"Nothing is better than five weeks of word of mouth in a movie theater."
Even in the DIY world that is supposedly exploding with new opportunities, that conventional wisdom--spoken by producer John Hart some years ago--is still true. Yes, we must all explore the online future (and participate in and cover endless panels and Twitter debates that don't seem to advance the topic very far) but as demonstrated by young DIY filmmaker Daryl Wein and his co-producer/writer/star and girlfriend Zoe Lister Jones, it was worth plowing their $35,000 advance from IFC Films into booking their new relationship comedy Breaking Upwards in theaters in six cities.
IFC is backing an IFC Fest On-Demand VOD release a year after Breaking Upwards' debut at SXSW. So far the VOD clicks are in the thousands, not hundreds of thousands. So the young duo are trying to build WOM. The film opened well in one theater in New York, but its per-screen average was cut in half when it also played a Los Angeles theater last weekend. Next up: San Francisco.
Check out my flip-cam interviews, the trailer, and a Funny-or-Die Martin video below.
While the NYT made a fuss over the couple's $15,000 micro-budget and story based on their experimentation with an open relationship, the reason this movie is popping out from the fray of emerging filmmakers is that it is well-shot, tightly-written, sexy, entertaining, and puts New York theater actors like Andrea Martin to good use (the cast got SAG low-budget minimum).
The real question is what happens next. Lister Jones has been landing TV and film work and a role in the upcoming Angelina Jolie picture Salt. Wein, repped by Gersh, is looking to move to the next level and make some money by actually financing and getting paid to direct his follow-up scripts. He'd settle for $100,000.
Funny or Die Andrea Martin Video: