BUSINESS INSIDER: The Surprise Theatrical Success of Mandy Has Distributors Rethinking Release Strategies
Since its release on September 14th, Panos Cosmatos’ Mandy has been KILLING IT (pun intended) at the theater. In addition to thrilling critics and audiences (Esquire recently listed it #1 on it’s “Best Movie of 2018 So Far”), it’s also put the industry on notice, as demonstrated in a recent Business Insider article.
This is EXACTLY what we were hoping for when we invested in the film. After all, Mandy has all the makings of a cult classic. The Business Insider article goes so far as ask if it might become the next Rocky Horror Picture Show. As an investor, we’re THRILLED by this comparison. We also believe we can play a role making it happen.
The credit for Mandy’s success belongs to first and foremost Panos and the team of incredibly talented people who poured their heart and soul into making the movie. They created something so remarkable that it’s defying industry norms and getting people out of their living rooms and into theaters. Even more impressive, it’s doing this with a marketing budget that is non-existent by Hollywood’s standards. Mandy is succeeding because of grassroots, word-of-mouth buzz, which is only made possible by the remarkable viral nature of the film.
But for a virus to become an epidemic it needs a vector. And what better “patient zero” than tens of thousands of passionate Legion M’ers spreading the news and “infecting” their family and friends? Below are just some of the ways that Legion M has worked to help spread Mandy around the world:
We shouted from the rooftops when it got accepted to Sundance, then showed up in force at the Park City premier. We hosted the official premier party (open to our members and investors, of course) at the Legion M lounge, and live-streamed to the world a Mandy Q&A that was crashed by Nic Cage and Vince Neil.
We took Mandy to the two largest Comic Cons in the United States (San Diego and New York) where we had panels featuring exclusive footage, booths with props from the film on display, parties with Mac and Cheese, and celebrity appearances from the Cheddar Goblin. We had cosplayers dressing as Red even before the film released!
We helped sell out the Hollywood premier at the Egyption theater in a matter of hours. Hundreds of Legion M’ers came out, and we live streamed to those who couldn’t make it in person. We also co-hosted the afterparty and helped bring on Kevin Smith to host a live Q&A.
On opening night, Legion M organized 60+ meetups at theaters around the country — nearly half the screens the movie was playing on — and supported them (in partnership with distributor RLJ) with free limited edition pins.
We created highly coveted Mandy merchandise, including the ever popular “Mandy Party Box” with cool collectibles, drink recipes, and instructions for how to host the ultimate Mandy viewing party in your living room (Cheddar Goblin Mac & Cheese included!).
We’ve worked our social channels relentlessly. A quick look at our website and social media shows tens of thousands of social shares. And those are just on OUR posts! Every single activity listed above is designed to encourage sharing — both from those in attendance as well as our community of 40,000+.
A word of mouth phenomena like Mandy is the perfect case study for Legion M. Our whole premise is that an entertainment company owned by fans has a competitive advantage, a fact that is clearly on display for Mandy. Our goal isn’t just to get our community out to see a film—it’s to use our community as a lever that gets the WORLD to see the film. And for a niche, critical darling with no marketing budget, that might just be the difference between a “hidden gem” and a “cult classic”.