IFC unspooled “The Canyons” on only one New York City screen this weekend, where it earned $15,200. While VOD streaming numbers won’t be available until mid-week, the film topped out at number two on iTunes’ indie films chart and fluctuated just outside the top 10 over the course of the weekend.
Helmer Paul Schrader has dubbed his film a piece of “post-theatrical cinema.” Though not the first to open simultaneously on the VOD market, “The Canyons” is one of the highest profile films and brings again to the forefront a reconsideration of the traditional rules of distribution.
To promote the online bow, IFC Films engaged in a number of marketing efforts tailored to an Internet-age consumer. Schrader and renowned novelist Bret Easton Ellis, who penned the script, held a live opening night Twitter conversation with audiences enjoying the film in real time.
Also, IFC commissioned rapper Kanye West to re-cut and re-score the film’s trailer, playing to two millennial loves: remixing and West. Other online trailers played up the noir elements of the film and focused on star Lindsay Lohan.
The film targets “a community of film lovers who live and breathe in the online world,” said Sundance Selects and IFC topper Jonathan Sehring. “We believe that the film will do most of its business in the digital realm.”
“The Canyons” cost under $1 million to produce, partially funded by the same connected crowd that is the film’s target demo via Kickstarter.