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.
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.
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.
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.