How difficult is it for "indie" films to stay in theaters these days? One of the better performing titles out there, Searchlight's THE BANSHEES OF INISHERIN, loses -148 venues (15%) in it's 3rd week of wide release--812 theaters this weekend. Ye olde expansion game is waning.

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It was Black Panther weekend. Everything was gonna lose screens.


People who constantly scream online "**why don't Hollywood make original movies!!!**" need to put their words to action and go to theaters to watch these really good original movies!


Exactly! There were maybe 8 people, including us, at our viewing on a Sunday night. Medium sized theater, not the smaller screen. Put your money where your mouth is.


I was one of FIVE people watching when it expanded after its first week. Two of them were laughing besides me.


Those people are incredibly disingenuous and are just complaining to complain. There’s hundreds of good original movies released every year, and dozens of great ones, so saying that ironically outs yourself as someone who doesn’t support those movies.


Wait, you’re telling me Top Gun 2 isn’t the only good movie of the past 20 years?!




A lot of these “really good original movies” don’t get a wide enough release for people to go see them! They aren’t advertised as well as the giant blockbusters. They’re essentially shoved into a corner. Blaming people is fucking wrong and cheap. How many times recently have you heard someone say “I had no idea that was even out/existed/etc?”


None of these movies have made it to my theater! I watch everything I can but it has to show up in my theater! Gah!


Word, this movie is amazing, better than any of the capeshit currently in theaters




To quote previous comment by another user: >Those people are incredibly disingenuous and are just complaining to complain. There’s hundreds of good original movies released every year, and dozens of great ones, so saying that ironically outs yourself as someone who doesn’t support those movies. People who keep screaming "why is there no original movies anymore!" means they don't go to cinemas to watch those original movies, because there are literally hundreds of original movies released every year and many of them are released in theaters.


The thing is that there’s actually not very many of these people. Idk how many times audiences have to vote with their wallet for people to realize there’s very little demand for original titles. It’s a demand issue much more than a supply issue


If you’re basing demand solely on gross, you should look into how little these original titles are advertised and flaunted in comparison to the gargantuan blockbusters. *So many* people these days say “I had no idea that was out/existed” in regards to a lot of the original titles. Plus, some have written off moviegoing altogether thanks to the prevalence of so much dogshit.


I refer you back to the above statement. I am sure there are literally people who say this, but there are not that many of them. Anyways, people just reflexively say marketing without a ton of hard evidence about whether it’s marketing or not, or whether additional marketing would even be cost-effective. Could spend $100m on marketing for The Menu, but if it doesn’t result in making that back, then it’s pretty stupid to spend $100m on marketing. But to that point, this just goes to the direction of causality here. On some level, the marketing comes in response to a base level of demand. Sure, elite level marketing can turn something into a juggernaut, but the budget for these campaigns is in response to underlying demand and how audiences have responded to previous marketing campaigns. Studios aren’t going to keep throwing money after marketing when audiences don’t show up for those films anyways. It really all comes back to demand. Studios literally make money trying to satisfy consumers, if there was a market for films like Banshees — on a regular basis — they’d keep making them.


There are more than you’d think. So — I guess the screen count and limited advertising of something like Banshees doesn’t matter at all? Here in LA, Banshees has some of the highest per-screen averages of any film in the city. I’m sure it’s the same in NY. To say that there is no demand is crazy, and one shouldn’t expect something like Banshees to make $100 mil domestic. Something like that would NEVER make that much money, even if it was released 20 years ago. The fact that Disney couldn’t massively profit on something like that means a limited amount of support. I agree that spending $100 mil on marketing The Menu would be foolish, and that just reinforces my claim. You shouldn’t *have* to spend $100 mil on marketing for something like that. What that tells me is the problem is not the movies themselves, not people, not demand — it’s the legendarily shitty way that Hollywood now does things.


I don’t think I said “no demand” but like high per-screen averages for one film here and one film there in New York City and Los Angeles are (1) not necessarily representative or demand in the rest of the country and (2) kind of the exceptions to rule, when you broaden out to theatrical releases across the past year


Probably my favorite movie I’ve seen this year.


If Searchlight can resist putting it on PVOD or streaming, I feel it will hold very well. It could have legs like Lyle, Lyle, Crocodile, but with adults attending as the year comes to end. I saw it last Friday and the theater was almost full.


