Sony announced December 28 that “The Interview” has generated $15 million in online sales since it first became available on December 24, making it the largest ever day-and-date release and Sony’s biggest online release of all time.
We put that number in some perspective yesterday, but below we break down what we know about other VOD releases. To be clear, none of them followed exactly the same distribution patterns with some of them being released day-and-date (hitting theaters and VOD the same day), some released ultra-VOD (meaning released on VOD before hitting theatrical) and some hitting VOD following a theatrical run (of varying lengths).
Since companies generally only release VOD numbers when they’re good, the below figures (the latest ones released, but not necessarily the most up-to-date) provide a skewed but still informative sampling:
“Snowpiercer”: RADiUS-TWC, The Weinstein Company’s boutique label, released “Snowpiercer” on-demand only two weeks after Bong Joon-ho’s film hit theaters. The gamble paid off with RADiUS-TWC reporting that it had grossed $6.45 million on VOD through the first weekend of September, surpassing its theatrical gross of $4,500,600.
“The One I Love”: RADiUS-TWC released the film on VOD just two weeks after the film hit theaters. By week five on VOD, the dark comedy starring Mark Duplass and Elisabeth Moss had grossed an impressive $737,039, eclipsing the film’s theatrical gross of $309,000.
“Fed Up”: According to RADiUS-TWC, “Fed Up” has a grossed a total of $1,328,330 on VOD, with $1,095,505 of that gross coming from digital platforms iTunes, Amazon, Xbox, Playstation, VUDU and Google Play, the company told Indiewire in November. The documentary grossed over $1.5 million in theaters.
“The Unknown Known”: The documentary about Donald Rumsfeld was released theatrically in early April, earning nearly $270,000 in its nine-week theatrical run and an additional $1 million on VOD platforms, according to RADiUS-TWC figures reported by Deadline.
“20 Feet from Stardom”: The Oscar-winning documentary released by RADiUS-TWC earned $1.3 million on VOD platforms on top of its $4.945 million theatrical gross in its 52-week run, according to RADiUS-TWC figures reported by Deadline.
“Escape from Tomorrow”: Producer John Sloss told Deadline that “Escape From Tomorrow,” which was released by his Producers Distribution Agency (PDA), grossed $139,334 in theatrical revenues and $120,560 in VOD/digital grosses, adding up to a total of $258,894. Sloss urged other distributors to release VOD numbers for full transparency.
“Man of Tai Chi”: The Keanu Reeves-directed martial arts film received an ultra-VOD release from RADiUS-TWC. RADiUS-TWC said the film grossed $1.5 million across digital, satellite and cable platforms ahead of its theatrical rollout.
“Arbitrage”: Purchased by Lionsgate and Roadside Attractions and released day-and-date, the crime thriller starring Richard Gere and Susan Sarandon grossed about $8 million at the box office but nearly $14 million on VOD.
“Bachelorette”: The dark comedy, starring Kristen Dunst, made under $500,000 at the domestic box office following its September 2012 release. However, the film, released by RADiUS-TWC, made about $8.3 million on VOD.
“Bridesmaids”: Universal released the comedy on VOD following its successful theatrical release. After it made $24 million from VOD in four months, Universal declared it the most popular VOD release of all time.
“Margin Call”: After a strong debut at Sundance, J.C. Chandor’s low-budget Wall Street drama, distributed by Roadside Attractions, was released day-and-date in October, 2011, grossing over $5 million in theaters and another reported $5 million in revenue from VOD sales, according to The Hollywood Reporter.