Palin Doc Director Bannon: With Almost No Marketing Dollars We Hit 'a Home Run'

‘The Undefeated” is set for release into more cities next week.

L.A. Times:

Directed and written by Stephen K. Bannon, the film opened this weekend in AMC Theatres in 10 selected digital markets — the closest to Los Angeles being the city of Orange in Orange County — going up against the opening of perhaps the biggest film of the summer, the final installment in the “Harry Potter” series.

According to a release Sunday from distributor ARC Entertainment, which partnered with digital distributor Cinedigm, the film grossed approximately $5,000 per screen through Saturday night, with “large markets trending towards weekend per screen averages above $10,000.”

That’s quite modest by Hollywood standards, but the rollout was booked quickly over three weeks, with marketing carried out through word-of-mouth and low-cost social media.

The release quotes Jill Newhouse Calcaterra, the chief marketing officer for Cinedigm, saying, ” ‘The Undefeated’ is the perfect example of how digital cinema can benefit both producers and audiences. Starting with theater location selection, we worked quickly — with precision accuracy — to generate a terrific box-office result with virtually no marketing dollars.

“This is a new model that is going to benefit the entire entertainment industry and audiences who want to see unique products.”

[LA Times]: How do the opening-weekend figures stack up against your expectations (or hopes)?

[Steve] Bannon: This was a high-risk strategy — one I don’t remember ever being attempted — to open a documentary nationwide in such disparate markets with only 4 weeks prep with no media spend. And it paid off. Why — we had distribution partners at ARC and Cinedigm that knew what they were doing and a theater chain that knows how to handle specialty film.

I thought $5k/screen would have been amazing … and $10k a home run. We will be above $10k in key markets … and all markets performed well.

[L.A. Times]: A story appeared in which a reporter talked about being in a empty theater at a just-after-midnight showing Thursday night into Friday, in Orange County. Do you think that story has any impact, good or bad, on your weekend attendance?

Bannon: The story had zero impact on anything … and I never focus on nonsense. … OC numbers were huge … incredible numbers considering the competition there.

Full story here.

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