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A Field in England figures revealed

Film4 and Picturehouse have reported initial figures for the UK’s first simultaneous feature release across all formats.

Ben Wheatley’s psychedelic horror film was released simultaneously in cinemas, on DVD, free TV and VoD on Friday [July 5].

Released theatrically by Picturehouse Entertainment on 17 sites, it generated $32,000 (£21,399) over the weekend at a $1,876 (£1,259) average.

The film played to sold-out crowds at the likes of the Ritzy, Curzon Soho and Hackney Picturehouse in London, Dukes at Komedia in Brighton and Edinburgh’s Cameo.

For a limited release, the results are solid given the niche appeal of the film, in which a group of men descend into a magic mushroom-induced madness while searching for treasure in a field on the fringes of the English Civil War.

It also competed with the hottest weekend of the year and major sporting events including the Wimbledon tennis finals and International Test rugby final between the British & Irish Lions and Australia’s Wallabies.

TV

On television, it played on the Film4 channel from 10.45pm to 12.10am without commercial breaks.

It drew a combined audience of 288,000 viewers (including time-shifted channel Film4+1).

This number will rise when those who recorded the film are added into the total figure. Early figures, which include recorded viewing on Saturday and Sunday, bring the total to 357,000 – up on the Film4’s slot average of 346,000.

It was also the most-mentioned film in social media terms for Film4 all week and was the number one trending topic on Twitter in the UK on Friday evening.

DVD/VOD

Sales of DVDs from Amazon and HMV across Friday and Saturday amounted to 1,462. Supermarkets will stock the title from today.

The number of Blu-ray copies sold was slightly higher than DVDs. The Blu-ray edition features more extras than the DVD release.

More than 11,000 units have been shipped to Amazon, HMV, WHSmith, Asda and Sainsbury’s.

On the Film4OD and iTunes platforms there were a total of more than 1,000 purchases. Additional VOD sales have yet to be reported.

A Field in England was the week’s bestselling title on Film4oD.

Generating buzz

Anna Higgs, Film4.0 commissioning editor, told ScreenDaily: “We are ecstatic with the results. I was nervous going into the hottest weekend of the past two years, which also featured Wimbledon, but we had the best possible results.

“By having all platforms working together, we generated a real buzz and put the film on the map.”

Asked about applying the strategy to future releases, Higgs added: “We would be really excited to do it again. We built this campaign in a bespoke way so there is no one-size-fits-all approach.

“But we have taken a film that might have gone out on five screens and debuted it on 17 sites, generating mainstream coverage. It has shown that taking critical and multiplatform buzz can create a perfect storm.”

Clare Binns, director of programming and acquisitions at Picturehouse Entertainment, said: “Given that we had the hottest weekend in 2 years, Andy Murray bouncing his balls around, and the film was on selected shows, we are extremely happy with the theatrical box office total.”

Film4, Picturehouse Entertainment, 4DVD, Film4 Channel and the BFI Distribution Fund partnered on the day-and-date release.

Written by Amy Jump and produced by Claire Jones and Andy Starke at Rook Films, the film stars Reece Shearsmith, Michael Smiley, Peter Ferdinando, Richard Glover, Ryan Pope and Julian Barratt.

A Field in England is the first feature to be developed and fully financed through Film4’s innovation hub Film4.0. It is also among the first to receive funding from the BFI Distribution Fund New Models strand, which supports experimental release models.

Protagonist Pictures is handling international sales.

Readers' comments (20)

  • Since when has a screen average of £1257 been something to be ecstatic about?

    With average ticket prices being at least £10, that's 120 admissions per screen, or 40 per day and if its 3/4 screenings per day that's an average of 10-15 per screening.

    There must be some extraordinarily small new auditoriums at these venues to pack them out!

    As for the rest of the figures - they're nothing special and won't fool any seasoned observers.

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  • A Field In England was on limited shows, most cinemas had two shows a day.

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  • They're pretty impressive figures for a weird low-budget British B&W indie with no stars in it. Whether the release gimmick will work again is not so certain though. I think it cheapens the cinematic event. People like to go to the cinema to see stuff you CAN'T see on TV or on DVD.

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  • just bear in mind that this is all its going to take, cannot see anyone else going to see this very overrated film, just like sightseers with all its rave reviews, business was pretty average or below

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  • A new release pattern using the oldest of old marketing methods - release day hype. The VoD figures are incomplete - funny that. This doesn't change anything just another TV advertised release for a specialised film - in cinemas one day gone the next - the P&A or TV campaign is poor value against a 28% distributor share, ok it's effectively sponsored by a TV channel masquerading as a producer/distributor but their cash won't create any traction. The film will sell much same quantity as it would have without the hype campaign which oddly appears to justify the status quo for the UK exhib.-distrib. cartel/cabaal.

