Steven Lewis Simpson

SELF-DISTRIBUTION

I just recently gave the first TEDx Talk on theatrical distribution for film and the disruptive distribution strategies I deployed that allowed my latest film, Neither Wolf Nor Dog to be in the midst of the longest theatrical release of any movie released in the US in at least a decade – 90 weeks so far and around 200 theatres.
(BTW Rentrak want $12,000 per year to allow you to access all your box office figures. I’ve never done that so I don’t supply our figures to BoxOfficeMojo.)
The Lagoon’s opening weekend of NEITHER WOLF NOR DOG was the best weekend gross in the entire country. It’s nice to see that beautifully told stories can still find an audience.”  Hugh Wronski Senior Regional Publicist, Landmark Theatres 

“By the time the end credits arrive, the characters of this modest, crowd-funded feature are practically unforgettable. It’s immensely serious but no downer.” Colin Covert – Star Tribune ★★★½ out of four stars.

I’ve deployed strategies that have reversed the typical indie film release strategy on its head, and our success has come through that. So far it has been workings its way around theatres for well over a year. I set this all up myself, without a booker or publicist. It has been a long and complicated road, but as a result, I’ve created a release that has sold around 60,000 tickets from mostly small markets and with profitable returns. We’ve booked over 150 theatres, mostly in the US but now are expanding into theatres in Europe.

On some occasions, it has beaten every blockbuster it has been up against in a theater, and unlike most independent films, it has mostly played in commercial cinemas and multiplexes, with only a third of theatres being indie/art house.

In 2017 we beat 23 of the 26 releases of the major independent film distributor IFC, and all 32 from Kino Lorber. 

Interested in releasing your own film? Contact me if you would like a consultancy and find out the real-world situation that you will find and how best to negotiate it. It is far from a simple process, even though distribution is theoretically very simple.  Email steven@stevenlewissimpson.com 

This is the penetration of theatres we’ve had in the states we’ve prioritized.

STATE NO. OF THEATERS NATIONAL EQUIVALENT
South Dakota 16 5926
Montana 11 3438
Wyoming 6 3333
Maine 10 2439
Oregon 21 1654
Vermont 2 1053
Alaska 3 1304
Washington 22 973
Minnesota 16 936
North Dakota 2 833
Oklahoma 9 744
Idaho 3 577
Arizona 12 558
Michigan 15 489
Utah 4 426

Here’s the release pattern.

