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Dope Re-Release: What Does It Mean?

Please welcome our new contributor Kieran Scarlett.

Dope (discussed here) hits theaters again this weekend. The film made a splash at the Sundance Film Festival in January before opening wide earlier this summer to slightly less rapturous response and modest box office. Not that $16 million for a movie with a production budget of $700 000 is anything to sneeze at, mind you. Still, it's not quite the sleeper hit many at Sundance thought it would be. Will it be able to improve on those numbers? Perhaps. 

Is there hope for Dope?

With Straight Outta Compton performing very well, Dope's obsession with the early 90s could play well on re-release. Or will the audiences just see the megahit rap biopic and pass over the Sundance indie altogether? 

With the upcoming re-release of Dope and yesterday's DVD and Blu-ray release of Mad Max Fury Road (reviewed here), the question of awards prospects for films released in the first half of the year comes into play. It's possible that Dope's re-release could be priming the pump for an awards campaign - a reminder of The Little Indie They Thought Could And Still Might. Awards wise, it's going to be an uphill climb for something like Dope. Even if one takes into account the fact that the Academy has come under fire recently for lack of diversity in its nominations and might be looking to fix that, Dope may still have trouble standing up against other efforts. There's Tangerine, which in addition to being an absolute joy of a film has a better hook in terms of an awards narrative. And there's the aforementioned Straight Outta Compton, both a critical and commercial success. Still, if Dope is indeed trying to make an awards play, a re-release right now is a wise move, right before the Telluride Film Festival kicks off and things typically start to get very noisy in the world of awards punditry. 

Have you seen Dope yet? It's your last chance to check out Rick Famuyiwa's love letter to '90s hip-hop nostalgia before its DVD release next month.

Kieran is a Canadian expat whose love affair with movies began with Judy Garland and Julie Andrews.  He thanks his older brother for his film fanaticism and apologizes profusely for dragging him to see "Cold Mountain" on opening weekend because 'people in it might get nominated for stuff.'  He received his MFA in writing from the American Film institute. He spends a lot of time thinking about the 1974 Best Actress race, admiring Dorothy Malone's mambo skills and longing for the return of Holly Hunter.  Kieran can be found in Los Angeles, writing, working on movies and searching for the perfect arthouse theater with good parking. [Follow him on Twitter.] 

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Reader Comments (11)

I believe the commercial success of Straight Outta Compton is the reason Dope's distributor is attempting to capitalize with a re-release. However, I believe Dope's audience will discover it through streaming and cable broadcast. It feels like one of those little movies which will capture a vocal niche following.

September 2, 2015 | Unregistered Commenter3rtful

I remember seeing the trailer for "Dope" in theaters, and was waiting for this to come out, but couldn't find it in my area. Definitely want to see this.

September 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterJoel V.

I definitely agree with 3rtful's assessment of Dope's future success. As for the movie itself, I really enjoyed Dope and it's in my Top 3 of the year thus far.

September 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterDaniel Armour

It would be nice if this re-release gives Academy voters a chance to consider it for a Screenplay nomination. It's a very good movie, and while it is similar to Risky Business, it's better than that silly '80s comedy.

Also, I see that Kieran is a big fan of Holly Hunter. I just saw 1989's Miss Firecracker for the first time last month and it's already my favorite of Hunter's leading performances. My absolute favorite is still Thirteen.

September 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterSean Troutman

I loved, LOVED Dope. I'm all for anything that might get more eyeballs on it.

September 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMargaret

I'm sure the success of Straight Outta Compton has a lot to do with it, but if it gets more people to see the film then I'm here for it. I really enjoyed this movie.

September 2, 2015 | Unregistered Commenterthefilmjunkie

"Dope" deserves a second chance to be discovered. While I wouldn't hold my breath for it getting much attention during awards season, It was really a terrific film that just got lost in the summer shuffle.

September 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterAnthony

I believe AMC are doing a "buy one ticket get one free" offer, too.

September 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterGlenn Dunks

Kieran!!! So glad to see him here!

September 2, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterNick Davis

DOPE and TANGERINE would make an EXCELLENT double feature.

September 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterRyan T.

Does Kieran spend a lot of time thinking about 1974 Best Actress race? That's interesting

September 3, 2015 | Unregistered CommenterMirko

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