Ever coming to a theater near me?
January 27, 2008 6:46 PM   Subscribe

How can you find out if a certain independent film will be coming out in a wide release?

The movie in question is Teeth. When IMDB and the movies website fail to offer any information is there anyway to find out when(if ever?) the film will be in a wide theatrical release?
posted by Funky Claude to Media & Arts (9 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
If a wide release was planned, I would expect it to be listed on the movie's official site. I'm not sure how this kind of thing works, but I imagine that for most independent films wide release is dependent on how it does during its limited run.
posted by saraswati at 6:51 PM on January 27, 2008

I don't have a direct answer, but generally independent movies do not get a wide release. They hardly ever get billing at your local multiplex. I live in Orange County, so we always get them at 1 or 2 theaters.
posted by Brocktoon at 6:53 PM on January 27, 2008

according to this site, wide release comes in February.
posted by ncc1701d at 7:03 PM on January 27, 2008

Two week run starting January 18 in NY and LA. No wide release. Dvd will hit stores in maybe 4 months.
posted by cazoo at 8:46 PM on January 27, 2008

It opened in San Jose, CA on 25 Jan. Looks like a limited release.
posted by doncoyote at 11:09 PM on January 27, 2008

There is no way to know if the film will definitely get a wide release, for a few reasons.

When distributors put out a smaller movie like "Teeth," they often rely on a platform release -- that is, they start in a few key cities that have markets the distributors think will react well to the movie, and they open the film there. They'll target certain theatres in what they perceive are receptive neighborhoods, and they'll see how things go. New York and Los Angeles are usually first on the list, and then San Francisco, Chicago, Atlanta, Seattle, Austin, you get the idea.

So let's say the movie does well in its first couple of weeks. It has a high per-screen average, and it's playing well at every venue. There might be just a dozen screens around the country showing the movie. So then they'll expand. This takes a lot of planning, and the expansion strategy is often already in place before the movie is released. They've got city-specific print and radio ads prepared (and maybe a few TV spots, but probably not many), they've got the prints of the movie ready to be made, and they've got relationships with theatre exhibitors who might be primed for the film. Depending on how a movie does in certain areas, they'll tailor their expansion to match the performance of the film at the screens already showing it. But this can change at a moment's notice -- an exhibitor can be muscled into showing something else by another distributor, the distributor can ask for a larger cut than the exhibtor wants to give, or another movie might break huge suddenly and need the screen space. You never know. These things don't happen often, but they do happen. On the flip side, sometimes a movie will get thrown up on a screen simply because another film is flopping big, and the exhibitor needs something to put in its place. Often when a movie is sold, the distributor will make promises to the sellers in the contract to open the movie in a specific number of cities and spend a certain amount of money on advertising. This can have an impact, obviously, on where the movie will open as well.

Specifically regarding "Teeth," it opened on four screens on the 18th, expanded to 16 last Friday, and it grossed 4200 per theatre this weekend, which is solid if not great. Considering that in the independent world, distributing a movie can cost more than making that movie, you can see why a distributor might spend a little money on seeing how a movie performs in a few spots, and then pull back if it looks like the movie isn't tapping into the zeitgeist. My bet is that they'll hold at 16 theatres for next weekend and see what happens, and if there's little uptick from this week to next, it won't open in any other cities.
posted by incessant at 12:42 AM on January 28, 2008 [3 favorites]

Having watched Teeth (and enjoyed it greatly!), I don't believe this movie will make it to a wide release. Certainly it might make it to more than 16 cities, but it's just too "weird" to really be profitable on the larger scale. Their website seems to be updated relatively frequently though, so I'd check that for information in case I'm wrong in my prediction.
posted by explosion at 7:17 AM on January 28, 2008

Thanks! Hopefully I'll get to catch it on DVD if it never comes to a city near me.
posted by Funky Claude at 11:42 AM on January 28, 2008

Great answer Incessant!
posted by Brocktoon at 8:16 PM on January 28, 2008

« Older Is there a batch file command that closes a dialog...   |   To drug or not to drug? That is the question... Newer »
This thread is closed to new comments.