As “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” continues to dominate the box office, this week becoming the biggest hit ever in the United States, a couple of much lower budget new releases are bidding to compete with the blockbuster. Sandro Monetti looks at the business angles of their plots.

ANOMALISA – Unhappy in work and life, the stuck-in-a-rut author of a motivational book on customer service secretly thinks just about everyone else on the planet is a horrible person out to get him. But he develops a more positive outlook after meeting a shy customer service representative for a baked goods company who has driven four hours to hear him give a lecture. He is so instantly smitten with the woman, who suffers from low self-esteem, that he is ready to leave his wife for her and maybe throw away his career too. But he finds that letting his heart rule his head is not always the best idea. A stop-motion animation film that was financed on Kickstarter, this quirky movie is the latest eccentric offering from the mind of Charlie Kaufman, the filmmaker behind “Being John Malkovich” and “Adaptation.”

THE FOREST – A travel journalist thinks he will land a great article commission or even a book deal by hiking through a haunted Japanese forest with an American woman hoping to find her missing sister. But the writer discovers that escaping with his life is probably a more realistic goal as the pair get lost in the woods and fend off evil spirits – including a creepy schoolgirl. This horror movie stars Taylor Kinney of “Chicago Fire” and “Game of Thrones” actress Natalie Dormer.

For reprint and licensing requests for this article, CLICK HERE.