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  • "Average ticket prices at least £10" – true perhaps for London, but not for many parts of the UK (where concessions also lower prices). £6-£8 is more likely the average.

    I don't disagree with all of the comments here, but careful analysis is more useful than just shouting.

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  • Curzon Soho is £12.50 a ticket and most of the rest of the London screens are at least £10. But even with an average of £8 when you factor in regional screens and two screenings a day, its still an average of about 160 admissions per screen over the weekend, thus 53 per day and 27 per screening. Thus whatever way you cut it, this is a very modest performance.

    There has been many successful niche releases in the past with no stars, including foreign language films which have done massively better than this. One presumes that the backers have their reasons for wanting to put a gloss on it all.

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  • This is a broadcaster led production so financing was presumable based on this assumption. Films can be financial viable with a small box office, surely it's a question of has the exercise been profitable? How much was spent on marketing the film across the various platforms and what revenues were derived from each area of exploitation, now that would be interesting.

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  • On the weekend of 30 June, half the Top 10 films at the UK Box Office had a 'site average' of less than £1,259. Of the 17 films that opened that weekend, 5 managed a site average of over £1,259.

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  • An awful lot of ANONYMOUS on here? We tried something new in order to maximise revenue for the film makers and we told you how it went. Compare it to other niche releases and add actual budget + P&A + actual amount of screenings and screen size ... its not quite as simple as looking at a single number - the release is also a partnership across cinema/home video and production so we all benefit from each other.... we're very pleased with how its gone. Also - the most important thing is the film not the release strategy - seems like many forget that!

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  • I applaud the ambition, the film-makers and the experiment. Yet trying to sell a $ 32k gross as a success is hard to stomach for the 99% of independent film-makers. Especially those who, with a similar budget, no names, nor hype or broadcaster backing whatsoever, managed MUCH better figures and were still crucified by the press (and online) and deemed a failure.

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  • In an age when it is virtually impossible to get basic release figures I say: thanks very much for the info!

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  • It's kinda crazy to me that there is debate about platform windows for films like this. To me, it only makes sense with niche movies that are opening in a handful of screens, mostly in London, that the producers would want a deal in place where they can ensure that any coverage sparking interest can be converted into £££. Being based in Belfast, it's usual that we will read about a film that we'd really like to see, and it's only shown in London, then no DVD/VOD release for many many months. If it's a limited release, all films should then be available very soon afterwards, say on the Monday. TV I'd probably hold back on.

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  • And I'd also say thank you to Rook for allowing the figures to be supplied to say how it goes.

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  • Hello Mr Anonymous (the last anonymous to all the other anonymous's) - just wanted to say that these figures are for the first two days of release - so give us a chance!

    Would be interested to see your numbers.

    Hype? I like to think its getting all this press coverage because its an amazing film - I'd say most people who've seen it weren't that bothered by statistics...

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  • I'm glad to see that the film has been such a success, and I bet that the sales figures are doing well - especially since these figures aren't even the week 1 total. I had to go to 5 shops before I could find one with any copies, and they only had 2 DVDs and 1 Blu-Ray left while all the other films in the New Releases section had quite a few of each.

    People, myself included, paying £13-£15 for a film which many will have already watched (and even recorded) on Film Four is a great achievement and definitely shows that physical releases with nice extras will shift no matter what, though it would have been nice to not have to go round so many shops where it was either sold out or hadn't been stocked at all. Perhaps sales will be stronger in week 2 when supermarkets finally have it in stock, so the anonymous posters maybe jumped the gun a bit with their disparaging remarks.

    I loved the film and can't wait to interview Richard Glover about it tomorrow. Great job, Rook Films, and thank you for the figures.

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  • I should point out that the shops I looked in did include an Asda and a Sainsbury's, both stores were checked on Tuesday and said that they wouldn't have any copies in until this weekend. Perhaps the supermarket distribution was 'except for viewers in Scotland'.

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  • The film has sold just 1400 copies in nearly two weeks on DVD. We have no idea what the P&A budget was and I'm all of windows changing and different release patterns, but a commercial success - no, plain and simple.

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  • If you read the article again then you'll see that the film shifted over 1400 DVDs in 2 days, not 2 weeks. This article is 9 days old.

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  • Granted there's not much that can be done trying to predict the weather, but maybe going up against Wimbledon on finals weekend wasn't the best bit of scheduling. Even had Murray not been in the final (and these days his likely appearance was fairly predictable), it was always going to take a large portion of the available audience.

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