So thinks Mark Whittington, a writer for Yahoo’s contributor network, in an article that more than a few people have flagged on Twitter, Facebook, and e-mail. Anecdotal data from several cinemas on The Undefeated‘s first night in a very limited national release suggests a strong opening day for the Sarah Palin documentary, even though it opened against the latest and last Harry Potter film:
Just on the face of it, it would seem to have been the biggest risk in marketing history to roll out a documentary about a politician with less than stellar poll numbers on the same night that the last Harry Pottermovie was scheduled to be released.
But, by all accounts, “The Undefeated,” the Sarah Palin biop, which was placed in limited release in ten screens across the country, did surprisingly well.
Jim Hoft linked reports of packed theaters from opening day. Matt Lewis has a roundup of reactions from the media in several of the cities where the film opened, all positive. The filmmakers can’t be displeased with the results of the first day, and the necessary buzz has begun to build for a wider release — which, as Whittington points out, is one big question:
First, will “The Undefeated” open to wider markers? If the audience holds up in the ten theaters where it is now playing, that is almost certain. But then the next question arises, will the film perform well beyond the red state markets where it has been initially released? Curiosity to see what the fuss is about, if nothing else, might draw a respectable audience if and when “The Undefeated” opens wide.
It takes more than just a good opening day for an indie documentary to get a distributor to sink cash into a wide release. We won’t know the results of this weekend’s performance until tomorrow, which is when the metrics from theaters on sales generally get released. The per-screen average for the entire weekend will be the measure that counts.
Given Sarah Palin’s following and the targeted release this weekend, that number should be very, very good, and it’s likely that quite a few more cities will see The Undefeated open next weekend. Millions of people find Palin compelling, and one would expect them to flock to theaters to see the film.