The Broadway Centre movie theater downtown might owe something to Larry Miller for getting moviegoers into their seats for the opening weekend of both "The Visitor" and "[email protected]"

The two films opened exclusively at the Broadway last weekend and did fairly well — especially when you consider that they were up against those early "summer"-blockbuster giants "Iron Man" and "Speed Racer."

On the other hand, medium box-office returns might have been somewhat disappointing to the folks at the Broadway, since "The Visitor" and "[email protected]" hardly go after the same audience as "Iron Man" and "Speed Racer." It should have been the perfect counterprogramming move.

Anyway, it's no surprise that the Broadway was unspooling trailers and displaying posters touting "The Visitor" and "[email protected]" in the weeks leading up to their debut last Friday. But both films were also getting plenty of preview play at two of Miller's Megaplex theaters, the Jordan Commons in Sandy and the District in Riverton (and perhaps others that I don't frequent).

In fact, Miller's theaters have been pushing "The Visitor" and "[email protected]" quite heavily over the past few months — and the Commons and the District get a lot more moviegoing traffic than the Broadway.

Being typical Broadway fare — low-budget, independent films without stars — it was a given they would play there. But I had seen the trailers at the Commons and the District so many times that I was genuinely surprised when they didn't show up in either theater.

Not that it matters to me. My wife and I live close enough to downtown that it was no chore to slip in and catch these two fabulous features. Fair to say we're regular patrons of the Broadway.

And it was well worth the trek. For me, "The Visitor" and "[email protected]" are, so far, the year's best films.

But moviegoers living in Riverton or Draper who were pysched by those trailers in Miller's theaters were in for a drive. Avid moviegoers might have made the trek but others no doubt took a look at gas prices and settled for something closer to home.

Oddly, another so-called "art film" that opened at the Broadway last Friday, David Mamet's offbeat martial-arts yarn "Redbelt," simultaneously arrived in no less than seven other theaters around the Salt Lake Valley.

My wife and I quite liked "Redbelt," but Mamet isn't everyone's cup of tea — and it's rated R, which often pares down the audience a bit (though there are a lot fewer f-words than pepper most of Mamet's work).

But if the showing we attended at Jordan Commons is any indication, "Redbelt" won't be around long. We were two or three people in a 300-seat auditorium last Friday.

Movie-industry honchos like to talk about a movie's "buzz" — that is, the talk among moviegoers in advance of a film's release and its potential impact on box-office business. "The Visitor" and "[email protected]" had a lot of buzz; not so "Redbelt." But, hey, what do I know?

Big-budget releases also engage in counterprogramming, and "What Happens in Vegas" also opened last weekend, aimed at an "older" audience than would likely head to "Iron Man" and "Speed Racer."

So, if "What Happens in Vegas" is more to your taste — and it made an impact at the box office, despite being one of the year's worst films — I'm sure you had no trouble locating it.

Is there a multiplex in town that ISN'T playing that one?


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