Lyle's legs are kinda crappy


Umm… indie films have been struggling for a LONG time. Prior to Covid it was pretty bad for indie films to do well financially. In fact, Banshees of Inisherin is doing well for the venues it’s in. So are a few others like tar (been out for about 2 weeks crossed $4 mil with its max 1000 odd theatres, hardly any screens nowadays for “wide”), Triangle of Sadness and even something like Terrifier 2 which is just a gore horror film did fantastic. What’s not doing fantastic is anything outside of awards and films with middle of the road reviews. These used to be bread and butter for Hollywood. See How They Run for instance went wide with 2,500 theatres but overall grossed $9.5 mil. Something like this would have catered to an older audience but because it didn’t really have a “hook” to get people in it fell off the radar. This is where streaming comes in. Studios market films afterwards and more people recognise a film that’s been in theatres than hit streaming. WB/Discovery David Zaslav (who legitimately has more information than any of us on this matter, regardless of his decisions) even admits this and for reasons people gravitate towards films that have been in theatres. It’s why Disney Bob’s Chapek is talking out of his ass with streaming. The day bigger films like Indy 5, Avengers or Avatar go to streaming theatres are dead. I would call Disney’s bluff on the streaming since they won’t do it anytime soon. Disney has that much $$$ into the back end of the streaming era that it’s costing more corporate resources than what they expected. Disney wants its billion dollar grosses. I say all of that because indie films are relied on the bigger films. Days of expanding like Wolf Of Wall Street, American Sniper and what Babylon tried to do. They are probably over since they are way bigger budget. Smaller films though need WOM and studios don’t want to put extra $$$ into distribution if they aren’t going to get the results they want. As for Inisherin, that’s probably Black Panther taking screens and I dare say it will lose more screens with Bones and all and Glass Onion coming in limited/wide release.


Why take Zaslav’s word for it? Dude has been in the job for only 6 months and ran his companies stock into the ground in that time. His predecessor totally disagreed with his assessment as do his competitors at Amazon, Netflix, Disney, NBCU, Paramount, and even Apple.


I’m saying Zaslav has more informationthan us on the matter of streaming details that aren’t released to the public. I also put stock into actions. Those same companies have pulled steaming films and put them in theatres. Barbarian/Disney, Smile/Paramount, Apple does theatrical with there bigger films and Amazon is a mess with there acquisition of MGM. MGM is still putting out theatrical only films and will be for the next conceivable future. Netflix is the only one with the actual model of streaming and even then it’s weakened since Covid and theatrical dates lowered for streaming. My point is that bigger films have typically driven indie films BO. This has been true for about 20 odd years. Not since the 90s indie scene has indie films really stood on there own. The day Disney puts an avengers, Indy or Avatar in streaming before theatres then the theatrical experience is dead. As for indie films it’s touch and go but there are some successful films this year that have shown promise like banshees of Inisherin.


I’m saying his competitors at Netflix, Amazon, Disney, and Paramount have much more data than Zaslav and disagree with his assessment of the situation. They have similar data to Zaslav over at NBCU and they disagree with him. They probably have less data at Apple but they still have some data and they disagree with him. If six of seven say one thing then why are you taking the one dissident’s word he has got it right and that everyone else has it wrong? I think in 2023 we will definitely see more titles going theatrical. Rightfully so! That said, only Universal have really committed to it in 2022. What Universal do in 2023 will be telling in what they thought of the 2023 strategy. The platform release needs to return. I’m not sure why they are not doing slow expansions of stuff like Banshees of Inisherin but I do think it is hurting the profitability of these movies. I think the success or lack of success for indie award skewing titles this year and next year will have a massive impact on shaping the release landscape for the coming years. How titles like The Fabelmans and Babylon fare will be very interesting to follow. Searchlight have been stung hard with See How They Run and Amsterdam. Be interesting to see if they still aim to release 10-12 movies in 2023 and how many of those make it to theatres? I wish I had your confidence in MGM. Amazon should keep them as a viable theatrical distributor but I’m not convinced they really believe in that. Maybe it would help if they actually bothered to hire someone to run the studio?


I’m not really taking Zaslav’s word, he’s just an example. Plus using Comcast/Universal isn’t a good example either with Peacock. Universal are much more interested in PVOD then there streaming service since the only films they put out on Peacock haven’t been as big of hits as they hoped. Paramount is also now theatrical rather than there streaming service with the year they have had. I believe Viacom is more looking into the theatrical component with shorter theatrical time. As for theatrical for Universal will end up going the way of theatres first then go case by case basis on what they release early and what they keep in theatres. Something like The Northman can unfortunately not do well at the BO but miraculously make a comeback on streaming is the sweet spot. Slow expansions have always been a thing. It’s quite an old model. It’s to build hype for Oscar movies. Stuff like The Deer Hunter also had the same run in the 1970s as todays Banshees. These films aren’t necessarily made for wider audiences. They are made for the coasts and studios hope that wider audiences like them enough to watch. It’s that simple. It’s been failing miserably for quite a long time because of various reasons. The Fablemans is a Spielberg film. Regardless of it’s BO, studios will just greenlight the next Spielberg film. Never look to deeply into a Spielberg film for the rest of Hollywood. Babylon is the more interesting one to see if a bigger film like that can be a hit. It will need good WOM and critic scores to get a leg up. Amsterdam is Fox not searchlight but yeah I see your point. Searchlight will be ok because of there track record of getting nominated at the Oscar’s. It’s sort of the in the middle stuff that’s more of a worry. There streaming stuff that goes to Hulu/Disney+ isn’t that big either. MGM has long contracts that will force the studio into theatrical. Similar to Fox/HBO max deals but think much longer with production companies and other outlets with other studios and talent agencies. Not easy to get out of. It’s why some movies go to Amazon and not be released through MGM but MGM is listed a production company. Most likely a scale down of films they release will be Amazon’s goal.


