was announced the movie would only get a quick theatrical shot in L.A. and then go straight to video, crushing hopes for many who would like to smoke up and attend a midnight show. This was disappointing news considering how many festival-goers enjoyed the thing (see Jette and Monika's reviews for two such favorable receptions) and how popular Araki's previous film, Mysterious Skin, was (with critics, at least, if not box office). Even career-wise, Araki has been as big a cult favorite as some other filmmakers who receive better distribution. But I guess in an era when well-known indie directors are left only with iTunes exclusives without any theatrical run, and other midnight movie comedies destined to become cult favorites are dumped in the back alley by their studios, it isn't that surprising what happened to Smiley Face.

The Reeler's Stu Van Airsdale points out the short NYC run may have been arranged in order to garner " a fistful of blurb-ready reviews" that will help in the marketing of the DVD. Of course, the film's distributor could have easily gotten some DVD-cover-friendly quotes from festival reviews if that was truly all it was after. And then it also could have dumped the movie into one of Manhattan's less-prestigious arthouse theaters. Not that I disagree that the run will benefit the DVD release (set for January), but there's also good reason to think the people at IFC enjoy the movie and are simply interested in screening it at their theater. Smiley Face had a decent box office take from its one screen in L.A., and its presumed it will do just as well if not better in New York. After all, we don't have to worry about leaving the theater too stoned to drive.