Kevin Smith's RED STATE Tour: Big Numbers But Not Even Close To Projections

Founder and Editor; Toronto, Canada (@AnarchistTodd)
Kevin Smith's RED STATE Tour: Big Numbers But Not Even Close To Projections
Kevin Smith, you may have a problem.

When Smith announced his self distribution plans for Red State at Sundance a major factor in making the numbers work was his claim that the pre-release personal tour of the film - in which Smith and cast members charge a premium fee of between $40 and $100 per ticket to see the film and take questions from the audience after the show - would, on its own, recoup a full half of the four million production budget. Well, show one is in the bag and the numbers have been reported so let's break out the calculators and see if all is well.

I should say before getting into this that, yes, I'm well aware that a single showing is not a large enough sample base to make accurate prediction but a) I'm betting that the New York Radio City Music Hall show is going to be one of the bigger shows, not one of the smaller ones, which means my numbers should err on the large side, if anything and, b) it's kind of like baseball. We all know projections in the first month are crap but they're fun to do anyway.

Right. Break out your calculators, here we go.

Point one: Smith's claim is that the 15 stop Red State road show will generate two million dollars towards recouping the budget of the film.

Point two: Stop one on the Red State tour, at New York City's Radio City Music Hall, grossed a reported $161K in ticket sales from an audience of roughly 3800. That's an average ticket price of $42 - thank you, Douglas Adams - and a pretty damn spectacular return for a single night.

Point three: Smith was also selling assorted View Askew merchandise at the event but I'm not including those revenues both because they weren't reported and because they're irrelevant. They're not connected to the actual film at hand and go back to Smith and co's pocket, not to the producers of Red State. It would be like counting concession sales towards box office at a regular theater.

Point four: The reported rental rate of Radio City Music Hall is sixty thousand dollars. So knock that off the take.

Point five: Smith, John Goodman, Stephen Root and Melissa Leo all attended the screening as well. Knock another five grand off for their travel and accommodations.

What are we left with? Ninety six thousand dollars. There are probably some other expenses out there unaccounted for - ticketing services, etc - but we'll call it ninety six.

Now, assume that Smith continues to generate revenue at this rate. I think that's an overly generous assumption as many stops will likely not draw as well as New York and I can't imagine any are going to draw better, but the reduced attendance numbers will likely be balanced by lower venue costs, so it should be relatively close. If Smith generates roughly the same revenue through the remaining thirteen stops of the tour he's looking at generating just over  $1.4 million dollars. Which is a lot of money, yes, but well shy of his projected two million. He's on pace to hit just over two thirds of his projected numbers. Which is not great from an investor perspective.

The idea that Smith could replicate this model with other films - as he claimed he would do for other indie filmmakers in a move to create an alternative distribution system - was already suspect as young indies wouldn't have the built in marketing value that Smith has but when Smith can't even meet his own projections that really does not bode well.

These numbers do, of course, go out the window if more stops are added.

[ADDENDUM] Peter from Slashfilm points out that Smith has reportedly said that Red State merch revenues will be going back to the production costs and potentially to strike prints for the theatrical release. Distribution costs and production costs aren't the same thing and it'll take a LOT of tshirts to strike enough prints for release but there you have it. Some of the merch revenues from the road show will be going back into the pot as well.
Screen Anarchy logo
Do you feel this content is inappropriate or infringes upon your rights? Click here to report it, or see our DMCA policy.

More about Red State

Around the Internet