‘Logan Lucky’ has officially bombed in the Box Office.
‘The Hitman’s Bodyguard’ took down ‘Logan Lucky’ in the domestic box office despite raving reviews.
And while its director, Steven Soderbergh, touted he would change distribution with his movie – he was in for a rude awakening and that means big changes are coming.
The Independent “Indie” film market is on the verge of collapse because of enormous theatrical distribution prices, outrageous marketing and advertising prices, and the unrealistically low amount of money straight to Video on Demand offers.
And that means that financing a low-budget Indie film can be dangerous.
But when you have big-name talent – Ocean’s Trilogy director Steven Soderbergh; James Bond himself, Daniel Craig; one of the biggest movie stars in the world Channing Tatum; and a near-perfectly reviewed movie – that’s a slam-dunk, right?
‘Logan Lucky’ opened to an insulting $8.1 million in 3,301 theaters in North America.
What’s even worse for the production is that Prints & Advertising costs equate to almost $5 million per weekend, which means the movie profited about $3 million, despite getting an astounding 93% on Rotten Tomatoes.
And the whole time, Soderbergh was touting that he didn’t need the notorious over-cost from movie studios.
Well, now the director is biting his tongue.
The Hollywood Reporter reports:
Soderbergh is said to have relied primarily on foreign presales to finance Logan Lucky — a practice the indie world has relied on for decades, including such hits as Cinema Paradiso (1988) or The King’s Speech (2010).
He then went about raising $20 million in marketing funds. That’s a fraction of what a major Hollywood studio would spend to trumpet a summer release, but Soderbergh contended that Hollywood traditionally spends too much to market movies.
He took a targeted approach, waiting until the eleventh hour to unleash most of the television ads and concentrating outdoor billboards in the Midwest and South.
He also didn’t test the trailers. Soderbergh will use the same approach when releasing his next film, Unsane, which he shot secretly in June using an iPhone. It stars Claire Foy and Jay Pharoah.
“Change is difficult, especially for the film industry, which at times seems built on archaic models.
That said, distribution is a channel, navigated by slick sales forces and marketing teams that pigeonhole studio films with precision accuracy, and have done so for decades upon decades, selling films to consumers whether they want them or not,” said box-office analyst Jeff Bock of Exhibitor Relations.
“What we’ve seen over the course of Soderbergh’s career is that he certainly can work within the studio confines if he chooses to do so, but more often than not has his own sensibilities regarding the type of film he wants to spend his livelihood making.
And those types of films, like Logan Lucky, are notoriously difficult to sell to mainstream audiences,” Bock continued.
The director’s last film, Side Effects, was likewise released independently by Open Road Films, although Soderbergh didn’t control the marketing. Side Effects opened to $9.3 million in February 2013.
This time out, Soderbergh’s new company, Fingerprint Releasing, hired Bleecker Street to distribute Logan Lucky in the U.S.
He also relied on the advice of distribution guru Dan Fellman, who worked for years at Warner Bros., which made many of Soderbergh’s films. One thing going in Logan Lucky’s favor is that the next two weekends are devoid of a lot of new product, although that could benefit Hitman’s Bodyguard as well.
“Though actually markedly different in almost every respect, Hitman’s Bodyguard and Logan Lucky were perceived among potential moviegoers to be similar enough — i.e., action movies with comedic elements — that audiences were forced to make a choice,” said comScore’s Paul Dergarabedian. “That ultimately fragmented the audience and favored one film over the other.”
Indie movies do well but it’s usually word-of-mouth that propels it into success, but it doesn’t seem to be happening in this case, which proves that provable talent can be overrated. To be fair, this might just be an anomaly released at the wrong time.