… or better said, the American Catholics do.
Whilst the film has possibly not been drummed up in Catholic homilies as it should have been, it is clear it has failed to catch the imagination of the US minds and wallets. The official numbers for the weekend are now out and they confirm the projections, forecasting a result which if it is not dismal, it is certainly disappointing.
Let us see some numbers. This film is a $20m production, and around 55% of gross sales remain in the hands of the producers. This means only to recover the costs this movie needs to gross around $45m. With the first weekend below $1.9m it is difficult to see this production to gross much more than three times that, or around $6m. If this happens, it means the biggest market on the planet – with 60 million Catholics and a raging controversy about religious freedom – did not manage to bring the producers more than 15% of the entire production costs, and forget the profits.
Granted, things might go better elsewhere: in Mexico, the film has already grossed the – for local standards, huge – amount of $ 3.2m, even defeating big Hollywood productions in its first weekend. But the story takes place in Mexico, and I cannot think this kind of success can be exported to the rest of Latin America.
Europe – if this film will ever come over here – will probably not be the source of great satisfaction either, as if the United Stated have failed to deliver on a film so near to the current political debate it is more than doubtful the old, tired and rather disinterested Europe will. Similarly, I can’t imagine many other countries to be so interested: the Philippines, perhaps?
Then there is the DVD/rental market, which will have money trickling in the tills for years, and the TV rights. And that’s that, really.
Now, it is clear this production will struggle to recover the costs, and even considering the risks of this business and the fact the industry accepts an awful lot of films will not bring any money I wonder how many of such productions we will be able to see in the future.
This is a bitter feeling, as one cannot escape the impression only one of these movies could contribute to change the political debate far more than all Catholic blogs you can care to think of, and if there was a right moment for a film like this it was now, in late Spring 2012.
Still, not all is black. The numbers were bad, but not dismal. The film will probably manage to stay in a fair number of screens for a few more weeks, and might prove somewhat resilient. All in all, the sum of all gross revenues, DVD sales, rentals and TV market might – just might – persuade some production house to produce another film of this sort.
Still, it seems the price Americans are ready to pay for freedom is not very high after all.
I just read this and cannot avoid dedicating a blog post to it (if you thought I would let the Sunday go without drumming up the movie you were seriously wrong anyway… ;0 )
@FrancisFaustina (you do no harm in following her on Twitter, methinks…) writes as follows:
I JUST GOT BACK from Seeing this film!!! IT IS WONDERFUL!!! I Highly recommend EVERY CATHOLIC and even EVERY CHRISTIAN go see it especially (not that Jews or Atheists should NOT go….EVERYONE should see this!) but especially Christians as we here in the US are getting ready to do battle with the Obama Administration and actually already are!
There are so many lines in the movie that the THEN President of Mexico said that you’d think it was Obama Himself talking! A REAL Eye opener for many as you see the slow progression of loosing your Religious Freedoms.
My friend and I (she’s a Secular Carmelite!) just HAPPENED to choose the same theatre on the same night at the same time as the Bishop was having JOIN THE BISHOP AT THE THEATRE night! That meant there was a ton of Catholics there and people could NOT hold back and would yell “RIGHT ON!” when things happened and at the end they began the Chant “Viva Cristo Rey!”
GO ASAP to see this!
On another note, scouring the internet yesterday I have discovered the movie is having a huge success in Mexico, where it was Number one at the box office against a couple of big Hollywood productions debuting on the same weekend.
There are still no figures for “For Greater Glory”, says here at 15:45 London time on Sunday. It seems clear, though, that Charlize Theron is cleaning up (albeit from a huge 3,700 screen against around one fifth for our heroes), which certainly will not help.
In the absence of numbers, and notwithstanding the very good Mexican results (almost four million dollar made until now; a big success for Mexico, but still a long way to go for an ambitious production which cost $20 m) this might still end up a flop in the US, which would have repercussions on the freedoms of Catholics in the United States and deprive us European of the possibility of seeing the film on the big screen.
Please please follow our good reader in her enthusiasm and support the cause of Catholicism and religious freedom!
Viva Cristo Rey!
I know, it may seem obnoxious, but then I am obnoxious…
It seems to me there is so much to be gained. If this movie survives the first weekend and goes to a reasonable success, this will contribute to keep the very actual issue of religious freedom in the foreground.
Besides, the movie being so unashamedly Catholic (which is one of the main criticisms posed to it) I think it not improbable this will contribute to a number of conversions, and certainly do a lot of good to the image of Catholicism in the US.
I reflect that there are thousands of us out there running Catholic blogs. All very fine of course, but one film of these can do as much as thousands Catholic blogs together.
Then there is the sheer fact of the rarity of such events. We are not in the Fifties or early Sixties anymore and such productions have become rather rare. You need to have people like Mel Gibson, or like the production house which made this movie.
They don’t grow on trees; $20 million productions are rarer; and the possibility of going out on 700 screens are rarer still.