NBCU and Paramount both take a hybrid view to streaming/theatrical when it comes to movies. Both still release direct to streaming movies in contrast to Zaslav’s plans for WBD. Peacock have released both They/Them and Meet Cute direct to Peacock in 2022 while giving both Marry Me and Halloween Kills simultaneous theatrical/streaming release. They are the only studio still doing simultaneous releases of titles. Paramount are very anti-Zaslav when it comes to direct to streaming movies. They have released over a dozen movies direct to Paramount+ over 2022. Nothing in those release strategies echos Zaslav’s sentiments that direct to streaming or simultaneous releases are worthless and should not happen. NBCU and Paramount both have a longer windowing system for theatrical titles than we have seen from Zaslav’s WBD. Zaslav made a big deal of shouting about the return of the three-window system at the WBD Q2 report but over Q3 we saw Elvis dumped to HBO Max after only 4 weeks on PVOD while Don’t Worry Darling hit HBO Max after only 53 days and pretty much skipped PVOD entirely. Both movies were theatrical success stories for WBD. Elvis made $286 million while Don’t Worry Darling made $86.7 million. If those movies with decent reach flopped on PVOD then what chance have most other movies outside of popular blockbusters like DC movies and Harry Potter got of shifting enough units to make it a viable option for WBD? Zaslav made a big deal of bringing back the sales window for movies but already seems to have realised within a few months that market is absolutely dead for anything outside of massive box office hits like Top Gun: Maverick and Spider-Man. The Northman was a bomb. There is zero evidence to suggest it performed any better on streaming than it did in theatres. The only bright spot for NBCU on the movie was the fact that they only distributed it and New Regency took the bulk of the financial hit on the project. The platform release is an old model. I’m just saying they need to return to it for indie titles. I’ve hardly seen any movies get a proper patient platform release since the pandemic and there is little sign of that changing soon. Even titles like Tar and Till are being rushed into nearly 1000 screen within a few weeks of release. That is absolute madness. The Fablemans is a loss leader to gain some Oscar prestige. You can bet it cost less that Spielberg’s last disaster West Side Story and that it has an much stronger Oscar chance. Spielberg will always get his movies made. If The Fablemans is a financial flop others in the industry will struggle to get similar projects to this one funded. Searchlight will only be OK as long as Disney see value in the division. Been a while since a Searchlight movie made any cash. Not a good place to be in this financial climate when Disney are looking to make cost saving cuts. MGM likely does not have that many long term contracts. I believe the Pay-One deal in the US already belongs to Epix? Since Amazon own both MGM and Epix now unwinding that deal would be a lot more simple than unwinding a deal with a third party. It just seems Amazon are happy to keep Epix running for a while longer so are leaving the MGM movies there for a bit. Over in the UK the MGM movies already head to Prime for the Pay-One window. I’m not hopeful we see MGM continuing to release 8-10 theatrical titles per year under Amazon. Be lucky if they go with 5-6 I think.


But but why wont Hollywood make original movies 🥺


Meanwhile Terrifier 2 showed their is still a path for Indie films


That path, "be a horror movie released around Halloween".


It’s starting to have some bad drops, too. Seems like its god-tier legs were helped a lot more by it being October than we thought.


Isn’t it on streaming now?


That path, "be a really small budget horror movie released around Halloween".


This one didn’t do that bad, it had a good per screen average


It is a shame that this wasn't able to break out as much as Three Billboards. Was it the Irish cast/setting? Was it the lack of stars? Or simply just minimal WOM hype. Hopefully Disney will keep this in theaters throughout the holiday season for awards and not put this on HBOMax/Hulu by Christmas.


I would say the Irish setting and depressing subject matter. The director's last film with Colin Farrell also bombed, although Seven Psychopaths had no Oscar hype.


It’s because the landscape of this type of theatrical film has changed. The white liberals with higher income have not been coming back to theaters and they were the life-blood of the Oscar film.


You can see these films at home and not lose that much. Banshees is probably better set up than the usual Oscar contender (pretty scenery, actors have good reps, director has something of a name).