Scientology documentary impacted by US streaming
Australian distributors are increasingly concerned about films being launched in US cinemas and online before their Australian release.
The latest example is Going Clear: Scientology and the Prison of Belief, Alex Gibney’s documentary which profiles eight former members of the Church of Scientology.
The film premiered at Sundance in January and was then released in a limited number of cinemas in March before being broadcast on HBO, becoming the second most watched feature doc of all time.
Madman Entertainment launched the doc based on Lawrence Wright's 2013 book, Going Clear: Scientology, Hollywood and the Prison of Belief, in June after its Sydney Film Festival premiere.
“The availability on US streaming sites undoubtedly has negatively impacted the Australian box-office,” Madman’s Paul Wiegard tells IF.
“However Alex Gibney was in town for the Sydney Film Festival and the film generated enormous press coverage; along with solid cinema support the film is on track to achieve approximately $500,000 from Australia and New Zealand. In sum, we have achieved our targets.”
In Australia the film has grossed $332,000 thus far.
Playing to its strengths in Asian cinema, Madman is launching Dragon Ball Z: Resurrection F, the 20th film in the Japanese animated franchise, on August 6 on more than 50 screens, followed by Attack On Titan – Part 1 and SPL 2 : A Time For Consequences.
Wiegard says, “We are focused on a speed-to-market release strategy to a captivated community to whom we are directly communicating.”
Madman is optimistic about its upcoming slate starting with US comedy People, Places, Things, which stars Jemaine Clement as a professor at New York’s School of Visual Arts whose life unravels after he catches his long-time girlfriend and mother of their two kids with another man. Co-starring Stephanie Allynne and Michael Chernus, the film will open in September 10.
Due to premiere in October are 99 Homes, which stars Andrew Garfield as an unemployed contractor who, after being evicted with his family from his childhood home by Michael Shannon’s shady real estate agent, gets involved in insurance fraud; and Sleeping With Other People, a raunchy comedy which stars Alison Brie and Jason Sudeikis in the tale of two people who lose their virginity to each other in college and meet years later at a sex addicts’ group.
Slated for November, Learning to Drive features Patricia Clarkson as a self-obsessed book editor who is in a state of denial when her husband leaves her and meets a Sikh cab driver/instructor played by Sir Ben Kingsley.