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GH2 shot sci-fi Upstream Color breaks $300,000 mark at the US box office


Andrew Reid
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No studio. He released it on his own. Traveled to different cities presenting and doing Q&As. I'd say that is pretty successful.

He did a good job, a part for releasing the typical starving artist story which will keep viewers away from the theater.

yet with 300k you are still under water big time. of those 300k very little can go back to cover productions costs.

there are so many hidden costs that are never mentioned and this kind of articles and generally are worth more than the "official" cash used to put the gig together.

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He did a good job, a part for releasing the typical starving artist story which will keep viewers away from the theater.
yet with 300k you are still under water big time. of those 300k very little can go back to cover productions costs.
there are so many hidden costs that are never mentioned and this kind of articles and generally are worth more than the "official" cash used to put the gig together.


Where'd you find the production cost?
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Saw the movie earlier today. It may have been the last day too at the theater.

Impressed with the overall look on the big screen with the hack. The story is more psychological thriller to me

but it takes you on a journey of confusion. Its pretty far out there and it does it well. 

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He did a good job, a part for releasing the typical starving artist story which will keep viewers away from the theater.

yet with 300k you are still under water big time. of those 300k very little can go back to cover productions costs.

there are so many hidden costs that are never mentioned and this kind of articles and generally are worth more than the "official" cash used to put the gig together.

 

Um, sorry but, no.  Those "hidden" costs are invariably related to distribution companies and their fees.  That's how the brothers at Miramax built up their company and gained power, by fucking over the filmmakers they distributed for.  If he's releasing this himself...is he roleplaying and giving himself a hard time?  Is that what you're suggesting?

 

The $300,000 for limited theatrical (less than 50 screens at its highest) with no real P+A budget or conventional marketing is rather outstanding (takes $30M to market a film conventionally, according to Soderberg's revelation).  You aren't even looking at the available information to form an educated guess about what's going on here so your statements are exactly the opposite of "educated".   

 

He's also self-releasing it on DVD and streaming, meaning very little overhead.  The limited theatrical and growing word-of-mouth will serve as a mini marketing campaign for the home video release which could easily bring him three to five times the small theatrical business.  How well it does then will ultimately come down to what he actually spent on it (or raised) and what, if any, deferrals are still owed.

 

You won't know the production cost unless he wants it to be known.  There is no authority to IMDB or boxofficemojo or any of these sorts of sites.  They get their information from voluntary sources with no oversight or fact checking or even a means to fact check that sort of information.  Someone sends a number and if their account or previous history is deemed trustworthy it gets posted as if it were fact without a single phone call or e-mail or any follow-up for first party confirmation.

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He did a good job, a part for releasing the typical starving artist story which will keep viewers away from the theater.

yet with 300k you are still under water big time. of those 300k very little can go back to cover productions costs.

there are so many hidden costs that are never mentioned and this kind of articles and generally are worth more than the "official" cash used to put the gig together.

The director wants to keep a lid on the production costs so as not to distract attention away from the film itself. He's doing the opposite of propagating a starving artist narrative. That said, I heard a rumour that the budget was around $50,000.

$300,000 in a month is very acceptable for a small scale, no studio independent release, but if the budget is correct, it's exceptional. Six times the production costs is a great return on investment, especially when he's spending so little on distribution or marketing.

Bare in mind that this is not the only number that counts. Carruth is also making money from every foreign distributor that picks up the film. It's just a little from each country, but it adds up.

 

Although it looks well filmed and acted, i do not get all the excitement.

300k after 4 weeks in the US means nobody is giving a damn about this film.

there is nothing better than releasing a depressing movie to stay unsuccessful.

sorry guys time to wake up!

Talk about negativity. This guy could go out and shoot an upbeat movie in the hopes of chasing success, or he could make what he wants to make, on his own terms, and retain total artistic control over the film and its release. He found a way to do the latter and remain profitable.

That is true success. 

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The director wants to keep a lid on the production costs so as not to distract attention away from the film itself. He's doing the opposite of propagating a starving artist narrative. That said, I heard a rumour that the budget was around $50,000.

$300,000 in a month is very acceptable for a small scale, no studio independent release, but if the budget is correct, it's exceptional. Six times the production costs is a great return on investment, especially when he's spending so little on distribution or marketing.

Bare in mind that this is not the only number that counts. Carruth is also making money from every foreign distributor that picks up the film. It's just a little from each country, but it adds up.

