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Adventures in Self-Releasing: Opening Weekend Recap

Adventures in Self-Releasing: Opening Weekend Recap

Blog - Adventures in Self-Releasing

Wanted to re-cap our premiere weekend:

Our weekend results finally came in late Tuesday night. We ended up doing $16,640.75, making us the independent film with the second highest per screen average in North America (see: http://www.indiewire.com/article/2009/05/05/box_office_chart_may_5_2009).

The film that was #1 was The Limits of Control, directed by Jim Jarmusch and distributed by Focus Features, the independent film distribution arm of Universal Studios. The film stars Academy Award-winner Tilda Swinton and Academy Award-nominated Bill Murray. Our per screen average would have made us the independent film with the highest per screen average in the country any of the previous five weeks.

This is an excellent start for the rollout of our film. In fact, I’ve already fielded an e-mail from an exhibitor who has theaters in Portland, San Antonio and Atlanta and is interested in The Last Lullaby. Our premiere weekend was a total—even amazing—success.

Other highlights/lessons learned from this weekend:

1. We ended up selling out 14 of 15 screenings this past weekend. Was pretty amazing walking in to introduce the Sunday screening at 11:30 a.m. and finding it filled to the very last seat with people.

2. We sold every single T-shirt except for nine.

3. 15 question and answer sessions are a great many. I’m so glad I did it. But I couldn’t do it every weekend.

4. The mayors of Shreveport and Bossier City declared May 1 -3 “The Last Lullaby Weekend.” That media conference was one of the best moments of my life so far and crucial to the success of the weekend.

5. I’m pretty sure that aside from X-Men Origins: Wolverine, we beat every other movie at the theater this weekend.

6. We handed out contest forms for people to correctly identify locations in the film. It was a big hit, and a great way to gather more e-mail addresses.

7. Before I introduced one of the screenings, some of my fiancée’s students held up signs that they had made saying, “We love Jeffrey.” Wow, that was a first.

8. The entire theater staff (60 plus people) wore our T-shirts the entire weekend. Pretty amazing. And probably pretty effective marketing for the movie.

It was a great weekend. It took the efforts of many—my local PR firm, my interns, my parents, my fiancée, the mayors, the media and a whole town coming out to support one of their own. But we did it.

Now, we enter a little less familiar territory. It’s still within the strategy of the tour (either go into a place because someone from the movie is from there or because we’ve already been there for a festival and are returning.) Next stop: Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Co-writer Max Allan Collins and I are going to intro the film and do Q&As after the two Friday night screenings.

It’s no longer about doing the kind of numbers we did premiere weekend. Now, the idea is sustaining ourselves financially as we continue into other markets. So far, so good.

After living in Los Angeles for seven years, Jeffrey Goodman returned to his hometown of Shreveport, Louisiana to direct The Last Lullaby. Co-written by the creator of Road to Perdition, and starring Tom Sizemore and Sasha Alexander, The Last Lullaby was filmed entirely in and around Shreveport and financed by 48 local investors.

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