a pro script reader ponders movies, reading, writing and the occasional personal flashback

Wednesday, September 27, 2006

Feast and Famine

So, in case you blinked and missed it, Feast finally opened last weekend, in 146 theaters across the country. Apparently most theaters just had it as midnight shows, though it seems to be playing at different times here and there, since it made about $4000 on Sunday and $1575 on Monday.

Total four-day gross? $56,131. Less than $400 per theater. Which means that the average crowd at each midnight show was about 20-25 people. I don't think theaters were rocking.

Suffice it to say that this is unlikely to catch on as a release pattern, expecially since it usually costs $1000-$2000 just to strike each print of a film. They may be carving some copies into guitar picks as we speak.

The sad thing is that last year, when Project Greenlight 3 aired, they actually did a good job selling this as an interesting movie. So much so that, if they dumped it directly into theaters as soon as the series was over, one would have to believe that they could have at least done $10 million or so. Because the TV series is invaluable free advertising.

Now, the TV series was so long ago that most people forgot why they wanted to see it. The underwhelmed reviews certainly didn't help, while since I'm no longer big on dragging my bones out to see a movie at midnight, I wasn't even tempted.

Had it been showing at a multiplex at 4PM last Sunday afternoon? I may well have gone to see it. Had it come out a year ago? Absolutely.

One of the features of Project Greenlight is supposed to be synergy. You get people interested in a film, you get them vested in wanting to see how it came out, and then you let them see it, immediately. It's hard to argue with that template.

But you need to get it out in theaters, or at least have popped it out on DVD a year ago.

Feast may well have been a victim of the Miramax-Disney divorce, that hit right around when the film should have come out.

And I suspect (though I have no real knowledge) that last weekend's release might just have been a contractual thing; they promised to give a theatrical release to the finish product, and did.

It's also a little advertising for the DVD release, which is coming out on October 17. And I'm sure some people will pluck it off the shelves at Blockbuster.

The Feast writers just sold a couple of scripts, and one assumes that Feast director John Gulager will get another shot to direct something. Maybe.

But for the movie that was supposed to show that Project Greenlight was commercially viable -- they had finally selected a genre film, just for that purpose, rather than the coming-of-age dramas that they had done as the first two films -- what could have easily been something of a success, if they had gotten it out right away, instead put a stake in Project Greenlight's heart.

They botched it.


At 2:27 PM, Anonymous Joe Valdez said...

When I think about Project Greenlight, the scene in They Shoot Horses, Don't They? comes to mind, where Jane Fonda goes into the office of the seedy promoter and discovers that she's not participating in a contest, but entertainment, and what the paying customers want to see out there is blood.

I think Scott is questioning whether the original vision of this project was ever realized. I think "no" would be the correct answer. I never wanted to see any of these movies.

I do have a lot of respect for the people like Erica Beeney and Gulager who allowed themselves to be cut up into chum and thrown into shark infested waters for our entertainment value. They deserve a break after going through all of that.

At 4:08 PM, Blogger Unknown Screenwriter said...

I'll take 2 guitar picks.

I think the very late release certainly screws the film's chance for any kind of a boxoffice success.

Nobody even remembers PG now let alone FEAST...

Nobody but us filmmakers and screenwriters that is.


At 5:06 PM, Blogger Bill Cunningham said...

Guys -

This was a movie that FROM THE START was designed to play for the DVD crowd. It was made for very little money and has probably already made its money back in international sales. In fact it is probably in the black even with the $500K they spent in P&A.

While the theatrical box office was a disappointment, Harvey and Bob ain't sweatin' it.

DO NOT declare "Rest In Peace" on this movie.

At 5:19 PM, Blogger Scott the Reader said...

Bill's right in some ways -- the movie certainly isn't going to lose money.

But still, this is a contest that is being pitched to entrants as about making a movie that is going to play in theaters, and it's pretty much three-strikes-and-out on that front.

Plus, whether in theaters or on DVD, the movie would have done a hell of a lot better if it had come out 12 months ago.

Project Greenlight could actually be a great straight-to-DVD feeder, but again the key is having the DVD ready to go at the peak of the audience's interest, which, since this is far from being a live show, was very possible.

At 6:39 PM, Blogger Bill Cunningham said...

Scott -

No arguement that it would have been better for the dvd to capitalize on the hype surrounding the climax of the show.

But divorce has many casulties...

And I can't recall that there was ever a promise that the movie HAD to play in theaters - though all have had theatrical releases.

At 7:27 PM, Blogger wcmartell said...

As someone who actually saw the movie, I thought it was fun... and much better than crap like WHEN A STRANGER CALLS and SILENT HILL. They dumped the film.

In Los Angeles, by the way, it was close to sold out on Friday and Sat at Sunset 5 and the theater on Hollywood Blvd (with a long line waiting). I saw the first Greenlight film at the Century City AMC... and there were maybe 12 of us in the theater. So this was better than previous Greenlight movies - even given the midnight show and absolutely no adverts or trailers at all (STOLEN SUMMER had a bunch of promotion).

- Bill

At 3:30 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I don't get it. Why would they make all those prints and then not have ANY advertising? Or are the prints themselves advertising for the DVD? I didn't even know it had opened. A friend at work said she'd seen it over the weekend when I wondered aloud whatever happened to the PG movie.

At 5:53 AM, Blogger Burghmovies said...

I did go. Someone else bought my ticket.

I still want my money back.

Easily the worst cinematography I've ever seen. Navi Rawat made me want to claw my eyes out and the dialogue was garbage at best.

I had high hopes for this flick, but am left horribly dissapointed. Ugh.

But yeah, I think they buried it hopingpeople would forget it ever happened.

At 11:45 AM, Anonymous roadkillbuddha said...

I've seen many more positive reviews for Feast than negative. I've been waiting to see it ever since PG ended, and certainly would've gone to a midnight feature if the closest option weren't 3 hours away (and even then I was tempted).

I never saw the first 2 seasons of Project Greenlight, but I watched and enjoyed both of the movies on DVD after getting into season 3.

At 8:05 PM, Blogger Mystery Man said...

Great analysis. I couldn't agree more. I had two tirades about Feast:


Feast – A Limited Dump

It just angers me that PG3 was such a lost opportunity to show the world that, yes, there are undiscovered writers out there who are truly capable of depth and great storytelling.



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