By 700 screen this weekend there should be plenty of opportunity to go and see this movie even in a country the vastness of the United States. Next weekend they could actually be zero, or a couple of dozens, because if the movie flops with 700 screens I can’t imagine it will be given another weekend to see if during this one everyone was sleeping.
Find me obnoxious if you wish (I know, I know you do… 😉 ), but if a Catholic blog doesn’t drum up support when an occasion like this arises, I am at a loss to know why the blog exists in the first place. We are all insignificant compared to an occasion like this.
Please email, phone, put the movie in your conversation with friends, explain the dynamics of the cinema distribution (that is: if this weekend doesn’t work, there will probably be no second weekend), do what you can to help this movie be a success. If it is, there will be other productions like this, and Obama will have a problem more. If it isn’t, the Obama camp will think Catholics don’t really care, and they can eat them alive after the reelection.
There is so much more at stake here than the money of a cinema ticket.
What about the price of a cinema ticket?
Too much to ask?
Remember, folks: the three days starting on Friday are decisive.
On Monday it will be too late.
And yes, everyone else has things to do, too… 😉
EDIT: The press has already started dissing this movie as too Catholic, and spitting the usual hate. As I write, the critics (ok, you’ll say they are irrelevant; perhaps they are, perhaps they aren’t…) on rotten tomatoes only give it 4.5/10.
Please, please help give them a lesson!
EDIT II: As the weekend starts on the East Coast, please please please twit the link of the movie to all your friends and acquaintances! Put it in your blog! Tell everyone you are going to see this movie! Go to see the movie and tell encourage others to do the same! On Monday it might be too late!
Some of you know – and the others will soon know – how the cinema distribution in the US works.
Basically, many films have one weekend to show if they can survive. In the brutal war for cinema screens – and with the expectation of the screen owners not to waste resources on unsuccessful movies – three days (the Friday, Saturday and Sunday) may be all the opportunity you have to see a movie in the cinema theatre.
When the money is counted and the movie was a disappointment (an awful lot of movies are, though certainly they are not as bad as this disaster here) it generally disappears from the big distribution, and the producers will try to make some money (generally: to recover the costs) from the foreign markets and the DVD/online distribution. But the US market is king for both influence and sheer numbers, and if a movie production does not work in the US the probabilities of it becoming an international success are limited. Sometimes, a movie is discovered when it is, so to speak, too late: “Scarface” became a cult long after having bombed, and the beautiful “Reservoir dogs” (you see how unbiased I am… 😉 ) gave Tarantino more praise than money at the time. We don’t want this to happen in this case, I hope…
You will be surprised to know the movie industry is not really dissimilar from the publishing one: like most books, the majority of film productions actually lose money, and like in the book industry the game is to contain the losses on the majority, and to hope to land a big success every now and then when it goes well.
With these premises, you can understand how brave Andy Garcia & Co. are in putting their money in a venture not directly linked to any topic which “moves” the American public opinion. Unless, of course, it be the issue of religious freedom.
“For greater Glory” (the title of the movie previously known with the provisional name of “Cristiada”) plays its cards on the 1,2 and 3 June. This is not a mammoth movie, and may have a more exclusive distribution with, perhaps, a more lenient evaluation time. But there is no denying if the weekend is bad the movie risks to disappear from the US cinema screens straight away.
It is, therefore, in my eyes very important that my very esteemed US-American readers:
1) seriously consider seeing the movie during the weekend of the 1-2-3 June, as even the following weekend might be too late;
2) spread the words among family, friends and colleagues, and
3) If they are bloggers, drum this movie as they think fit.
I do not know how big the distribution will be, but Andy Garcia being rather a name I’d say many will not have to travel too far to cast their vote for Catholicism and religious freedom, because this is what it is all about.
I also hope the Protestant machine – which worked so well with “The Passion of the Christ” – will mobilise again, but in the end I think it is Catholics who should be the first to put their money where their religious freedom is.
If this movie is successful – certainly not like the “Passion” was successful, but successful in a way the political world takes notice – this will contribute to shift the attention of the public opinion to what should be the main theme of the 2012 Presidential campaign: freedom.
Please consider casting your vote at the ballot of the cinema till. A vote for religious freedom, a vote against he liberal Hollywood machine, a vote against the rhetoric of emasculating “peaaaace” at all costs, a vote for more movies of this kind to be produced in future, and a vote to allow many more people to understand more of Catholicism, and to admire those who chose to risk – or lose – their life for the Church.
The main headline of the trailer you see above really says it all: “When the Government outlawed Faith, the Faithful became outlaws”. I think this is very pertinent to the actual political debate. Also please think how many conversions could be engendered by a movie so clearly espousing the fight of brave, faithful people to defend Catholicism.
I wonder if I will ever see the movie in our cinema screens in old, tired, atheist, seriously confused Europe . I will certainly buy the DVD as soon as I can.