Brian Brooks is a Deadline contributor.
Specialty alternatives to Gravity and Captain Phillips failed to attract significant numbers this weekend as newcomers including Relativity’s Romeo & Juliet release turned in poor-to-adequate numbers. Producers Distribution Agency, which has released a half dozen titles including 2010’s Banksy hit Exit Through The Gift Shop, opened Escape From Tomorrow from first time feature filmmaker Randy Moore in 30 theaters to a so-so $66K ($2,204 PSA). More importantly: Entertainment lawyer/sales agent John Sloss has vowed that this film will be a template in transparency. Sloss told me last week and again this morning that Escape‘s VOD/digital numbers will be reported and he hopes this will encourage others to do the same. VOD numbers have remained a mystery in box office reporting, though it’s widely accepted that they are a huge chunk if not the bulk of many specialty films’ overall gross. I told a rival distributor at the closing night of the New York Film Festival that Sloss/PDA said they would disclose VOD/digital numbers and that person conveyed sympathy for filmmakers, agents etc. for wanting or needing to know the numbers. He also thinks it could be a disservice because the “general public” naturally gravitates to what is popular in terms of numbers and they’ll be exposed to “spin” by the media… (more…)