“Little Children” withdrawal

New Line Cinema appears to have pulled back fairly radically on its Little Children bookings. The Oregonian‘s Shawn Levy is reporting that Todd Field‘s Cheever-esque drama is “getting a very scattershot release from its distributor and, frankly, may be in trouble. It was meant to open in Portland on 11.3, but that date has been pulled and no new date has yet been announced.”

We all know Children hasn’t done much business, or been given much of a chance to, I should say. Since opening on 10.6.06 it’s only been booked into 32 theatres, and has taken in a total of $801,000, according to www.boxofficemojo.com. I understand that a film of this stripe might not play in the boonies, but it’s been fairly well reviewed (it has an 88% positive on Rotten Tomatoes) and is widely respected, and you’d think, given this, New Line would at least give it a limited art-house opening for Chrissake in a major city like Portland, if for nothing else than to prime the market for the DVD release in early ’07.
I called four New Line people in a position to know something and they were all in meetings.

  • “all in meetings” = “don’t want to have to admit the truth”
    A damn shame. The flaws in this movie (the biggest: that damned voice-over) are not insignificant, but the acting is superb across the board, the art direction/cinematography is first-rate, and even with its flaws it’s one of Perotta’s best-ever books mostly well adapted.

  • Rob

    This is, to me, easily the best film of the year so far. Can New Line not handle a small piece like this anymore?

  • NYCritic

    I know I’m in the minority but I disliked this film a great deal and am glad that the audiences aren’t falling for it.

  • Krazy Eyes

    How come none of the marketing materials for this film make any mention of “Election?”

  • actionman

    This flick was a sly masterpiece and it fuckin’ disgusts me that New Line doesn’t have the balls to give it a proper release. They did the EXACT same thing with The New World, Birth, Running Scared, and I’m sure countless other movies that were more challenging than most. The way New Line handled the release of The New World was fuckin’ emabarrassing and everyone should have lost their job over that effort. One of the best movies EVER made treated like a second rate hack-job. Terrence Malick should have gone ape shit.

  • g. peterson

    Here I thought Portland was just part of a traditional, old skool, staggered tier release and New Line is dumping this film.
    As a fan of Perrotta’s novel first and then eagerly awaiting this film, I’m a bit miffed.
    Once again it seems like those monkeys at New Line have dropped the ball.
    Additionally, you think they might play up the local boy aspect of Todd Field growing up in Portland.

  • berg

    best directed film so far this year …

  • Dixon Steele

    An associate I deal with at New Line confirms that NL isn’t really in this business anymore. In other words for NL, it’s a wide release or nothing. Look at all their other pictures over the past few years.
    They should’ve had their sister co. Picturehouse handle it…

  • lawnorder

    Agreed about New Line’s shitty handling of New World, Running Scared and Birth — all excellent and worthy films that got fucked by Russell Schwartz and New Line’s marketing/distribution department.. and now apparently Little Children which deserves better. I hear filmmakers tell me all the time that New Line is becoming the new Miramax in terms of filmmaker fuck-overs. They should clean house over there and start with Schwartz. Bob Shaye should find his balls and stop listening to Schwartz’s whining; the guy never met an edgy film that he could get behind or even comprehend. He even messed hardcore with the Wedding Crashers’ director, who pushed back and one upped him.

  • michguy

    I feel fortunate to live within two miles of one of the “lucky 32” screens. It was showing here in Birmingham, MI at an art theatre, but got wedged into one of the smaller auditoriums. The theater was fairly full, especially for a Saturday afternoon matinee. I’d imagine that they were selling it out at night, unless they moved it to a larger auditorium.
    Seems like New Line can only open LOTR movies. And that’s a shame, ’cause I thought the movie was great… *including* the all-knowing voiceover (wouldn’t like it in other situations, but I thought it worked very well here). Hope they can get enough traction so this movie will be noticed at award time.

  • Dixon Steele

    Lawnorder, to be fair about it, the three pics you mention were tough to handle.
    Running Scared was a pickup that got awful reviews but still went semi-wide. It was a love it or hate it pic that has done very well on DVD (the real reason they picked it up). I know the director was pissed at NL, but you can’t make an audience show up if they don’t want to.
    New World and BIRTH may have been interesting, but they got very mixed reviews (especially Birth), deadly for an adult oriented movie, even with Nicole K. (is FUR going to be a hit? Nah.).
    But it’s hard to tell with New Line. THE MAN flopped big time, SNAKES a big disappointment, yet they then sign Samuel J. to a production deal. Huh?

  • breadlymoore

    RUNNING SCARED was challening?
    The word I would choose is “awful.”

  • Sandra Gale

    I live in the Seattle area where we have tons of indie theaters. Little Children hasn’t played here and there’s no sign that it’s coming. I’ve been waiting to see it, as have other people I know.
    Are they showing it at a few theaters for Oscar consideration and doing a wider release later on?

  • The Movie Man

    I really liked Running Scared, it was well directed, entertaining utter trash, and that’s a combination we don’t get much anymore. Though I didn’t care for the cop out, half assed ending that renders the entire enterprise pointless.

  • actionman

    Running Scared was challenging, both stylistically and narratively.