Still Promo of Skinamarink.
Coutesy: Bayview Entertainment
Experimental horror film “Skynamarink” has been a social media sensation for months – and now it’s a sleeper hit at the box office.
Canadian director Kyle Edward Ball’s debut feature “Skynamarink” has grossed more than $1.5 million at the box office in its first week of release, according to ComScore.
Some film buffs have compared the experimental film to a found-footage horror classic with its $15,000 budget.The Blair Witch Project” and David Lynch’s surrealistic 1977 Midnight movie “Eraserhead.”
A trendsetter for Internet hype-fueled movies, “The Blair Witch Project” grossed $140 million on a budget of less than $100,000 in 1999, but the success of “Skinamarink” helps define the current era. Profitable scary movies.
According to data from ComScore, the horror genre is expected to generate about $700 million in domestic ticket sales in 2022, less than 10% of the total domestic box office of $7.5 billion. Most of these sales came from highly publicized horror films with budgets of $16 million to $35 million.
Owns and operates Shudder, a horror-focused streaming service AMC Networks, picked up the exclusive rights to the film. Image Feb. It will be screened on 2nd. “Skynamarink” is now available 73% “new” rating Review aggregator site Rotten Tomatoes.
“Skynamarink” focuses on two children who find their father missing, with all the doors and windows of the house. The film uses grainy, unintelligible shots of walls, furniture, television screens and ceilings to portray the eeriness of an abandoned, confined house. It doesn’t show the faces of the characters. Paul told the eagle “It’s like Satan directed a movie and got an AI to edit it. An AI makes weird choices like, ‘Yeah, I’m going to be in this hallway for a while.'”
Some observers in the indie film industry saw it as a potential success early on. Co-executive producer Jonathan Bargan, Mutiny Pictures’ head of acquisitions, found the “Skinamarink” trailer on Reddit in late 2021 and took a gamble that would outpace many of its competitors and resonate with audiences.
While horror is seen by some as a tried-and-true film genre, it’s not as easy to make money from scary movies as it is profitable, Barkhan said. Independent horror films are released every week, and it’s very difficult to stand out among these releases, he said.
“Being a genre that’s already typically a low-budget genre, you have filmmakers who have to be very creative,” Barkhan said. “They have to think, How can we stretch our budget? How can we do something really creative and still get what we’re trying to convey, which is a sense of dread?”
$15,000 goes viral
Paul previously created and released short films based on his childhood dreams Bitten Nightmares YouTube Channel. The channel, which has more than 11,400 subscribers, has garnered a few thousand views for its three- to five-minute horror shorts and his half-hour film “Heck.”
Paul used his childhood home in Edmonton, Alberta as the film’s setting and his childhood toys as props. In addition to film festival expenses and legal paperwork, Paul extended $15,000 in equipment, lighting and film editing software. According to Burgan, he called in favors of acting and equipment.
“There’s really no way to get around a specific budget” in all genres, although Paul took some creative alternatives to the more expensive shooting conventions, says Josh Doke, executive producer of “Skinamarink” and creative director of BayView Entertainment. Acquired Mutiny Pictures.
“Many filmmakers who are making a film for the first time or on a very low budget, try to follow the Hollywood style. They didn’t have access to the best actors or the best lighting or the best equipment,” Doug said. “It’s not like they had it in their heads.”
Still taken from the film “Skynamarin”.
Courtesy: Bayview Entertainment
Paul spared some expense by not filming the characters face-to-face, having them speak off-screen, or showing only their backs or legs. “You don’t need George Clooney in front of the camera,” Doug said. In many scenes the lighting came only from television sets or night lights.
After acquiring the film, Burgon worked to participate in the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, where he had previously served as a jury member. He said it was the “first domino” in fueling its success.
“It’s a stretch to say there’s nothing new or really original under the sun in our field, but it’s really not just experimental horror, it’s more like experiential horror,” Doke said. “I think what it does to people is it puts you in the middle of a dream that you can’t wake up from.”
The world premiere attracted 22 reviews from critics, and it caught the attention of Shutter. The announcement led to film festivals in Europe, one of which leaked its entire footage.
Clips of the film went viral on TikTok when the production team tried to keep the film under wraps after it was stolen and filed takedowns on illegal sites. #Skinamarink now has over 27 million views on the platform.
The film was originally slated to hit theaters on Halloween 2023, but plans were thrown out the window as demand to see the film grew rapidly.
“[Shudder] It’s about embracing what’s happening because there’s no way to stop it,” Barkhan said. “Instead of fighting it, they worked with it.”
With Internet buzz and illegal downloads ramping up around Thanksgiving, Doke said he can’t wait another 10 months for the film to come out. The film opens in North American theaters on January 13.
“Initially, we were talking about a theatrical release through Shutter and IFC, because with a film of his stature, you don’t know the interest, and a big theatrical release is always going to be a challenge,” Toke said. “But the snowball kept rolling down the hill.”
Still taken from the film “Skynamarin”.
Courtesy: Bayview Entertainment
Shutter and the film’s production team agreed to an all-rights deal, meaning that Shutter had not only streaming rights but also exclusives to subscription video and pay-per-view video services. Next, IFC Midnight, owned by the AMC network, was brought in for a theatrical release before being released exclusively on Shutter.
“After seeing the incredible response online, we knew we had to bring this film to as many theaters as possible across the country,” Arianna Bocco, president of IFC Films and IFC Midnight, said in a statement. “Kyle has created a film for a new generation and proves once again what horror films and their community are capable of, even on a small budget.”
It was expected to have 10 to 20 screenings, resulting in 692 theaters in urban areas. “Skynamarink” grossed nearly $900,000 in its first weekend. Last weekend, the film hit 800 theaters and brought in a total box office gross of more than $1.5 million — more than 100 times its budget.
“To make a movie for $15,000, release it, get this level of attention, have a huge theatrical release, and reach this level of box office revenue is an incredibly rare feat,” said Doke.
—CNBC’s Sarah Whitten contributed to this report.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal, CNBC’s parent company, is owned by Rotten Tomatoes.