Back at this year's Sundance Film Festival, a bunch of folks were "losing it" over Jonathan Levine's The Wackness -- saying, to a certain extent, that it was the dopest flick of the fest. And that's cool. Support those films you love, right? Well, not long after the film premiered at Sundance, it was acquired by Sony Pictures Classics. Wonderful! A film a lot of people loved was picked up and would hit theaters at some point later in the year. Ah, but all was not well in blogger land -- see, a few bloggers were disgusted that SPC picked it up, going so far as to send an email around trying to get other people to either join their cause and/or write about it. Their reasoning was that SPC had a poor track record when it came to promoting indie films, and were afraid The Wackness would become yet another casualty. That it would disappear in limited release ... and be eaten by a Cabbage Patch Kid, or whatever.
And so it was. Some folks agreed with their cause, while others couldn't understand why they'd be upset when, in reality, their favorite film WOULD eventually hit theaters. You can't say that about every Sundance film, or festival film for that matter, and so the simple act of being picked up for distribution is, well, kind of a big deal. After a flurry of posts from a few different blogs which attacked the deal, attacked the teaser poster and then attacked the first teaser trailer, it all seemed to fizzle out. From that point on, SPC continued to poor on the Wackness marketing: We got roughly four or five different trailers, a poster, a viral campaign, a dope website, TV spots and a slick soundtrack.
Was SPC botching it all up? Hardly ... but then came the film's box office debut this past weekend ... ... and it absolutely knocked the ball out of the park. On a total of six screens, The Wackness averaged $24,166. For an indie film opening in two cities on six screens, those numbers are pretty frickin' awesome. To give you an example, Hancock averaged $16,645 per screen (though it opened on thousands of more screens). Still, that's a pretty impressive opening, and, honestly, you have to owe a lot of that to Sony Pictures Classics. They advertised the hell out of this little flick (you can see ads for it on our site and other sites) and their choosing to screen at both the Tribeca Film Festival and The Los Angeles Film Festival was wicked smaht. Not only did it raise awareness in both NYC and LA (the two cities the film was opening up in), but it also created the initial buzz which ultimately lead to a very rewarding opening weekend.
And where are those bloggers now? They're still writing about The Wackness and how it enjoyed such an awesome opening weekend. Are they congratulating SPC on a job well done? Nope. Not at all. SPC gets little to no mention on any of those other sites. But we want to congratulate SPC on a job well done. Because without their aggressive marketing campaign, this film might have disappeared. God knows if The Wackness didn't open big, those other blogs would've come out with their knives sharpened and pointed directly at Sony Classics. Since it did open big, it's only right to salute the folks who made smart decisions and took a chance on a small film during a time usually reserved for movies with ginormous budgets and big, shiny special effects.
God job Sony Pictures Classics! Here's hoping The Wackness is just as successful when it expands to the following cities throughout the month ...
Raleigh / Durham / Chapel Hill
Miami / Ft. Lauderdale / West Palm
Salt Lake City