This weekend saw the theatrical release of “Billionaire Boys Club,” the rich kids financial con drama starring Ansel Elgort and Taron Egerton which also happened to have Kevin Spacey in a supporting role.
The film opened on eleven screens to an astonishingly paltry $618 in the end, which made for an interesting headline but little more. Some were quick to blame Spacey, but it was quite obvious the $15 million budget film was effectively dumped with zero promotion about it being in cinemas and with the movie having been released on premium VOD several weeks before.
Vertical Entertainment’s theatrical run didn’t stand a chance, and now Deadline has done some further digging into what happened. In the wake of the Spacey scandal, VOD was the obvious way to go for the film which did crack the Top 20 on iTunes.
So the only theatrical release planned was one to fulfil contract obligations – the film scoring a one-week, ten big-city market theatrical run so the studio can label it an ‘in theaters now’ feature on VOD services and therefore charge a higher rental price. Vertical effectively rented out ten theaters at the cost of $5-10K for the week each, and did minimal P&A spending with no press or media promotion beyond a poster and a quietly released online trailer two months ago.
Spacey himself was minimised in what little marketing was done – only briefly appearing in the trailer and not showing up at all in the key art to the point that only if you were really looking did you know he was even in it. Those who want to see what all the fuss is about can check out the film on iTunes and Amazon where it is still streaming.