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‘Piranha 3DD’ Experiment Not Really An Experiment; Failure or Success?

Update: A source close to the production tells us that the pre-rebate budget was $8M with about $3M going to above the line (rights, producers, cast, etc.). They also reveal what I already suspected… Dimension has already made money internationally. It’s NOT a failure. The end.

Dimension Films is kicking the PR into high gear with their weekend release of Piranha 3DD, which opened in 86 theaters day-and-date with VOD this past Friday. All of the major trades are declaring it a big “experiment,” which is absolutely hilarious considering Magnolia, IFC, Freestyle Releasing, Anchor Bay and various other distributors have been testing these waters for years now. The only real experiment is to see how much hype they can build with PR declaring it an experiment. In fact, Dimension pulled a day-and-date release with Hellraiser: Revelations and Children of the Corn: Genesis (although a pair of theaters barely counts).

Anyways, numbers can lie. And frankly, it’s impossible to know if this “experiment” is a success or failure mostly because we don’t have all of the numbers. Reporting is as a success or failure is inaccurate at this point in time.

IMDB claims the budget is a disgusting $20,000,000. Variety reports that Piranha 3DD opened in 86 theaters for a three-day take of $179,000, or a per screen average of $2,000, or half that of the original. And VOD numbers won’t be available for at least two weeks (usually it takes months, especially with cable providers). This looks terrible.

But when you factor in that we don’t know what the real budget was, how much they spent on marketing materials/digital prints/3d glasses, what kind of rebate Dimension received from Baton Rouge, Louisiana (I believe they get 30% back, so roughly $6 million), how much the film has sold for internationally (Dimension owns worldwide rights), and any other factors unlisted… it’s impossible to be on the outside and know how successful it actually is.

Point is, all of these Web reports are beyond ludicrous and harmful to future films (it sends the wrong message) hoping to attempt a similar release. The only “facts” are the theatrical numbers, and based on these numbers it would appear to be a dud (a $20 million loss). Appearances can be, and usually are, deceiving.




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