In the US Jennifer Kent’s The Babadook has raked in more than $US950,000 at cinemas and been viewed online, legally, more than 360,000 times.
The horror movie starting Essie Davis and Noah Wiseman thus ranks as the most successful title ever for the US distributor IFC Midnight, which typically releases films in a handful of cinemas day-and-date with VOD, or straight to VOD.
By contrast, The Babadook platformed at three cinemas last November, concurrent with VoD, and gradually expanded to 80 screens.
IFC Midnight orchestrated an ultra-VOD release which meant the film was available one month before theatrical via streaming service DirecTV for $US9.99.
Causeway Films' Kristina Ceyton, who produced with Kristian Moliere of Smoking Gun Productions, tells IF that IFC Midnight reported there were more than 200,000 orders on cable VOD and 160,000 on digital VOD.
The distributor has not yet put a monetary value on those transactions. However one executive who has sold films to VOD platforms in the US estimates the 200,000 cable buys could generate revenues of $1.2 million- $1.4 million and the 160,000 digital would equate to about $800,000.
Typically about 40% of those revenues would flow back to the producers. That’s an impressive result, particularly given that some Australian films, with a far lower profile than The Babadook, have generated as little as $120,000 on VOD in the US.
There is more upside ahead for The Babadook which will be released on DVD and Blu-ray in the US on April 14.
IFC Midnight launched brothers Kiah and Tristan Roache-Turner’s Wyrmwood: Road to the Dead in cinemas and on VOD on February 13. Among the distributor’s previous theatrical releases were Snowtown, Maniac and Argento’s Dracula 3D.
Sony released Predestination day-and-date in the US on January 9. According to B.O. Mojo, the Spierig brother’s time-travel thriller played on 20 screens and grossed less than $70,000.
The distributor has not yet shared any figures with producers Tim McGahan and Patrick McDonald but McGahan tells IF, ”Sony said they were very happy, they made money and they want to repeat the process.”