The Film That Made £47

The Colony (also known as Colonia,) stars Emma Watson and was released in the UK on the first of July. The film has met mixed reviews since but most shockingly took only £47 at the UK box-office on its opening weekend…

Watson, star of the Harry Potter series and The Perks of Being a Wallflower, starred alongside Daniel Brühl (Rush, Inglourious Basterds) and as a pair they looked certain to draw a crowd. So what happened?

Primarily, the film had an interesting and alternative distribution plan, relying on home streaming instead of cinema ticket sales. The film is available online and costs £5.99 to rent in HD, including extras and while this release strategy is rare, it’s not unprecedented. Misconduct, starring Al Pacino, recently undertook a similar distribution strategy and had similarly embarrassing box office takings during its short time on the big screen.

Is this form of release going to be increasingly prevalent? If so film makers will be required to take these embarrassing box office figures on the chin, and for many that will seem a big ask given the amount of careers that are forged and furthered on the back of box-office figures. How financially successful these two films are in their streaming plans will dictate how likely this kind of release is to catch on.

The dissatisfaction surrounding this film suggests more will need to be done to give this new sort of distribution a powerful appeal.

The Colony, while seemingly interesting and atmospheric as well as taking place in a very interesting historical setting, (that of 1970’s Pinochet-era Chile,) has received very mixed reviews. Both The New York Times and The Guardian argued that the setting was not treated with the respect and subtlety it deserved- “It’s a glib trivialisation of one of the grimmer chapters of Chilean history”. The dissatisfaction surrounding this film suggests more will need to be done to give this new sort of distribution a powerful appeal.

By George Storr

 

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