“Terrifier 2” means so much more than just avid theatergoers: distributors and exhibitors were excited to find your next viral event.
Vomiting stories, patient walks, and ambulance visits in the theater certainly helped. But the box office success of “Terrifier 2” – the bloody horror sequel to director Damien Lyon who pulled in $10 million on a quarter-million budget – is a perfect storm of viral marketing savvy and a renewed interest in cinema. Now, leading movie theater distributors are trying to hunt down “Terrifier 2.”
Beyond “Terrifier 2” – which just took the domestic top-10 spot in the fifth weekend – last Saturday’s live stream of the 2022 League of Legends brought in $405,000 from over 400 sites. A recent live stream of two Coldplay concerts in Buenos Aires made over a million dollars, and just missed out on the top 10 concerts of the weekend.
Fathom’s ongoing MET operas and Studio Ghibli Fest continue to perform, in some cases better than pre-pandemic levels. And Fathom recently announced that it has licensed “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey,” another rocky public domain horror film to create a violent thriller for classic A.A. Milne characters, with the hope that it will also garner some love at the box office.
“I think there’s more openness from the consumer to seeing these kinds of movies that they can’t get anywhere but theatre,” Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore, told IndieWire. He said exhibitors and distributors are more willing to swing into event cinema if it leads to a high reward, and landing in the top ten can do wonders for a small offering.
They call it lightning in a bottle for a reason. It will be very difficult to replicate the success, but the industry will definitely try,” Dergarabedian said.
In the case of “Terrifier 2”, all this organic fuss didn’t happen by accident. Iconic Releasing, which distributed “Terrifier 2,” has organized a handful of shows with influencers and members of Regal Unlimited to stir up excitement ahead of the theatrical event’s release on October 6. She also chose not to pursue the MPA rating to inform fans that the film would not be censored by Leone’s vision. “Terrifier 2” made over $400,000 on opening night and changed everything.
“The gold is in our hands. We need to mine it,” Devon Canfield, Vice President of Sales and Distribution at Iconic Releasing, told IndieWire. Iconic and Cinedigm Entertainment Group soon persuaded theaters to pivot “Terrifier 2” from releasing a two-night event.
This weekend Iconic will stage performances for UFC 281, but it’s a more challenging environment with “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever.” Canfield said some exhibitors are holding back on the number of theaters they show or choosing not to participate in them entirely.
However, he said, more theater owners are of the view that an event cinema fixed program can build an audience that treats the big screen as a destination for events that would otherwise not be available. Not to mention it’s an opportunity to use live streaming technology that many theaters have already invested in.
“The models are starting to look a little bit more uptight, but they can still be a little nervous,” Canfield said. “You’re trying to help change their minds to get them to see the potential.”
Courtesy of Fathom Events
“Terrifier 2” provides a good case study. Even five weeks into its release, “Terrifier 2” still plays as a traditional juvenile movie version, available for only one to two shows per night, maybe three, and attracts large crowds to every show. Beyond this feat, he has done nearly the impossible and made more The money is in its second week and on fewer screens, opening to $800,000 and up 28 percent the following weekend.
“It’s a bright spot in the show world now, the fact that event cinema, there’s a compelling reason to go,” said Richard Abramowitz, CEO of independent Abramorama distributor. “There are a lot of good movies. They can’t all justify five shows a day, seven days a week, just because the audience depth doesn’t exist. But we can fill almost 150-200 seats in almost any city in the country for one show.”
Ray Nutt, CEO of Fathom Events, hopes the same will be true for “Winnie the Pooh: Blood and Honey,” who told Nutt that IndieWire will open at an event next February on 700-900 screens and that they “completely suspect” He is held for additional weeks. Nat says the film’s acquisition fits into Fathom’s larger horror strategy; In September, the distributor grossed $4.3 million for the release of “Jeepers Creepers: Reborn”.
While Nutt said Fathom started talking to producers of “Blood and Honey” ITN Studios prior to the viral success of “Terrifier 2,” Iconic Events was also about “Blood and Honey” — but Fathom quickly closed the deal.
There is still a place for live broadcasts of operas and concerts, but distributors see increased competition over original properties and the pursuit of the next viral success. It could be horror films, musical documentaries or religious films, the genre that has “got completely crazy” for distributors and accounts for up to a quarter of Fathom’s revenue, Nat said.
“Having something to appeal to younger audiences, a lot of movie theaters don’t,” Abramowitz said. “You’re dealing with operas and high-end programming, and that’s the audience that’s been a little more difficult to get back into theaters at the moment. So having a horror movie at this particular time is the programming that attracts an audience that’s less resistant to going back to movie theaters. It’s really a matter of finding films. Committed, dedicated, and enthusiastic to the masses and inform them.”