AMC Theaters has taken a unique approach to support “Cinderella Man”: It’s offering moviegoers their money back if they don’t like the Russell Crowe pugilist pic.
Since opening on June 3, pic has struggled to reach $50 million at the box office, disappointing its studio, Universal Pictures.
But AMC spokeswoman Pam Blase said Dick Walsh, head film buyer, and Phil Singleton, chain prexy, came up with the promo as a way to encourage people to give the film a chance.
“We felt it was getting lost and we needed to bring more attention to it,” Blase said.
The last time AMC ran a similar promo was in 1988 for “Mystic Pizza.”
The “Cinderella Man” offer ran in several major newspapers, including the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as their online ticketing site, Movietickets.com.
According to the Times ad, “AMC believes ‘Cinderella Man’ is one of the finest motion pictures of the year! We believe so strongly that you’ll enjoy ‘Cinderella Man’ we’re offering a Money Back Guarantee.”
According to the fine print, refunds are available “on the spot” the day of the show. Promo went into effect last weekend, and AMC said it only had a “handful” of refund requests.
U distrib prexy Nikki Rocco said the promotion was AMC’s idea, but the studio appreciates the effort. “They always were vocal about how much they loved the movie, and they said we’ve got to do something to stimulate people to go,” she said. “I give them lots of ‘attaboys’ for being so bold.”
Since AMC’s refund offer, U said exhib chain Cinemark has called with an offer to run a similar promo in a few of its markets as well.
She said it’s too soon to tell the impact of the promo, which went into effect at AMC houses last Friday, but overall the pic has started to hold in there. Despite losing nearly a thousand playdates last weekend, grosses on the pic were down last weekend, its fourth frame, just 38% to $3.3 million.