During opening weekend, THE RAID 2 opened to lukewarm, if not bad, box office numbers. Playing in over 950 locations, the movie opened around $1 million. A high quality subtitled movie playing in so many theaters is great for the consumer, but bad for business. The industry cannot make any money. Many box office pundits have offered interesting and rational theories to this disappointment as if they themselves are doing a little soul searching. The industry has changed. You cannot just open a movie and expect people to see it. They have to be engaged and convinced. The difference between a hit and a flop in the industry mostly comes down to brand awareness.
I don’t understand the logic behind Sony Pictures Classics platform release strategy. This happens often. I am surprised that in my grandparent’s small to medium size town of Wichita Falls, Texas that most of SPC films screen there. I doubt there is a demand but it is a valiant effort. As with the first RAID movie which performed almost identical business, there wasn’t demand for a wide release. No pre-release buzz or eager audiences could justify the massive expansion. The same studio did the same thing with the first one (which was my first post for TMB) as well as other movies from CARNAGE to BEFORE MIDNIGHT. There is a reason VOD is a popular format because niche audiences can easily access the material.
Eager audiences want to see other movies besides the typical blockbuster, horror rehash, unnecessary remake, or odd adaptation. This stunt of opening a movie when there isn’t an audience could build distrust for Indies to be booked at big chain theaters if the limited market is over saturated. Though a win for smaller theaters, this could drastically limit indie crossover movies. Why book RAID 2 when you could have a 3rd screen of CAPTAIN AMERICA 2? THE RAID 2 underperforming is another example of the Entertainment Industry disconnected from the rest of the country.