As many of you will have noticed I have been lining up some cinemas for the release of Neither Wolf Nor Dog. It has been a huge amount of work getting to this point and it is great seeing so many of you excited about seeing the film and suggesting places for it to screen.
We’ve already crossed a line that maybe 90% of independent films fail to achieve and that is getting into cinemas. Most never see the inside of a theatre other than the odd festival.
I would love to get the film to as many cities as you are all in, but we have to build from a small start. Many of you won’t realize that distributors get hit with a basic cost just for the privilege of being in most theatres. For example, I was talking to a distributor the other day that had released a film last year on 638 screens. It grossed $686,000 in its first week. The cinemas would take most of it after sales tax as they made a low return on each screen. But they will also have to have paid technology companies around $380,000 just for being on those screens. And the distributors would still take a big cut. And hundreds of thousands would have been spent on advertising. So basically, they will have lost hundred of thousands of dollars just by putting it in the cinema. If no-one saw it they would have done better.
If I immediately put Neither Wolf Nor Dog into a lot of cinemas and people didn’t turn up in good numbers it would cost me a fortune that I don’t have. I have yet to earn anything for my 6 years on this film.
So I have to be far more strategic, and it could work very well for the film. I am targeting some of our strongest markets where I know the film shall gather a lot more attention and support, and if you all follow through when nearby and help get the word out and make it into the theatre then we can pull out good box office numbers that will encourage other theatres to take the film and it can start cash-flowing itself.
Our multiplex screening in Bemidji, Minnesota starting on the week of the 24th is a big part of this. The novel is well known in the region as the author wrote it there and it should draw in a great audience. The other theatres I am lining up in South Dakota and Washington State should hopefully be similar. But if not many folks turn up, then our release will be dead in the water.
Almost all of those films that we will be next to in the multiplex will have had millions if nor tens of millions of dollars just spent on their marketing. I am going in with next to nothing at my disposal other than a great film, an incredible story behind the film, and you, our passionate supporters. You are all the key to its success.
Sadly whether it has been with the Indigenous Film Project, or people expressing interest in our other projects, I normally find only about 10% of those that say they’ll commit to something, actually do. So I go into this release with a mix of optimism and great anxiety. We’ll know soon enough how it goes.
I haven’t had a day off since mid-November but am giving this my all. Dave Bald Eagle, Christopher Sweeney, Richard Ray Whitman and Rick Van Ness stood by my side throughout the shoot and I owe it to them to give it my all. They all leave a part of their soul on screen or through the production.
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