People, this weekend you have a choice.
Anticipation has been running high, so I already know that many of you are going to run out and see The Avengers when it opens tomorrow. But if you haven’t already, I am going to encourage you to see Restless City first. Frankly, The Avengers can wait. Trust me when I say that Marvel, Disney, Joss Whedon and Sam Jackson, they all gon’ be alright. I mean, the film has already pulled in at least $280MM overseas, if not more.
It’s easy for a small film like Restless City to get forgotten when a Hollywood studio’s juggernaut comes to town. That’s exactly why, if you care about independent film, you should make a conscious decision to see this film this weekend. I’m not suggesting that you not see The Avengers. I’m gonna see it, and I’ll be there with my bucket of popcorn just like everyone else. However, my wife and I made a point to see Restless City last weekend when it opened. It’s an excellent film, well worth your support. The Avengers? As good as it probably is, I guarantee you that it will be in theaters for the next month. Can’t say the same about Restless City.
For those of you unfamiliar with the way theatrical releasing works, here are the basics you need to understand. The weekend box-office numbers–especially that opening weekend– are crucial. Why? Because theater owners are making determinations on Sunday night about what films will hold screens for the next week. Restless City has nowhere the marketing budget of The Avengers, so it’s relying on PR and word-of-mouth. And the impact of both of those take time. So it’s better for the film to stay in theaters longer. Unfortunately, the only way that happens is if the theater owners see the numbers to justify holding the screen. After all, they could just as easily bump that film and add another screening of The Avengers. Or some other film.
And let me be clear: I’m not asking you to support this film because it’s a “black” film. No, I’m asking you to support it sooner rather than later because this film is a visual feast. I said as much in my review. And this isn’t about “taking your vitamins,” i.e., doing it because it’s good for you. It’s not exactly about “supporting progressive culture,” either. I mean, it kinda is. But here’s my point: It’s capitalism, baby. It’s about making sure this film–and others like it–matter in the marketplace. That means they need to make money. In that way, big companies feel comfortable getting into business with similar films.
What I’m asking you to do is to make a conscious choice to do something powerful and empowering : Vote with your dollars. Spend ’em where they matter. In that way, films like Restless City can hold space in the market alongside films like The Avengers. Restless City expands to several more cities tomorrow. If you’re in one of those, or in a city where it’s already playing, you have a chance to make a your preferences known. Grab a friend or two. After all, movies are social experiences.
Then, if you want to, y’all can sneak into The Avengers. . .Heh.