When a movie is titled “John Dies at the End,” it can make for a tricky sell.
Then again, that’s part of the film’s appeal, along with the cult following of director Don Coscarelli (“The Beastmaster,” “Bubba Ho-Tep”) and star Paul Giamatti. The pic, which opened Jan. 25 via Magnolia at the Nuart theater in Los Angeles, scored a strong $12,467 debut per-screen average.
“It was a raucous party of an event,” says producer Andy Meyers, describing the film’s opening-night crowd. “It was a genre audience that was starving for this kind of movie, especially from Don Coscarelli.”
The pic, which Coscarelli wrote based on a story by David Wong, tells the tale of a new black-market drug that sends users across time and dimension, and occasionally can return them as something other than human.
The movie was produced for less than seven figures.
Magnolia released the film on VOD on Dec. 27, targeted to lead up to the theatrical release, which expands next to New York, then San Francisco, Chicago, Dallas, Philadelphia and Portland, Ore.
The film’s life on the festival circuit has included stops at Sundance, SXSW and Toronto, which Meyers says has put it on the global radar.
“We’re getting calls from Russia to New Zealand,” he maintains.
So for “John Dies at the End,” this may only be the beginning.