Film Grabs Highest Per-Screen Average By Activating Cut.com and Shareability
Gunpowder & Sky’s first theatrically released project “The Little Hours” was, despite mixed reviews, a success at the box office in its opening this past weekend, especially for a “digital-first” studio. The religious satire directed by Jeff Baena (“I Heart Huckabees”) and starring Alison Brie, Dave Franco, Kate Micucci, Aubrey Plaza, John C. Reilly and Molly Shannon, grabbed the highest per/screen average with just over $30,000 from the Arclight Hollywood and Landmark Theater in New York City. It’s a small piece of the overall pie given the total box office revenues for this past holiday weekend grew 21% than previous weeks topping $168 million. But “The Little Hours” box office performance is a big win for Gunpowder & Sky as it ramps up to over 30 screens in its second weekend and over 75 theaters in the top 20 markets by mid-July.
“‘The Little Hours’ was a great first film to showcase our holistic approach and fluidity in releasing movies,” said Gunpowder & Sky co-founder Floris Bauer. “Our mission to reach audiences through novel ways of storytelling and marketing, independent of platform or format, is at the heart of everything we do.”
And, “The Little Hours’” performance can be co-credited to great talent and content but also to savvy marketing, promotions and advertising leading up to the its release as Gunpowder & Sky activated the businesses its invested in — Cut.com and Shareability. Combined, the film, which G&S acquired at Sundance Film Festival earlier this year, serves as an early signal that Gunpowder & Sky has its finger on the pulse of what a modern-day studio model looks like.
In early 2016 Gunpowder & Sky invested in Cut.com, a viral video production shop based in Seattle, and viral video marketing firm Shareability, both of which were acquired with an eye at how both might amplify Gunpowder & Sky’s studio business. “The Little Hours” rollout from time of being acquired in January has put Bauer’s playbook to test.
“This is a loud comedy about suppressed medieval nuns, based on a 14th century Italian novel, and we leaned into what made this film novel and breakthrough,” he explained. “An age old tale told in modern language, we are releasing the film across traditional and non-traditional platforms, supported by loud and viral content marketing.”
Starting in April, G&S released a red band trailer in conjunction with Cut.com and seeded by Shareability across various social and community channels like Facebook and Reddit. Cut.com then dropped a video “Aubrey Plaza Smokes Weed with Weed Nuns” on June 21st, one week prior to the film’s theatrical debut, and grabbed upwards of 10 million views in just 24 hours.
“With our red band trailer, and video with [Aubrey], jointly having over 20 [million] views, we are reaching audiences across demos interested in the film,” said Bauer.
The team also created a collaboration with GIPHY to create over 100 GIFs, which according to GIPHY have grabbed over 108 million views*, to date.
[*an earlier version of this story noted impressions, which has been corrected to views.]
To break through in today’s cluttered entertaiment environment, companies like Gunpowder & Sky that put significant efforts behind promoting their project, will rise to the top. It’s a tried and true lesson Hollywood learned ages ago — and its nice to see today’s new generation of studios embracing smart content marketing. “The Little Hours” opening weekend has shown once again that some Old Hollywood models have yet to die.