Kevin Smith, the notoriously independent filmmaker, comic book jock and entrepreneur who recently snubbed his nose (and fingers) at the major studios, has announced that his latest opus, the horror thriller 'Red State,' has already turned a profit -- six months before the film even hits movie theaters.
A little backstory: Although Smith's films -- even the dogs like 'Cop Out' -- make more at the box office than they cost, Smith couldn't get any of the studios interested in financing 'Red State,' so he did it himself. He then brought it to Sundance and screened it for some distributors, then decided to distribute it himself. So, for the past month or so he's taken 'Red State' on a 15-city dog-and-pony show, charging fans $40 to see the film and hear him talk.
Well, it paid off. The film has taken in some $851,832 so far -- which may seem dismal since it cost about $5 million to make -- but that's not the best part. Here's where the math comes in. The total investment for the film was $4 million, thanks to $1 million in savings from California state tax incentives. It's taken in $1.5 million from a handful of foreign sales and is about to close a $3 million domestic distribution deal for video-on-demand, home video, pay TV and streaming (but not theatrical; Smith still keeps those rights). Add it up and it comes to something like $5.3 million, putting the film in the black. And there's still theatrical distribution later this year, plus another tour in the works.
So say what you will about the boy from New Jersey, he knows how to scrape up a buck. Now let's just hope that 'Red State' is as good as Smith's hustle.
A tip o' the hat to SlashFilm and MovieLine.