 

Talk about negativity. This guy could go out and shoot an upbeat movie in the hopes of chasing success, or he could make what he wants to make, on his own terms, and retain total artistic control over the film and its release. He found a way to do the latter and remain profitable.

That is true success. 

 

Amen. Shane is well into the black. Critically, and monetarily, which means he will roll into his next project on his own terms.

 

I watched the film earlier tonight via iTunes/AppleTV. It was affecting. Well done. The nuance of the story was beautifully subtle but totally there. And yes, by the way, it looks beautiful. it matters. It's cinema.

 

Gents, ladies, the distribution mold is shattered. Time to make a jail break.

 

I'm in.

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It'll be interesting to see how he handles foreign.  Without the limited theatrical release in the US it's got nothing to get foreign buyers excited (the agents that buy for foreign distributors, I'm not speaking about audiences).  The limited theatrical means he's automatically playing at a different level with them as a given.  Otherwise he'd be lucky to get a couple grand for each market until actual sales figures start coming in and the foreign distribs recoup their fees and costs.  You'd be looking at years to make what he's already made from less than 50 theaters.

 

Lots of schmack gets talked about the average American audience member, often blamed for the blandness and shallow nature of your average Hollywood film but, ironically, the foreign market buyer has as much if not more share of the blame for this because that is the kind of thing that gets sold the easiest and it's the foreign market that's the apple of the eye of the corporate studio machine.

 

Doing a low-overhead, self-release in N. America (maybe even just the USA) to capture a meaningful overseas buy could be an amazingly powerful tactic for the independent.  More than Red State, this is one to keep tabs on from a strategic standpoint most definitely (along with maybe the Devil's Carnival)

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I'm interested to see it! It looks kinda "tree of lifey" from the trailer.  Whether I like it will probably hinge on whether it comes across "try hard" or not...

 

With regard to gear, some shots look better than others and it's never been my favorite camera, but hey, it shows that such kit is good enough so that's a great thing.

 

I have a two-year old film shot on 550D that's still running festivals (last one was filmkunstfest in Germany). No one is really bothered too much about details like overall sharpness, moire and so on if they like the story, but it's a bonus to have them gone, so it's a good thing to always look for better. That's the attitude that lead us here and will lead us forward.

 

This story just gives me more of a push to keep going regardless of budgets. The actors are the most important really, cos the camera is mostly there to capture a performance! Most indies have dire acting, even when the ideas, scripts, sound, music, and camerawork and kit are good, poor acting makes the film shit despite all of the above.

 

I've lost count of the number of times people have bragged about their gear choices and lenses, their anamorphic rigs, shown great stills and then the final work has had such poor/embarrassing performances that you stop it after a minute.

 

You can have millions to play with and a film fall down on performance or scripting. So make friends with actors!

 

I hope this film makes millions, that'd be good for everyone in the long run.

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I'm interested to see it! It looks kinda "tree of lifey" from the trailer.

 I read an article last year saying that Malick was probably the most influential director on the current generation of American independent filmmakers. Seems more true with each passing month.


I hope this film makes millions, that'd be good for everyone in the long run.

It almost certainly will with the video release. Primer found most of its audience on video, and as others have said the theatrical release for this film is in some ways an advertisement for the video release. Carruth is self-distributing, so he could make a nice profit.

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How can you look soft and over sharp at the same time?

 

Budget was $50k I heard.

 

Including funding his own distribution.

 

It's a stunning achievement. Not even released on BluRay or in rest of the world yet. Word of mouth is still growing for the movie. By the time the year is out he's likely to have taken over $1m easily.

 

I think he'll handle Europe / UK in same way he handled the US. Film festival, promotion online, word of mouth, then theatrical run based on some healthy buzz.

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Um, sorry but, no.  Those "hidden" costs are invariably related to distribution companies and their fees.  That's how the brothers at Miramax built up their company and gained power, by fucking over the filmmakers they distributed for.  If he's releasing this himself...is he roleplaying and giving himself a hard time?  Is that what you're suggesting?

 

The $300,000 for limited theatrical (less than 50 screens at its highest) with no real P+A budget or conventional marketing is rather outstanding (takes $30M to market a film conventionally, according to Soderberg's revelation).  You aren't even looking at the available information to form an educated guess about what's going on here so your statements are exactly the opposite of "educated".   