City State Opening Date Final Date
CAPITOL 12 THEATRE Cheyenne Wyoming 10/26/18 TBC
STUDIO CITY UW PLAZA Laramie Wyoming 10/26/18 TBC
Dakota Wesleyan University Mitchell South Dakot 10/25/18 ONE DAY
George Fox University Newberg Oregon 10/25/18 ONE DAY
THE BAY THEATER Suttons Bay Miami 10/21/18 10/23/18
Knickerbocker theater Holland Michigan 10/15/18 10/20/18
FRHRC Polson Montana 10/14/18 ONE DAY
Heard Museum Phoenix Arizona 10/8/18 ONE DAY
Shining Mountain Time Festival Aspen Colorado 10/8/18 ONE DAY
Randall 15 IMAX Batavia Illinois 10/7/18 7th, 8th, 11th
Hamilton 16 IMAX + GDX Noblesville Indiana 10/7/18 7th, 8th, 11th
Wabash Landing 9 West Lafayette Indiana 10/7/18 7th, 8th, 11th
Savoy 16 IMAX Savoy Illinois 10/6/18 6th, 8th, 11th
Willow Knolls 14 Peoria Illinois 10/6/18 6th, 8th, 11th
Brownsburg 8 GDX Brownsburg Indiana 10/6/18 6th, 8th, 11th
Portage 16 IMAX + GDX Portage Indiana 10/6/18 6th, 8th, 11th
Studio City Stadium Cinema Casper Wyoming 10/5/18
THE INDIE CINEMA Tishomingo Oklahoma 10/4/18 10/11/18
The Strand Theater Delaware Ohio 9/29/18 ONE DAY
Kendall 11 GDX Oswego Illinois 9/29/18 9/29, 10/1, 10/4
America Theatre Casper Wyoming 9/28/18 10/3/18
Kalamazoo 10 Kalamazoo Michigan 9/23/18 Sept 23, 24, 27
Quality 10 GDX Saginaw Michigan 9/23/18 Sept 23, 24, 27
Bay City 10 GDX Bay City Michigan 9/22/18 Sept 22, 24, 27
FORUM 8 Columbia Missouri 9/22/18 Sept 22, 24, 27
Cadillac 4 Cadillac Michigan 9/22/18 Sept 22, 24, 27
Grand Haven 9 Grand Haven Michigan 9/22/18 Sept 22, 24, 27
Hastings 4 Hastings Michigan 9/22/18 Sept 22, 24, 27
Jackson 10 Jackson Michigan 9/22/18 Sept 22, 24, 27
Oxford 7 Oxford Michigan 9/22/18 Sept 22, 24, 27
Three Rivers 6 Three Rivers Michigan 9/22/18 Sept 22, 24, 27
West Columbia 7 Battle Creek Michigan 9/22/18 Sept 22, 24, 27
Celebration! Cinema at Woodland Mall Grand Rapids Michigan 9/21/18 10/4/18
King Coal Theater Price Utah 9/14/18 9/20/18
Salt Creek Cinema Nephi Utah 9/14/18 9/27/18
Twin Cinema Jackson Hole Wyoming 9/12/18 9/27/18
City of Stillwater Stillwater Minnesota 9/12/18 ONE DAY
Coral Cliffs Cinema 8 Hurricane Utah 9/7/18 9/20/18
New Vision Central Mall 12 Lawton Oklahoma 9/7/18 9/20/18
Reel Theater 8 Ontario Oregon 9/7/18 9/20/18
B&B Theaters Miami Oklahoma 8/31/18 9/13/18
Claremore Cinema 8 Claremore Oklahoma 8/31/18 9/13/2018
Windsor 10 Cinema Oklahoma City Oklahoma 8/31/18 9/20/18
Reno Cinema 8 El Reno Oklahoma 8/30/18 9/20/18
Sapulpa Cinema 8 Salupla Oklahoma 8/30/18 9/13/2018
Wagner Theater Wagner South Dakota 8/29/18
August 29th, 30th & 31st
Roman Theater Red Lodge Montana 8/25/18 ONE DAY
Menlo Park Public Library Menlo Park California 8/22/18 ONE DAY
Goodrich Capital 8 Theater Jefferson City Missouri 8/18/18 18th, 20th & 23rd
Pheasant Drive In Mobridge South Dakota 8/3/18 8/6/18
Pix Theatre Winner South Dakota 07/27/18 08/02/18
The Alamo Theatre Bucksport Maine 07/13/18 07/15/18
Barnstorm Theater The Villages Florida 07/06/18 07/19/18
Hot Springs Theater Hot Springs South Dakota 07/06/18 07/08/18
Spotlight Cinemas Orono Maine 06/28/18 ONE DAY
State Theatre Traverse Michigan 5/20/18
20th, 22nd, 23rd & 24th
Cinemaworld Lincoln Rhode Island 5/11/18 5/18/18
Cinemaworld West Melbourne Florida 5/11/18 5/18/18
Catamount Arts St Johnsbury Vermont 5/4/18 5/10/18
Tohono O’odham College Tucson Arizona 5/4/18 ONE DAY
Lincoln Theater Damariscotta Maine 5/3/18 ONE DAY
Rialto Theater Bozeman Montana 4/29/18 ONE DAY
Tower Theater South Hadley Massachusetts 4/27/18 5/10/18
The Lark Theater Larkspur California 4/27/18 5/17/18
Turtle Mountain Community College Belcourt North Dakota 4/25/18 ONE DAY
Ellen Theatre Bozeman Montana 4/25/18 ONE DAY
Angela Triplex Theatre Coaldale Pennsylvania 4/20/18 20th 21st, 22nd
Proctors Schenectady New York 4/18/18 18th, 20th
Orpheum Theater Flagstaff Arizona 4/15/18 15th, 16th, 17th
State Theatre Zumbrota Minnesota 4/13/18 13th, 20th, 21st
Bijou Cineplex 4 Morrisville Vermont 4/13/18 4/26/18
Colonial Theater Belfast Maine 4/13/18 4/26/18
Westport Center for the Arts Kansas City Missouri 4/13/18 ONE DAY
Wabasha Public Library Wabasha Minnesota 4/12/18 ONE DAY
Redwood Falls Public Library Redwood Falls Minnesota 4/10/18 ONE DAY
Plymouth Congregational Church Minneapolis Minnesota 4/8/18 ONE DAY
Premiere Theatres Cloquet Minnesota 4/6/18 4/19/18
Cornelius Cinema Cornelius Oregon 4/6/18 4/12/18
Prairie Cinemas Wolf Point Minnesota 4/6/18 4/19/18
Glacier Cinemas Cut Bank Montana 3/23/18 4/5/18
Showboat Cinemas Polson Montana 3/23/18 4/5/18
Nickelodeon Cinemas Portland Maine 3/23/18 4/5/18
Avalon Theater Ava Missouri 3/23/18 3/29/18
Village Centre Cinema Lewiston Idaho 3/16/18 4/1/18
WME Village 8 Lakeside Arizona 3/16/18 3/22/18
Queensgate Cinemas 12 Richland Washington 3/16/18 3/22/18
Chillicothe Town Theater Chillicothe Illinois 3/16/18 3/22/18
Cottonwood Cinemas Havre Montana 3/16/18 3/29/18
Mountain Cinemas Whitefish Montana 3/16/18 4/5/18
Vernal Cinema 5 Vernal Utah 3/16/18 3/22/18
American Indian Higher Education Fort Yates North Dakota 3/11/18 ONE DAY
Newport Roxy Newport Washington 3/10/18
10th,11th,17th&18th
Cine Grand Fremont 7 Fremont California 3/9/18 3/8/18
Picture Show @ Frontier Village Prescott Arizona 3/2/18 3/8/18
Yakima Theaters Yakima Washington 2/16/18 3/9/18
Cine Grand Mankato 4 Mankato Minnesota 2/16/18 3/1/18
The Pennington School Pennington New Jersey 2/15/18 ONE DAY
Normandale Community College Bloomington Minnesota 2/15/2018 ONE DAY
Reel Pizza Cinerama Bar Harbor Maine 2/13/18 2/15/18
Center Theatre Dover-Foxcroft Maine 2/10/18 2/12/18
Texas Christian University Fort Worth Texas 1/31/18 ONE DAY
The Gem Theater Bethel Maine 1/25/18 1/28/19
Palace Theatre Daysland Alberta 1/15/18 1/17/18
Ultrastar Ak-Chin Theatres Maricopa Arizona 1/12/2018 2/1/2018
Eqyptian Theater Coos Bay Oregon 1/5/2018 1/13/2018
The Elks Theatre Rapid City South Dakota 12/8/2017 12/19/2017
Guild Cinema Albuquerque New Mexico 11/26/2017 11/28/2017
Magic Lantern Roxy Theatre Saskatoon Saskatchewan 11/25/2017 12/7/2017
Frontier Cafe, Cinema & Gallery Brunswick Maine 11/24/2017 11/30/2017
Princess Theatre Edmonton Alberta 11/24/2017 12/7/2017
The Plaza Theater Calgary Alberta 11/24/2017 12/7/2017
Pocahontas Reframed NASFF King William Virginia 11/18/2017 ONE DAY
Northern Hills Cinema Spearfish South Dakota 11/10/2017 11/30/2017
Rainbow Cinema Golden Mile Regina Saskatchewan 11/10/2017 11/30/2017
Zeitgeist Multi-Disciplinary Arts Center New Orleans Louisiana 11/3/2017 11/9/2017
Mirage Theater Omak Washington 11/3/2017 11/9/2017
Monarch Theater Medicine Hat Alberta 10/27/2017 11/2/2017
Zoetropolis Art House and Theatre Lancaster Pennsylvania 10/25/2017 11/2/2017
Fox Peak Cinema Fallon Nevada 10/20/2017 11/2/2017
Bluewater Cinemas Parker Arizona 10/20/2017 10/26/2017
Movie Mill Lethbridge Alberta 10/20/2017 11/2/2017
Dragonfly Cinema Port Orchard Washington 10/20/2017 11/5/2017
Mirage Theater Omak Washington 10/13/2017 10/19/2017
Arena Theater Point Arena California 10/6/2017 10/12/2017
