When Radius-TWC, The Weinstein Company's boutique label, released "Snowpiercer" on-demand only two weeks after Bong Joon-ho's film hit theaters, Indiewire took notice of the innovative release strategy. Clearly, the gamble has paid off.
As of August 1st, the film has racked up a stunning $4,973,142 after only three weeks on VOD and pulled in a respectable $4,139,199 in over six weeks in theaters. It could hit the $5 million mark at any point. "We're so close that we could be crossing that special threshold right now," Jason Janego, Radius-TWC co-president, told Indiewire this afternoon.
The film also continues to fare well on iTunes where it has held the No. 1 spot for indies in the iTunes store since it hit the platform (and is currently #4 overall among movies on iTunes).
"We had pretty good size expectations as far as what the film could do on VOD once we got into that window," said Janego. "We weren't entirely sure what would happen on the theatrical side initially, but because the film is such a brilliant unique film, we had decent hopes that if it caught a little bit of fire, that word would spread quickly and that people would line up to see it and it has actually happened that way...It's exceeded expectations."
Radius-TWC's highest grosses VOD release is still "Bachelorette," which grossed $8.2 million on various digital platforms, according to Janego.
But regardless of the success of the multi-platform release strategy for "Snowpiercer," Janego said the company wouldn't necessarily plan a similar release for all titles. "It's always on a case-by-case basis," he said. "This is not a one size fits all platform. Everything is dependent upon the film itself. We hadn't done this particular strategy with any film before and yes, we'd love to try it again, but we're not just going to do it for the sake of doing it. It's got to be the right film."
Radius-TWC co-president Tom Quinn previously told Indiewire this unorthodox release strategy works well for certain movies that benefit from the theatrical setting but also have a high enough demand to merit a wider availability. He gave A24's "Spring Breakers" as an example of a film that would have benefited from a multi-platform release.
It's likely other indies will follow Radius-TWC lead and experiment with the unconventional release strategy -- although booking theaters for day-and-day or ultra-VOD releases continues to be a challenge.
"This is a business where we're all constantly watching what everyone else is doing," said Janego. "When someone does something that is perceived to be successful, it's only natural for other people to want to try to replicate that. So I would imagine that somebody will try. That said, it's not going to affect what we do."