October hasn’t been a good month for the Weinstein Company. The big story, of course, were the allegations against co-founder Harvey Weinstein about sexual impropriety with dozens of women. While these stories have been dominating the news, the company has ostensibly been continuing to produce motion pictures.
The first film to be released post-scandal was Amityville: The Awakening, a thriller starring Jennifer Jason Leigh and Bella Thorne. This was the tenth film in the “Amityville” series, which began in 1979 with The Amityville Horror, starring James Brolin and Margot Kidder.
Amityville: The Awakening was going to be a reboot, a meta-film, and a found-footage (a la The Blair Witch Project) film all at once. While the tenth film in the series, it was going to more or less ignore everything that had gone on in the nine previous films and just start over.
Such reboots are becoming quite common among franchises that have had lots of sequels, as they tend to clean up issues of franchise canon and continuity. The film was first announced in 2011 with the intention of being released in January, 2012.
As things sometime go in Hollywood, Amityville: The Awakening was stuck in development hell and wasn’t even filmed until 2014. At that point, it was going to be released in early 2015, but in late 2014, the studio removed the film from their upcoming release schedule.
The following year, the studio announced an April, 2016 release date and then further problems popped up when the film was shown to test audiences that apparently hated it. Following the usual tweaks, the release of Amityville: The Awakening was scheduled for several different dates in 2017.
Finally, a release date was set for October 28, 2017. In the meantime, the film was released for free on Google Play, where it was available for several weeks for anyone who wanted to see it.
At last, the film opened in the United States in a total of ten theaters with zero money spent to promote it. In all likelihood, the film was released to theaters only because somebody involved in the project had a contract stipulating that the film would see theatrical release.
The total gross for the weekend in those 10 theaters was $742, an average of $74 per theater. If you consider four screenings per day over the three days of the weekend, that means that the film would have been shown 120 times, and for that, they received an average of about $6 per showing, suggesting that no more than one person was in the theater at any given time.
Not a good showing.
What a lot of stories about Amityville: The Awakening are not saying, however, is that the film did open in the Philippines and in Ukraine earlier this year and in those showings, grossed the better part of a million dollars.
That’s not a lot of money, and it certainly won’t recoup the cost of production, but it’s a lot more than the seven hundred dollars the film grossed in the United States.
The film will be released on Blu-Ray and DVD in November 2017.