Over Memorial Day weekend, Wes Anderson‘s “Moonrise Kingdom” grossed a record-breaking $523,000 from only four theatres. The film has since expanded and is steadily approaching a $50 million domestic total. This past weekend, another film debuted to over $500,000 its opening weekend. The theatre count? Zero.
“Bachelorette” matched “Moonrise’s” debut weekend through video on demand and iTunes. The movie doesn’t hit theatres for another month. It’s the first pre-theatrical release to reach the top of the iTunes charts.
The comedy can be described as “Bridesmaids” meets “The Hangover” and stars Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, and Lizzy Caplan as a trio of friends who get together for the wedding of a girl (Rebel Wilson) they used to torment in high school. Adam Scott and James Marsden also star.
Though it sounds like a no-brainer to cash in off the success of the two biggest comedic hits of the past few years with a wide theatrical release, the studio was worried that the characters were too unlikeable and would alienate the audience (note the trailer, where the group celebrates having cocaine for the night’s festivities). As Hollywood.com noted, cocaine addiction isn’t the same as food poisoning in a bridal shop.
So they decided to test the waters first with VOD, hoping the movie could find its audience without spending money on prints and advertising. The distribution plan was designed by RADiUS, a Weinstein company created to implement alternative, and cheaper, ways to release films.
“We are beyond thrilled to hit this milestone,” RADiUS co-presidents Tom Quinn and Jason Janego told Deadline. “From day one, our goal has always been to bring content to viewers when, where and how they want to see it… This achievement on iTunes gives us terrific momentum”.
Quinn also said that “Bachelorette’s” VOD numbers exceed those of “Moonrise.”
The success of this “female ‘Hangover'” helps legitimise VOD in the wake of news earlier this week that Warner Bros. shut down their direct-to-video label Warner Premiere, citing decline in the market.
With an estimated budget of only $3 million, a fraction of a typical studio budget, “Bachelorette” should turn a solid profit in no time. The big question is what this VOD success means for the film’s theatrical release. Will everyone that wanted to see it have already seen it by then, or will this strategy play out like a great viral marketing campaign and lead to a successful theatrical run similar to “Moonrise?”
We’ll find out when “Bachelorette” reaches theatres on September 7.
Check out both the trailer and actress Rebel Wilson discussing the movie below:
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.