Producer-director Ben Stassen has warned that the US remains a tough market to crack for independent 3D films.
'It's a David and Goliath battle,' Stassen commented in the wake of the
below par US performance of his film, kids' animated tale Fly Me To The Moon. Click here for review.
The 3D film has made around $4.5m since its release in mid-August. It
has been showing on around 430 screens - far fewer than the 900-plus
screens on which Stassen had originally hoped for, and had been promised.
Recent hype has it that 3D is the way ahead. Forthcoming 3D films like
James Cameron's Avatar and Dreamworks' Monsters Vs. Aliens are expected to generate huge box-office returns.
The success of Journey To The Centre Of The Earth and Hannah Montana has underlined the growing popularity of the format.
However, Belgian director Stassen urges a note of caution.
'Summit did a really wonderful job. They did a great marketing job,' Stassen commented of the US distributors of Fly Me To The Moon.
Even so, he acknowledges his disappointment at the US box-office results. While Fly Me To The Moon has performed well in IMAX cinemas, Stassen believes that its overall box-office performance has been
adversely affected by the lack of fully-equipped 3D digital theatres in the
Fly Me To The Moon has been sold to 37 territories. It has opened in six of them.
The film has done roaring business in Belgium where the film has made $1,190,000 and where Kinepolis posted the third highest screen average in the last five years.
In Mexico, the film has posted over 300,000 admissions in the three Imax 3D theatres where it has been showing.
Stassen also reports a strong opening in Russia with distributors Cascade racking up $1,368,13, including $90,624 for the Imax 3D theatre in Moscow.
'Since the digital 3D theatre network is not growing as fast as anticipated, we decided to release the film in the red/blue anaglyph process both in 35 mm and in digital theaters (a first) in certain territories,' Stassen commented.
Fly Me To The Moon has now made over $10m at the box office
worldwide. Stassen remains optimistic that the film will eventually cross the $25m mark.
He is also bullish about the long-term box-office prospects for the 3D format in general.
However, in the short term, he warns that the delay in expanding the digital 3D network in the US means that suitable screen space remains at a premium for independents and majors alike.
Momentum will be releasing Fly Me To The Moon in the UK in the early autumn.