Can Critics’s Awards and Top Ten Mentions Boost Revenues for Independent Films?

Filmmaker Magazine | 1/14/2019 | Anthony Kaufman
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by Anthony Kaufman

in Columns, Distribution, Filmmaking

Critics - Critics - Ten - Lists - Matter

Do critics matter? Maybe. But do critics’ top ten lists matter?

There’s little doubt within the industry that an Academy Award nomination (or win) can provide an extraordinary boost to a film’s profile, especially smaller independent films who need the long tail of awards recognition more than most. Think of last year’s The Florida Project or Faces Places. But what about all those year-end numerical rankings and lists, proffered by that dwindling professional entity known as the film critic? He’s no Oscar, but when the New York Times’ A.O. Scott puts your little film at the top of his year-end list, how (financially) beneficial is it?

Distributors - Critics - Rankings - Cineaste - Practice

Some distributors say that annual critics’ rankings are a mere insular cineaste’s practice that doesn’t provide any significant sales bump. But others we spoke with point to concrete evidence to the contrary, with noticeable increases in eyeballs and sales.

Lee Chang-dong’s Burning, for instance, which was ranked #2 on influential New York Times critic Manohla Dargis’ Top 10, won runner-up for Best Picture from the Los Angeles Film Critics Circle, and whose co-star Steven Yeun has received Best Supporting Actor prizes from the National Society of Film Critics, the L.A. Film Critics, and Indiewire’s Critics Poll, saw an uptick in its box-office grosses in December, seven weeks after it opened.

Lists - December - Grosses - Dylan - Marchetti

“We found that once the year-end lists started to hit, beginning in December, the grosses started to go up,” says Dylan Marchetti, SVP, Acquisitions & Theatrical Distribution at Well Go USA, which opened Burning in October.

According to Marchetti, they’re now reopening the film in theaters where it’s already played, and finding better results than its original run. At Laemelle’s Glendale theater, the film saw a 40% increase from when it first opened (roughly $2,700 compared with a more recent gross of...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Filmmaker Magazine
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