It has been reported that for its UK release the Shia LaBeouf film Man Down is only being shown in one movie theatre. Consequently, for the opening weekend it earned £7.
So why go to the trouble of showing it in theatres at all?
The war thriller starring Gary Oldman, Jai Courtney and Kate Mara was only screened at a single theatre, the Reel Cinema in Burnley, as part of promotions around its digital release.
But Man Down's unrelenting floppage was slightly exaggerated, its cinema takings (which reportedly equalled just one ticket sold) likely not helped by the film being released across video-on-demand services on the same date.
These "day-and-date" releases ensure that distributors only need to pay for advertising their film once, while capitalising on the obvious boom of streaming services in recent years. Londoners will be aware that Man Down had a decent promotional budget, with posters of LaBeouf in soldier gear lining walls of the Underground for the past week, despite the promise of "In cinemas March 31st" meaning just one Reel Cinema in, for some reason, the middle of Burnley.
If you click through the links to a similar story about Emma Watson we find this quote..
“Day-and-date releases minimise costs for a distributor,” says Andreas Wiseman, Screen International’s head of news. “They only need to pay for a campaign once rather than at different stages throughout the windowing process. The growth in these kind of releases coincides with the proliferation of digital platforms. Distributor deals with platforms such as Netflix, LoveFilm, iTunes etc often require that a film is shown in a certain number of cinemas, so distributors will sometimes see the theatrical release as a box-ticking exercise.”
Films must have a cinematic release in order for the producers to recieve the full available production offset tax credits. Distributors know the rort and offer these box-tick releases at a suprisingly HIGH, not low - cost
This sort of thing is usually done as a limited release to drum up reviews for the media. It's cheaper than a large-scale advertising campaign or premieres, but I've only ever heard about it being used for movies the studios weren't that keen on or thought were really going to tank, but sometimes if the movie gets good reviews it can lead to fairly decent success.
It's a risk, though, as "Man Down" has shown from the fairly dreadful reviews it's received.
As a cynical point of view; it's to get more money for it.
There's a nice comment by darkstar25 here https://www.theguardian.com/film/filmblog/2017/apr/05/box-office-bombs-shia-labeouf-emma-watson-halle-berrt#comment-96156751
And then looking at sites like TalkTalkStore https://www.talktalktvstore.co.uk/movies/man-down-(80462) it's tagged as 'EARLY DIGITAL RELEASE' which sounds like you're getting it early because it's in the cinema. It's currently available to rent at 6.99. I struggled to find a new release to rent that's higher than 4.50