Love & Friendship (Photo by Ross McDonnell/Courtesy of Amazon Studios and Roadside Attractions)
Hits & Misses: The Theatrical Performance of the Sundance Class of ’16
How do you measure success these days? When more than two million people vote for you over the other guy and you still lose? When you receive no endorsements from a single major newspaper, your party’s leadership practically ignores you, and you still win? Or, perhaps, when your heralded Sundance acquisition earns a whopping $15.8 million at the box office, but you spend more than twice that in acquisition fees and prints and advertising costs to release it? (i.e., The Birth of a Nation). How about if your film isn’t released in theaters at all, but Netflix paid $5 million… Read more
Sunset Song, one of the last titles handled by Fortissimo (Photo courtesy of Magnolia Pictures)
The Music Fades
Cartel Land (Photo courtesy of The Orchard)
The Digital Lowdown
Is online distribution a boon to independent filmmakers or a boatload of false promises? Given that streaming/downloading is the primary way that many audiences are now consuming content, this may be the most pressing and important question for today’s business-savvy independent filmmakers. But it’s difficult to discern the answer. For one reason, the digital distribution revolution is always evolving, and what was standard procedure three years ago is no longer the norm. A few years ago, everyone was talking about multiplatform day-and-date hits Margin Call, Arbitrage and Bachelorette — starry films that received huge grosses through simultaneous theatrical and digital… Read more
The Birth of a Nation (Photo courtesy of Elliot Davis/Fox Searchlight Pictures)
Upstream and Downstream: 5 Observations about Independent Film Distribution at the 2016 Midpoint
The following article appears in our Spring, 2016 print edition and is appearing from behind our paywall today for the first time. Will 2016 be remembered as the year that Amazon and Netflix gobbled up the indie film market? Probably. While the two online behemoths could always change their strategies in the next several months, the ramifications of their first quarter dominance stretched far and wide, sending shockwaves through the business. But there were other changes afoot, as well. Here are five industry trends that continue to linger long after Park City. 1. The Enduring Impact of Amazon and Netflix Okay, Amazon… Read more
Hits & Misses: How Seven Films from Sundance 2015 Performed
The health and identity of American independent cinema has always been difficult to gauge and define, but Sundance is our default arbiter and explainer. Of course, indie film exists far beyond the limits of Park City in January, but the festival gives the nebulous American indie sector a test sample — and as any scientist will tell you, that’s the first step in making an accurate hypothesis. So what can the films of Sundance 2015 clarify about the state of American indies, now and in the future? Some trends can be attributed to random cycles and one-time events, but there… Read more
Kate Winslet and Guy Pierce in Mildred Pierce
Is TV Killing Indie Film?
Kristen Wiig in Welcome to Me (Photo courtesy of Alchemy)
Releasing movies in U.S. theaters isn’t going away anytime soon. But indie film distribution is experiencing a significant tipping of the scales. While theatrical distribution has always been an advertisement for foreign sales and ancillary platforms, like VHS and then DVD, a new wave of film companies are shifting the balance even further, where theatrical distribution is a means to a digital end. As Vincent Scordino, senior vice president of marketing at rising distributor Alchemy says, “Ancillary platforms have always been important to a film’s profitability, but now we’re talking about them more with the rise of iTunes and the… Read more
On the set of Koinonia (Photo by John Silva)
A Rising Tide?
Boyhood (Photo courtesy of IFC Films)
Hits & Misses 2014
Fruitvale Station (Photo courtesy of Radius-TWC)
Has the Cinematic Water Cooler Run Dry?