As we have discussed here and on the Gabbing Geek podcast, there are fascinating strategic and financial implications of Sony releasing the Rogen/Franco comedy, The Interview “day and date.”
Day and Date is the hybrid love child of chosen one “first run” theatrical release and the shameful bastard that is “Direct to DVD.” In this model, studios release the property in select theaters and then release it to VOD outlets like pay per view or iTunes simultaneously.
This is typically reserved for independent films or documentaries with a limited appeal. But as early as the the very first episode of the Gabbing Geek podcast, we have been talking about how the concept could evolve to cover more mainstream, mid-budget offerings.
The Interview was the first test of a mainstream film using day and date; though scientists would tell you this is probably not the most repeatable experiment. But scientists are nerds and we are geeks, so let’s look at the numbers? The Sony comedy, benefiting from free media (a big part of it coming from the podium of the President of the United States no less), has grossed a record SHATTERING $31M is VOD revenue.
So this sounds like a good thing right? Not necessarily. The problem for Sony is that the theatrical box office receipts register only about $5M (led by Tim League and the Alamo Drafthouse!). That’s a pretty paltry haul for a film that cost this much. Sony should get it’s production budget back, which was estimated to be about $40M. However, they will not in all likelihood get their marketing budget back (they spent a lot before getting the free press!) because there should be a steep drop off in the weeks ahead and there will be no secondary revenue source. Forget about turning a profit. Given the way they handled things, this is not the worst outcome. But the well has pretty much run dry unless they greenlight a sequel…
For more on this topic, download this week’s episode of the (Obama-Approved ) Gabbing Geek podcast to hear Ryan, Jenny, and Watson talk about the fallout of the Sony hack scandal! Find out how to download the podcast HERE.