Madman Entertainment launched Damon Gameau’s innovative documentary 2040 on 95 screens today after grossing $130,000 from extensive paid previews and festival screenings.
“We are super confident the film will play well here and internationally,” Madman MD Paul Wiegard tells IF. “The advance screenings were sold out and we have had a great run-up and support from exhibitors.”
Gameau’s journey to explore what the world could look like by 2040 if the best solutions already available to improve the planet are adopted has generated positive responses since the world premiere at the Berlin International Film Festival.
UK-based Metro Films International is fielding offers from buyers for the film produced by Gameau and Good Thing Productions’ Nick Batzias, Anna Kaplan and Virginia Whitwell.
The two options are a multi-territory deal or a patchwork of deals in individual territories, according to Wiegard, who expects sales to be finalised within a couple of weeks.
Noting that polls showed climate change was a top-of-mind issue for many voters at the federal election, Wiegard says: “There is more reason now than ever to think positively about taking action.”
Madman and Palace Cinemas have partnered to offer free tickets for the film this weekend at all Palace locations for students aged up to 18. “This a film that requires word-of-mouth,” Wiegard says. “It’s G rated and aimed at families.”
The usual box office ceiling for feature documentaries in Australia is $2 million. Free Solo has grossed $1.6 million and Gameau’s That Sugar Film made $1.5 million.
The distributor expects 2040 will have a long tail, given that the social impact campaign will run for three years.
Strongly committed to feature docs, Madman will launch Richard Lowenstein’s Mystify: Michael Hutchence on July 4, preceded by paid previews after the Sydney Film Festival premiere.
Daniel Gordon’s Adam Goodes: The Australian Dream, a biopic on the former Sydney Swans star and leading Indigenous advocate, kicks off on August 22.
The producers, Batzias and Passion Pictures’ John Battsek are handling international sales together with a significant investor, UK-based Lorton Entertainment.
Wiegard is full of praise for Ian Darling’s documentary The Final Quarter, which looks at Goodes’ public call out of racism and the heated response, which also premieres at the Sydney Film Festival. He is looking to work closely with the AFL on The Australian Dream.
Just back from the Cannes Film Festival, he was delighted with the rave reviews for Parasite, Bong Joon-ho’s pitch-black tragicomedy about social inequality in modern Korea, which he pre-bought.
“It was a good Cannes,” he says. “I saw a lot of films and there are a couple of irons in the fire.”