||Posted: Dec. 08 2002,17:05
To briefly address your questions:
For the most part, hollywood executies determine how long a movie stays in circulation and how many theaters play it.
From limited conversations with people in "the business" (i.e. writer/director Kevin Smith), I think it goes something like this:
*First, you need the backing of a major motion picture studio such as Miramax, Fox, or Time Warner.
*Second, you have your movie screened in front of a series of randomly-selected test audiences to determine the public's response.
*Third, you need to convince your studio's producers that the flick is worthy of millions of dollars in advertising. The executives will look over the results of the screenings and make a decision about how much to spend on marketing. Generally, the more your movie is advertised, the more theaters will pick it up for opening day.
*Finally, the opening day box office gross willl determine how long your movie stays in the circuit. This is "make or break." If it tanks (i.e. does not recoup at least 70 percent of the production and marketing costs) on the first two nights, you're through.
That was extremely simplified. But, as you can see, it's a difficult and biased process.
However, it can be done. Just look at the success of "independent" films like Life is Beautiful and Roger and Me (the most successful documentary of all time).
In terms of the violent content, this is a culturally manufactured demand. See Michael Moore's new film Bowling for Columbine for an excellent commentary on this process.