After Enthusiastic Opening, Sarah Palin Documentary “The Undefeated” to Roll Out to More Theatres

The much anticipated Sarah Palin documentary, “The Undefeated”, which chronicles Sarah Palin’s rise from mayor of Wasilla, Alaska to national prominence, opened exclusively in AMC Theatres this past weekend. You can vote for the movie to play in your town at The Undefeated website.

The Sarah Palin documentary “The Undefeated” opened to a huge opening day. They sold out from Atlanta to Orange County.

“The Undefeated” opened with the second highest gross per theater average this past weekend next to Harry Potter.

Andrew Malcolm at Top of the Ticket reported on the opening success:

Much of Sarah Palin’s outreach since the 2008 election has been through social media — Facebook and Twitter — with considerable impact.

Now it looks as though the documentary about her, “The Undefeated,” has sought success with a similar strategy.

Directed and written by Stephen K. Bannon, the film opened this weekend in AMC Theatres in 10 selected digital markets — the closest to Los Angeles being the city of Orange in Orange County — going up against the opening of perhaps the biggest film of the summer, the final installment in the “Harry Potter” series.

According to a release Sunday from distributor ARC Entertainment, which partnered with digital distributor Cinedigm, the film grossed approximately $5,000 per screen through Saturday night, with “large markets trending towards weekend per screen averages above $10,000.”

That’s quite modest by Hollywood standards, but the rollout was booked quickly over three weeks, with marketing carried out through word-of-mouth and low-cost social media.

The release quotes Jill Newhouse Calcaterra, the chief marketing officer for Cinedigm, saying, ” ‘The Undefeated’ is the perfect example of how digital cinema can benefit both producers and audiences. Starting with theater location selection, we worked quickly — with precision accuracy — to generate a terrific box-office result with virtually no marketing dollars.

“This is a new model that is going to benefit the entire entertainment industry and audiences who want to see unique products.”

…Bannon: This was a high-risk strategy — one I don’t remember ever being attempted — to open a documentary nationwide in such disparate markets with only 4 weeks prep with no media spend. And it paid off. Why — we had distribution partners at ARC and Cinedigm that knew what they were doing and a theater chain that knows how to handle specialty film.

I thought $5k/screen would have been amazing … and $10k a home run. We will be above $10k in key markets … and all markets performed well.

Ticket: A story appeared in which a reporter talked about being in a empty theater at a just-after-midnight showing Thursday night into Friday, in Orange County. Do you think that story has any impact, good or bad, on your weekend attendance?

Bannon: The story had zero impact on anything … and I never focus on nonsense. … OC numbers were huge … incredible numbers considering the competition there.

Victory Film Group is expected to roll out “The Undefeated” to several new theaters this week.

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