Luxury Theater Huron South Dakota 10/6/2017 10/12/2017
The State Theater Chamberlain South Dakota 9/29/2017 10/5/2017
Pelican Cinema Klamath Falls Oregon 9/29/2017 10/12/2017
The Palm Theatre San Luis Obispo California 9/22/2017 10/5/2017
The Flicks Boise Idaho 9/22/2017 10/12/2017
Brookings Cinema 8 Brookings South Dakota 9/22/2017 10/5/2017
Broadway metro Eugene Oregon 9/22/2017 10/27/2017
Varsity theatre Ashland Oregon 9/22/2017 10/5/2017
Pageant Theater Chico California 9/22/2017 9/28/2017
Logan Luxury 5 Cinema Mitchell South Dakota 9/22/2017 10/5/2017
Cinema 10 Potsdam New York 9/18/2017 ONE DAY
Railroad Square Cinema Waterville Maine 9/15/2017 9/28/2017
The Valley cinema Wasilla Alaska 9/15/2017 9/21/2017
Sisters Movie House Sisters Oregon 9/15/2017 9/24/2017
City Lights Florence Oregon 9/15/2017 9/21/2017
Savor Cinema Fort Lauderdale Florida 9/15/2017 9/21/2017
Palace theatre Silverton (TBC) Oregon 9/15/2017 9/21/2017
Red Wing Cinema 8 Red Wing Minnesota 9/15/2017 10/5/2017
Tin Pan Theater BEND Oregon 9/15/2017 9/18/2017
The Screening Room Newburyport Massachusetts 9/15/2017 9/21/2017
The Dairy Boulder Colorado 9/13/2017 9/16/2017
St Anthony Main Theatre Minneapolis Minnesota 9/8/2017 9/21/2017
Suurvik Cinema Bethel Alaska 9/8/2017 9/14/2017
Liberty Hall Lawrence Kansas 9/8/2017 10/12/2017
Tivoli Cinema Kansas City Missouri 9/8/2017 9/14/2017
Guild Cinema Albuquerque New Mexico 9/8/2017 9/11/2017
Cozy Theatre Wadena Minnesota 9/8/2017 9/10/2017
Gold Coast Cinema Nome Alaska 9/1/2017 9/14/2017
Vancity Vancouver British Columbia 9/1/2017 9/10/2017
Salem Cinema Salem Oregon 9/1/2017 9/21/2017
Madras Cinema 5 Madras Oregon 9/1/2017 9/14/2017
Independence Cinema 8 Independence Oregon 9/1/2017 9/14/2017
Hood River 5 Hood River Oregon 9/1/2017 9/21/2017
Sandy Cinema 8 Sandy Oregon 9/1/2017 9/14/2017
Canby Cinema 8 Canby Oregon 9/1/2017 9/14/2017
Scappoose Cinema 7 Scappoose Oregon 9/1/2017 9/14/2017
Roseburg Cinema Roseburg Oregon 9/1/2017 9/14/2017
Wildhorse Cineplex Mission Oregon 9/1/2017 9/14/2017
Bremerton Cinema Bremerton Washington 9/1/2017 9/14/2017
Battle Ground Cinema 8 Battle Ground Washington 9/1/2017 9/14/2017
Admiral Theatre Seattle Washington 8/23/2017 8/24/2017
Ocean Shores Cinema Ocean Shores Washington 8/23/2017 8/24/2017
Anacortes Cinema Anacortes Washington 8/22/2017 8/23/2017
Lynwood Theater Bainbridge Island Washington 8/22/2017 8/23/2017
Stanwood Cinema Stanwood Washington 8/22/2017 8/23/2017
The Flying Monkey Movie House Plymouth New Hampshire 8/21/2017 8/23/2017
Jean Cocteau Cinema Santa Fe New Mexico 8/18/2017 ONE DAY
Panida Theatre Sandpoint Idaho 8/17/2017 8/20/2017
Alamo Drafthouse Mason Park Katy Texas 8/12/2017 ONE DAY
Alamo Drafthouse El Paso Texas 8/12/2017 ONE DAY
Alamo Drafthouse Lubbock Texas 8/12/2017 ONE DAY
Cinema 21 Portland Oregon 8/11/2017 8/24/2017
Regal Destiny USA Stadium 19 IMAX Syracuse New York 8/3/2017 ONE DAY
All Saints Cinema Tallahassee Florida 7/28/2017 8/6/2017
Darkside Cinema Corvallis Oregon 7/28/2017 8/10/2017
Little Art Theatre Yellow Springs Ohio 7/24/2017 7/30/2017
Varsity Theatre Seattle Washington 7/21/2017 8/3/2017
Lincoln Theater Mount Vernon Washington 7/14/2017 7/17/2017
Cinemark Palace At The Plaza Kansas City Missouri 7/12/2017 ONE DAY
Century Regency San Rafael California 7/11/2017 ONE DAY
Harkins Theatres Tucson Spectrum 18 Tucson Arizona 7/7/2017 7/20/2017
The Harkins Flagstaff 16 Flagstaff Arizona 6/30/2017 7/13/2017
