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