Familiar Strangers hangs on
The little film that could, Familiar Strangers, got something few locally produced indies could ever dream about: a third week at the Regal Downtown over the crucial Thanksgiving weekend.
"They told us there was no way they'd keep us through Thanksgiving," says producer Barry Sisson. "But we were number two to Twilight."
Sisson, noting that even though it was not a very close second, Familiar Strangers shares something else with the vampire blockbuster: actress Nikki Reed, who plays a grocery store check-out clerk in his film. (Charlottesville developer Keith Woodard figures in one pivotal grocery scene.)
Cavalier Films is self-distributing the Staunton-made indie, and it'll play at the Visulite there at least another weekend.
As part of Cavalier's heartland strategy, the movie opened November 28 in Kansas City, where it had played at a film festival and a theater owner thought it would do well. The K.C. run was okay, says Sisson, but "it was snowing, and we didn't get the reviews we wanted."
On December 5, Familiar opens in Richmond, Knoxville, and Nashville, the last the home of co-star D.J. Qualls, who appeared in Hustle and Flow. After that, December releases will most likely push Familiar from theaters.
"It's getting harder and harder to hold theaters," acknowledges Sisson. The movie opened well in Fairfax November 14, beating James Bond, but got booted by Slumdog Millionaire this past weekend.
Rather than fight the end-of-the-year flood of new films, Familiar Strangers may take a short hiatus. "The smart money is saying, let this run out because so many movies are opening," says Sisson.