The Roxy Theater Missoula Montana 6/30/2017 7/6/2017
Magic Lantern Spokane Washington 6/30/2017 8/31/2017
Capitol Theater Olympia Washington 6/29/2017 7/1/2017
Rosendale Theatre Rosendale New York 6/28/2017 ONE DAY
Limelight Cinema Bellingham Washington 6/23/2017 6/29/2017
Arizona Mills Harkins Theatre Phoenix Arizona 6/23/2017 7/14/2017
The Lyric Fort Collins Colorado 6/23/2017 7/6/2017
Myrna Loy Center Helena Montana 6/23/2017 7/6/2017
Harkins 16 Bricktown Oklahoma City Oklahoma 6/23/2017 7/6/2017
The Clyde Theatre Langley Washington 6/20/2017 6/22/2017
Art House Cinema & Pub Billings Montana 6/16/2017 7/6/2017
Pickford Film Center Bellingham Washington 6/16/2017 6/22/2017
Kiggins Theatre Vancouver Washington 6/16/2017 7/6/2017
Animas City Theatre Durango Colorado 6/9/2017 6/22/2017
Circle Cinema Tulsa Oklahoma 6/2/2017 6/15/2017
Cinemark Oakley Station Cincinnati Ohio 6/1/2017 ONE DAY
Mayan Theatre Denver Colorado 5/26/2017 6/1/2017
Black Mesa Twin Cinema Kayenta Arizona 5/26/2017 6/1/2017
Goen Cinemas Tuba City Tuba City Arizona 5/26/2017 6/1/2017
Goen Cinemas Window Rock Window Rock Arizona 5/26/2017 6/1/2017
Esquire Theatre Denver Colorado 5/19/2017 5/25/2017
Lagoon Cinema Minneapolis Minnesota 5/19/2017 6/15/2017
Mary Riepma Ross Media Arts Center Lincoln Nebraska 5/19/2017 5/25/2017
Capitol Cinema Aberdeen South Dakota 5/12/2017 5/25/2017
Mayan Theatre Denver Colorado 5/11/2017 ONE DAY
Terrace Theater Charleston South Carolina 5/10/2017 ONE DAY
AMC Inc Dutch Square 14 Columbia South Carolina 5/10/2017 ONE DAY
Studio Move Grill Dallas Royal Lane Dallas Texas 5/10/2017 ONE DAY
Alamo Drafthouse Village Austin Texas 5/10/2017 ONE DAY
Sierra Theaters Grass Valley California 5/9/2017 ONE DAY
Carmike Theater Fort Collins Colorado 5/8/2017 ONE DAY
Grand Makwa Cinema Onamia Minnesota 5/5/2017 5/18/2017
Alamo Drafthouse Winchester Winchester Virginia 5/2/2017 ONE DAY
River Cinema 15 East Grand Forks Minnesota 4/28/2017 5/11/2017
Marcus Lakes 10 Cinema Hermantown Minnesota 4/28/2017 5/18/2017
Marcus West Acres 14 Cinema Fargo North Dakota 4/28/2017 5/4/2017
The Elks Theatre Rapid City South Dakota 4/28/2017 ONE DAY
The Tower Theatre Sacramento California 4/27/2017 ONE DAY
Apex Theatres Village 8 Louisville Kentucky 4/27/2017 ONE DAY
Mindframe Theaters Dubuque Iowa 4/24/2017 5/4/2017
Marcus Elk River Cinema Elk River Minnesota 4/21/2017 5/18/2017
Jean Cocteau Cinema Santa Fe New Mexico 4/21/2017 6/5/2017
Marcus Green Bay East Cinema Green Bay Wisconsin 4/21/2017 5/4/2017
Marcus Ho-Chunk Cinema Tomah Wisconsin 4/21/2017 5/4/2017
The Grand Cinema Tacoma Washington 4/20/2017 6/8/2017
Laemmle Playhouse 7 Pasadena California 4/18/2017 ONE DAY
United Artists Tara Cinemas 4 Atlanta Georgia 4/13/2017 ONE DAY
Grand 15 Theatres Bismarck North Dakota 3/30/2017 4/20/2017
Cresco Opera House Cresco Iowa 3/11/2017 ONE DAY
CineMagic Cinema 7 Washington Square Detroit Lakes Minnesota 3/10/2017 3/16/2017
Odyssey Grand 8 Theatre Watertown South Dakota 3/10/2017 3/16/2017
Ganondagan State Historic Site Victor New York 2/26/2017 ONE DAY
CEC Theatres Bemidji Minnesota 2/24/2017 3/9/2017
CineMagic Hollywood 12 Rochester Minnesota 2/24/2017 3/9/2017
7th Generation Cinema Eagle Butte South Dakota 2/24/2017 3/2/2017
Yakama Nation Heritage Theater Toppenish Washington 2/24/2017 3/2/2017
Red Barn Theatre Hendricks Minnesota 2/3/2017 2/10/2017
Nunpa Theater Kyle South Dakota 1/20/2017 1/26/2017
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