ARC Entertainment, the distributor of “The Undefeated,” the film about Gov. Sarah Palin’s rise from obscurity to national prominence, announced today that through Saturday night the film had a stronger opening than expected with the large markets trending towards weekend per screen averages above $10,000 driven by multiple sold-out runs. The film had accumulated approximately $5,000 per screen through Saturday night. Unique in the theatrical feature world, The Undefeated was rushed to select digital theatres in only 3 weeks, and was marketed almost entirely through social media and grass roots efforts, with virtually no traditional media spend. With the strong initial showing, the film is going to a wider release footprint later this month, with details being announced soon.
The film opened in 10 markets on Friday including Atlanta, GA, Dallas, TX, Houston, TX, Denver, CO, Phoenix, AZ, Orlando, FL, Indianapolis, IN, Kansas City, MO, Oklahoma City, OK and Orange, CA.
“We are extremely pleased with the audience reaction, which has been over-the-top enthusiastic and very passionate, including standing ovations at most screenings,” said Trevor Drinkwater, CEO of ARC Entertainment, the film’s distributor. “We expect word-of-mouth to keep ticket sales strong and we will definitely expand the film to a wider national audience. With merely three weeks of preparation and a virtually non-existent traditional advertising spend, the film did exceptionally well. ” .
“We have been told the theaters in Phoenix, Atlanta, Denver and Indianapolis moved the film to bigger screens to accommodate oversized crowds. Because of high-ticket sales, the Phoenix theater put ‘The Undefeated’ on two screens during one showing to accommodate demand,” stated Andy Badolato, VP Marketing and Business Development of Victory Film Group and Associate Producer of “The Undefeated.”
Over the weekend reports also documented the strong ticket sales and enthusiastic audience reaction. Reuters reported, “It may not be ‘Harry Potter,’ but another film featuring a bespectacled protagonist is racking up strong pre-sales before its national roll-out this weekend.” AOL’s Patch reported, “Reactions from filmgoers attending the screening were overwhelmingly positive.” The Brisbane Times of Australia reported, “‘The Undefeated,’ a documentary tracing Sarah Palin’s rise to political power, has opened in US theatres to overwhelmingly positive opinion.”
“ARC Entertainment and its digital distribution partner Cinedigm did an incredible job opening weekend,” said Stephen K. Bannon, the film’s writer and director. “This was a high risk bet- a national release in ten disparate markets with only three weeks preparation supported solely by social media. What would have taken months and cost millions in P & A, ARC Entertainment and Cinedigm accomplished within a month with negligible costs. This film will find its audience because of its appeal and our savvy distribution partners.”
“The Undefeated is the perfect example of how digital cinema can benefit both producers and audiences,” said Jill Newhouse Calcaterra, chief marketing officer at Cinedigm. “Starting with theatre location selection, we worked quickly – with precision accuracy- to generate a terrific box office result with virtually no marketing dollars. This is a new model that is going to benefit the entire entertainment industry and audiences who want to see unique products.”
“The combination of passionate audience response, sustained standing ovations and in-theater Twittering convinces us that this is a special film that will have incredible word-of-mouth,” said Glenn Bracken Evans, Victory Film Group co-founder. “The film’s website www.theundefeatedmovie.com has received hundreds of thousands of hits. I am truly amazed that in certain markets we will hit or exceed the $10,000 per screen mark given that we had absolutely no electronic media spend and only booked the theaters weeks ago. I’m particularly amazed we accomplished this in Phoenix and Orange County, two of the country’s most competitive markets during one of the toughest summer weekends and up against Harry Potter.”