When George Gallo’s “Local Color” was released on one screen at the Camelview 5 in Scottsdale, Arizona, box office expectations were modest, to put it mildly. But the independent film starring Armin Mueller-Stahl, Ray Liotta and Trevor Morgan has performed very well for a movie that has relied on small ads in local papers to build awareness.
In its third week of release, pic saw a 57% jump in attendance, a theater record that writer-director Gallo attributes to strong word-of-mouth. Figure is even more startling considering its competition at the time included higher profile arthouse films such as “The Darjeeling Limited,” “Into the Wild,” “Lust, Caution” and “My Kid Could Paint That.”
Gallo, who is best known for writing “Midnight Run” and “Bad Boys,” based the story on his apprenticeship with a Russian painter as a young boy.
“It’s about how one person can make a difference in another person’s life. It’s an uplifting picture and the response has been overwhelming,” said Gallo, who has been present on weekends for post-screening Q+A sessions.
“I’ve had people tell me that it’s inspirational, that it’s life-changing. I’ve had Big Brother organizations tell me they want kids to see it. People are going crazy for this movie and it makes me choke up because its autobiographic.”
Since making its debut at the Tribeca Film Festival in 2006, “Local Color” has won awards at the Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival for Best Screenplay and Cinematography, as well as the Discovery Award and Best Director at the Sedona International Film Festival.
“Now the theater wants to hold it over until January,” Gallo boasted. “They’ve gotten emails demanding the movie be kept in theaters so patrons can return with friends.”
“Local Color” has taken in just over $22,000 since opening October 19.