mandy box office

People can’t get enough of Nicolas Cage and the Cheddar Goblin. Mandy, an acid-trip of a movie that burns itself into your brain, is drawing audiences to the theater at an unexpected rate, even though the film is also available on VOD. The Mandy box office success has been so great that RLJ Entertainment have decided to rethink their release strategy, and keep the film in select theaters until November.

Mandy rules, as almost anyone who has seen it will tell you. The hype surrounding the Nicolas Cage film seems to be working, too. According to Business Insider, RLJ Entertainment has changed course, breaking with the traditional VOD/theatrical model, to keep Mandy playing in theaters as long as there’s a demand for it. Mandy is an indie film that opened in select theaters and on VOD the same day. This practice isn’t uncommon – in fact it’s becoming more and more prevalent.

But something curious happened with Mandy. As RLJ began decreasing the amount of theaters the film was playing in during its second week of release – as is tradition with a film of this size – the demand to see it theatrically increased. In most cases of films that get theatrical and VOD releases, distributors start pulling the film from theaters the second week of release, assuming audiences will start renting the VOD version instead. But in the case of Mandy, people took to social media to beg for the film to open in more theaters in week two.

As Business Insider reveals, “The company had done its theater bookings long before the fan outcry, and that meant it couldn’t add new screenings because the theaters already had a full slate of titles for the weekend.” As a result, when the film played in only three theaters in Los Angeles over the weekend, Mandy “saw a relatively minuscule 31% drop in ticket sales from its opening weekend — in fact, its $155,405 take was one of the largest for any indie movie that weekend.”

Lisa Whalen, CEO of SpectreVision, the production company behind Mandy, said: “RLJ’s theatrical booker is getting all these calls from theaters saying, ‘We want the movie but we have contractual obligations with other films, can we have it in October or November? So it’s just going to keep coming out.”

Directed by Panos CosmatosMandy follows Cage as he seeks revenge against a nightmarish cult. Throughout the film, Cage travels from one hellish, surreal location to the next.

So what’s the secret here? Why is Mandy breaking the mold? I think the answer is simple: the movie really is as good as everyone says it is. It’s also unlike anything else you’re likely to see right now. On top of all that, Mandy is driven by strange, mind-blowing visuals and a highly elaborate sound design. So much so that it practically demands to be seen in theaters. That’s not to say the film should be avoided on VOD, though. And in fact, it isn’t: Business Insider says Mandy is currently “in the top 10 movies to rent on iTunes in ‘independent,’ ‘horror,’ and ‘thriller’ categories.”

I have a feeling this is a lightning in a bottle situation. It’s going to be hard for another film to replicate this reaction, at least for the time being. That won’t stop other indie distributors from trying, though.

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