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in Filmmaking
on Oct 27, 2008

At The Hollywood Reporter, Gregg Goldstein reports on the stellar per-screen gross of Seth Grossman’s The Elephant King this weekend at the Angelika Film Center. The 2006 Tribeca selection, now being distributed by producer Unison Films and Strand Releasing did $16,000 despite modest P&A. The secret was apparently a blend of grass-roots marketing targeting non-film constituencies as well as a Gen Art-like blend of a screening and premiere party for a higher ticket price.

From the piece:

Unison head Emanuel Michael worked with Priority Films to contact Asian, Thai, drug and alcohol groups, and film schools at local universities. The groups then emailed members inviting them to five weekend showings with in-theater Q&As that addressed their concerns. Priority used similar guerrilla marketing tactics to launch the Cambodian sex slavery drama Holly.

The real boost to its boxoffice, however, came with a unique strategy: a premiere at a 198-seat Angelika auditorium open to the public (with the $30 tickets notched in its boxoffice tally) and special Saturday night screenings including opening weekend parties.

Michael contacted Svedka Vodka and Thai beer co. Singha, who saw a marketing opportunity in giving free liquor for an hour-long open bar at the events. Once they were on board, The Country Club and Socialista agreed to host them for free, keeping their crowds well into the morning.

Unison plans a similar strategy at the Friday night Sunset 5 LA premiere, followed by another free premiere party at The Standard.

The trailer is below.

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