Harmony Korine's "Spring Breakers" beat out "Despicable Me," as well as the Tina Fey-Paul Rudd rom-com "Admission," and other mainstream Hollywood fare, hitting #1 in the iTunes store yesterday. "Despicable Me" is clearly getting a nice boost from the recent release of "Despicable Me 2."
Although it's billed as a "thriller" in the iTunes store, "Spring Breakers" isn't your classic thriller. Indiewire Chief Film Critic Eric Kohn called it "an elegant evocation of noir storytelling, littered with misdeeds with girls and guns at every turn."
"Spring Breakers" director Harmony Korine was thrilled by the news that the indie had hit #1, especially since he said he had no idea the film was being released on iTunes yesterday. "It's crazy! I never had any other film even close to #1," Korine told Indiewire, exclusively. "To have this movie where it's at right now is very strange and very nice."
"Spring Breakers" star Selena Gomez tweeted about the news yesterday. "Spring Breakers forever!! So happy you made it to #1! Congrats to all who worked on this film."
In terms of visibility for the film, its #1 status is significant -- especially in terms of reaching a new audience for the indie, which cost $2 million to produce. Yesterday was the first day "Breakers" was available for rental on iTunes, but there was a two-week exclusive buy only window on iTunes and other VOD platforms, including Amazon, Xbox.
"It's been one of the most talked about films of the year and we're continuing to see the polarization in the second window," said Rebecca Sosa, who oversees digital distribution at "Breakers" distributor A24 Films. "Spring Breakers was trending again on Twitter yesterday. It's still relevant to the cultural conversation."
The indie fared well in its theatrical release earlier this year, boasting a healthy domestic gross of more than $14 million. The iTunes success will also expose the film to a much broader audience than the initial theatrical release.
"It seems like a lot of the people who aren't allowed to see it in the theaters because of ratings issues are sitting at home and watching it on their laptops and TV right now," said Korine. Since the film was rated R, theoretically, anyone under 18 couldn't see the sex and drug-fueled film in theaters.
"The most exciting part of this is that a new and different type of audience is watching the film, an audience that I assumed never watched any of my other films," said Korine, who said he got a kick out of seeing "Spring Breakers" ranking ahead of a big blockbuster like "Despicable Me."
The two films "would be an awesome double bill," said Korine. "I would try to figure out which one to watch first. Maybe 'Spring Breakers' as a palate cleanser or maybe vice versa."
Meanwhile, "Spring Breakers" was released yesterday on DVD and Blu-Ray with extra features, including a Vice featurette and an interview with the film's composer Cliff Martinez.
Check out the film's trailer below: