For years, there's been an ongoing conversation that on-demand services could serve as the ideal platform for moderately budgeted films, even those starring big-name stars. After all, this has increasingly been the approach taken by sleeper hits, critical darlings, and mainstream films that are a little too "out there" for studios (see Joe Carnahan's Stretch, for example).
As more and more expensive tentpoles and franchise fare crowd the theaters, smaller, more intimate films of all genres may continue to rely on limited theatrical runs, on demand, and streaming services like Netflix to be seen by interested audiences. Case in point: one such film -- namely, this fall's crime thriller Heist -- is embracing this trend.
Lionsgate has released a new poster for the film -- which previously went by the title Bus 657 -- ahead of its limited theatrical release and on-demand launch on November 13th. The film features an impressive ensemble cast that includes Robert De Niro, Jeffrey Dean Morgan (Magic City, Extant), Dave Bautista (Guardians of the Galaxy), Kate Bosworth (Still Alice), Gina Carano (Fast & Furious 6), Morris Chestnut (The Perfect Guy), Mark-Paul Gosselaar (Franklin & Bash) and D.B. Sweeney (Two and a Half Men).
Here's the official synopsis, followed by the film's poster:
When their attempt to rob a casino owned by the feared gangster Pope (Robert De Niro) goes awry and a shootout ensues, Vaughn (Jeffrey Dean Morgan) and Cox (Dave Bautista) are forced to flee on foot and hijack city Bus 657 and take the passengers hostage. Now, in a high speed chase, Vaughn will not only have to outwit the police, led by Officer Bajos (Gina Carano) who are in hot pursuit, but he will have to contend with Pope’s maniacal right hand man, Dog (Morris Chestnut), in order to make it through the day alive. But we quickly learn that things are not what they seem, and Vaughn has more than one card up his sleeve.
Judging by the description (and the aforementioned cast of gifted veteran performers), it's possible that Heist could prove to be one of those gems that sneaks under the radar. Bautista and Carano are both fast becoming top action stars in their own right, and De Niro has more than a few heist films to his name, usually as the one committing the crime himself. This new film could offer an interesting reversal of that, allowing the Oscar-winning performer to effortlessly slip into the crime boss archetype he's perfected over decades of Hollywood projects.
Moreover, Heist could provide a solid venue for rising talent like director Scott Mann (The Tournament) and relative newcomer screenwriters Stephen Cyrus Sepher and Max S. Adams to raise their respective profiles with what sounds like a taut little thriller - one that just might be worth a look, when it arrives later this fall.
Will you be checking out Heist when it is released this fall? Share your thoughts in the comments section below.
Heist lands in select theaters and on-demand services on November 13th, 2015.