£38

Did you see this story in The Sun a few weeks back?

If you didn’t, and don’t feel like giving The Sun any web-traffic, then the essence is:

Strippers vs. Werewolves only took £38 at the box office on its opening weekend!

Gasp!

Some tweeters went on to compare that £38 with The Avengers‘ £15,778,074 which, on the surface makes it even more laughable.

Unless, of course, you take the view that since Avengers cost £200,000,000 to make and SvW cost … um … considerably less, then technically SvW was less in the red after the first weekend than The Avengers.

This is, of course, a silly way of looking at things. Let’s be honest and upfront here – The Avengers is a far, far superior film. If you only go and see one film this year, make it that. If you have a choice between The Avengers and SvW – Avengers for the win every time. It’s made a lot because it’s awesome. Easily 415,212.474 times more awesome than SvW.

Easily.

But .. £38 – that’s awful … isn’t it?

Surprisingly, no.

Surprisingly, that’s actually good.

Surprisingly, that’s actually quite surprising.

Why?

Well, because there’s an open industry secret surrounding a ‘limited theatrical release’ which everybody knows. Seriously, everyone knows it. Whoever wrote that Sun article knows it. Most of you reading this blog already know it. If you don’t, well I’m not going to spill the beans here – it’s a secret.

And don’t go spoiling it for everyone in the comments neither.

Shh.

But the upshot of that secret is SvW wasn’t supposed to make any money in the cinema.

Really.

Think about it. The film was shown on six screens in the middle of weekdays without any advertising in either the papers, radio, TV or even outside the cinemas themselves. I’ll hazard a guess and say none of the six screens actually put up posters for the film or even had any posters to put up.

In other words, the film’s presence at those specific cinemas wasn’t advertised at all.

Or to put it in slightly different words no money was spent on promoting the theatrical release because the promotion often costs more than the film does.

Why would you put a film in the cinema and not tell anyone which cinemas it’s in or how to go and see it?

Aha! That’s the secret!

Think of it this way: have you heard of Strippers vs. Werewolves? Did you know it was in the cinema?

No? You do now.

Yes? You missed it! How did that happen?

Now … assuming you’re not a thieving pirate scumbag, are sufficiently intrigued by the title and don’t want The Sun to make your mind up for you … how are you going to watch the film?

You might, for example, go to one of these places:

HMV 

LOVE FILM 

AMAZON 

VIRGIN ON DEMAND 

ASDA 

And pay to watch the film.

Pay to watch a film you’ve seen no paid advertising for, but have heard of because almost every paper and movie magazine in the land reviewed the film and then several of them went on to run stories about how little money it made in its opening weekend.

That’s not the secret, by the way – that’s just an intended consequence. Not intended by me, I’m not manipulating the media and have no input on any of this – this is just how things get done.

So the fact around four people spent £38 to go and see the film is cause for celebration – that really is £38 no one expected to make! Thank you, random four strangers!

The fact The Sun runs a story telling everyone about the film again is another win! More free publicity!

The fact the story was gleefully retweeted multiple times on Twitter by people who feel smug and superior because they think they’re being nasty in public is another win! Thank you random nasty people, you’ve just helped spread word of the film further and wider!

Things aren’t always what they seem and while it would be great to have Avengers-style money … that was never going to happen. It was so obviously never going to happen, it was never the plan or the point.

The point is a secret, but Strippers vs. Werewolves is available in shops right now … although, you knew that, right?

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Categories: Industry Musings, Someone Else's Way, Strippers vs. Werewolves | 10 Comments

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10 thoughts on “£38

  1. Pingback: Limited theatrical release | things magazine

  2. H

    Another thing Avengers and SvW have in common. I’ve met Joss Whedon a couple of times (Picket line during the writers strike. Good times. Unless you were a writer of course…) and I’ve chatted with you a couple of times in these blogs. Small world.
    And the other trivia Avengers related was that Miley Cyrus’ latest movie was released at the same time as the Avengers. Wide release, with publicity. Took less in the whole US than the average taking of one screen playing the Avengers. That’s gotta hurt.

    Mind you, does your film have a character call someone a “mewling quim”? I think that by itself explains the $1 billion difference in takings.

    • A mistake I intend to rectify from now on. I’m even renaming my next script ‘Mewling Quim’ – not sure it quite fits a heart-warming family comedy, but it’s got to be worth a go.

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