 

He's also self-releasing it on DVD and streaming, meaning very little overhead.  The limited theatrical and growing word-of-mouth will serve as a mini marketing campaign for the home video release which could easily bring him three to five times the small theatrical business.  How well it does then will ultimately come down to what he actually spent on it (or raised) and what, if any, deferrals are still owed.

 

You won't know the production cost unless he wants it to be known.  There is no authority to IMDB or boxofficemojo or any of these sorts of sites.  They get their information from voluntary sources with no oversight or fact checking or even a means to fact check that sort of information.  Someone sends a number and if their account or previous history is deemed trustworthy it gets posted as if it were fact without a single phone call or e-mail or any follow-up for first party confirmation.

 

 

How can you look soft and over sharp at the same time?

 

Budget was $50k I heard.

 

Including funding his own distribution.

 

It's a stunning achievement. Not even released on BluRay or in rest of the world yet. Word of mouth is still growing for the movie. By the time the year is out he's likely to have taken over $1m easily.

 

I think he'll handle Europe / UK in same way he handled the US. Film festival, promotion online, word of mouth, then theatrical run based on some healthy buzz.

Yeah right.... like going around promoting like that costs nothing.

Or do you also think that suppliers and people that showed up for free on shooting days, did not get an agreement beforehand that if the film earn any cash they will be paid?

 

Anyway, if he will make a million he will be fine, but at few hundred k he is receiving a lot of phone calls from people who were on set and thereabouts.

 

My "uneducated" guess comes from having been on two gigs like this one.

One, had an "official" 200k shooting budget and the blessing of Martin Scorsese on the opening score (not one of his pennies though),  it made well at festivals, sold few DVD, plenty of nice people were talking on to each other ears about it, all that kind of BS and cashed a little over a million, yet it was barely enough.

 

take care every one.

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Yeah right.... like going around promoting like that costs nothing.

Or do you also think that suppliers and people that showed up for free on shooting days, did not get an agreement beforehand that if the film earn any cash they will be paid?

 

Anyway, if he will make a million he will be fine, but at few hundred k he is receiving a lot of phone calls from people who were on set and thereabouts.

 

My "uneducated" guess comes from having been on two gigs like this one.

One, had an "official" 200k shooting budget and the blessing of Martin Scorsese on the opening score (not one of his pennies though),  it made well at festivals, sold few DVD, plenty of nice people were talking on to each other ears about it, all that kind of BS and cashed a little over a million, yet it was barely enough.

 

take care every one.

 

I'm sure it was a great movie...

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Yeah right.... like going around promoting like that costs nothing.

Or do you also think that suppliers and people that showed up for free on shooting days, did not get an agreement beforehand that if the film earn any cash they will be paid?

 

Anyway, if he will make a million he will be fine, but at few hundred k he is receiving a lot of phone calls from people who were on set and thereabouts.

 

My "uneducated" guess comes from having been on two gigs like this one.

One, had an "official" 200k shooting budget and the blessing of Martin Scorsese on the opening score (not one of his pennies though),  it made well at festivals, sold few DVD, plenty of nice people were talking on to each other ears about it, all that kind of BS and cashed a little over a million, yet it was barely enough.

 

take care every one.

 

Seems like someones a little sour on this topic, if you knew what it took to make such works, like you mentioned, shouldn't you hope for success for the film maker? Not to mention the possibility that maybe, just maybe, not all independent film making are the same experience? We don't know the factors, but if the rumor of 50K was the budget, im sure people where paid to do their jobs or maybe a possible % gross of the profits? Thats also beyond the fact that someone made a short film thats doing well? Those 2 gigs you worked on must have been real truble to leave such a horrible after taste...

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The $300,000 for limited theatrical (less than 50 screens at its highest) with no real P+A budget or conventional marketing is rather outstanding (takes $30M to market a film conventionally, according to Soderberg's revelation).  You aren't even looking at the available information to form an educated guess about what's going on here so your statements are exactly the opposite of "educated".   

Actually it can cost a lot more than $30M to market a film. With animated films the budget for marketing is usually similar to budget to make the film, 100-150M.

 

Hats off to this guy for doing it his own way, esp with a GH2

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His success is good for anyone with aspirations of one day making their own feature and getting it to an audience.  Not the fake indies from kids who grew up in Hollywood royalty or the 1% commercial directors who made their millions :30 and :60 at a time already much less the vanity project of an aging actor/actress.  

 

Measurable success for this film is one of those good indicator thangs, on several levels.

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