Box Office: "The Blind" Surprises, But Is It Pointing Us Towards the Conservative Star Rising?

Jon Croft profile image
by Jon Croft
Box Office: "The Blind" Surprises, But Is It Pointing Us Towards the Conservative Star Rising?

The Blind surprised me with effective numbers (a $5m weekend and strong increases), but then I remembered the Duck Commander fans. But how much of a factor is this? And are there other factors involved?

We don’t get a lot of numbers and analytics for conservative or faith-based film, but you can cobble together some numbers from disparate places to paint a picture. I look for trends in conservative film (which is currently hard to define) and in faith-based film, to see whether there is an upswing, and how the upswing for these kinds of films will happen. Certain characteristics are unpredictable, but others can certainly be used, and have been for decades.

Marketing campaigns, star power, effective demographics, hot issues, and source material are all popular characteristics for tracking. Star Power sometimes includes directors, but generally it’s the marketing team assisted by their lead actor or actors that have committed or contracted to work towards that effort. Stars are the most effective marketing element to a film, or at least they used to be, but often I will personally go to a film just for the director, despite the actors. This is because I know that a good director is a more consistent factor to getting a quality film, at the end of the day.

Well, at the risk of boring everyone with this marketing detritus that the rare person cares for, I will focus in on two elements here; stars and marketing campaigns. The most expensive thing a studio can use is a marketing campaign, such as one done in the Barbie film, but just like that film, this is also the most effective thing to use. But, Hollywood owns this portion of the business lock stock and barrel. Angel Studios is making inroads, however, using their internet marketing, pay-it-forward, crowdfunding, and livestreams on social media. But this is an uphill battle for Angel, like it is for any film industry upstart, and it shows in every new theatrical release they put out.

So, what are we seeing with The Blind? As stated, they had a good $5,200,000 over their first weekend. If you look at the velocity of numbers, the percentage of drop during the week is a good indicator. It lets you know if a film has what’s called “good legs” (aka “long legs”) meaning it may stay in theaters longer, and hopefully make more money this way, during its theatrical run. This can also let you know that this film is not a flash in the pan, and it may even have potential internationally, possibly striking on a common human story that will play in many territories.

The Blind numbers indicate good legs, copyright, Nash Information Services, LLC

But The Blind likely cannot go international, where a film like Sound of Freedom can. Why? It’s the nature of the star power, which has its limitations. Duck Commander is not necessarily the kind of star that travels across the border, where Jim Caviezel is a star who will, especially considering his fanbase in Catholic and Latin American nations (due to success of The Passion of the Christ).

Let’s compare a few films, of similar demographics & genre, to get a better picture. You can get a picture by comparing films that are almost the same, except for a few key differences. In this case, I will compare it to The Hill, Father Stu, and Family Camp.

A film like The Blind has some strong star power, and it likely has a marketing budget behind it. Not sure how much, but it’s often how you use it, instead of Hollywood’s version of this which is to throw a million noodles at it and see what sticks. I will often see the effects of this marketing where others won’t. While others will see it on a bus banner or on a television commercial, which is likely where I won’t see it. The Blind had many interviews, many articles written, podcasts, and shows. They even made their own podcast just for the marketing of the film. It goes into the story behind the film, but I didn’t hear the entire thing. This is something the Robertson family is very good at though, so maybe it’s something I will listen to eventually. Suffice to say there were some good choices here in the marketing, including an exceptional trailer.

The reason I’m saying this is that both Father Stu & The Hill have good star power, albeit with slightly different key demographics. But Family Camp, not so much. But my guess is that Father Stu had better marketing work done than The Hill, because The Hill didn’t perform as well. As you can see here, from the diagram below, Father Stu and The Blind did the best, The Hill was next, and Family Camp performed the worst. The reason I included Family Camp here is that it gives you an example of a faith-based film with similar age demographics, but different genre, marketing, and star power. These factors obviously matter here.

The Hill represents an older demographic as represented by Dennis Quaid, and an older faith-based film trope with the sports film. What does this say? The older demographic isn’t as strong as it once was, in faith-based film. The Blind & Father Stu both tell us this, with their slightly younger demographic within the drama film genre. The trailer plays like a more emotional drama, and less of a classic faith-based trope. I think this is good thing.

The Blind comparison on, copyright, Nash Information Services, LLC

With these numbers, what this tells me is that we are going into more mainstream audiences with faith-based film. It tells me that a good marketing plan makes a BIG difference, and having a star (in conservative & faith-based film) is still relevant here, even necessary.

The rest of Hollywood’s stars are going dim, but faith-based and conservative film CAN bring a hope that the star is not dead, with people like Gina Carano, Jim Caviezel, Mark Wahlberg, Mel Gibson, and Jonathan Roumie, new stars are making a difference to theatrical numbers. This December we will have another opportunity to see the difference here, with the faith-based sci-fi The Shift, which will rely heavily upon some new up & coming faith-based stars: Liz Tabish, Neal McDonough, Rose Reid, Jordan Walker Ross, and Paras Patel.

But hopefully, the success-cases we get in the near future will also help us build a database of knowledge to identify some successful techniques to get more upturns in ticket sales in theaters and in streaming, into the future. This could have a massive impact on the future of the film industry for decades to come.

Did you enjoy this article on box office numbers? What are your thoughts on the marketing of films like The Blind? Did I get anything wrong? Let us know on our social media, or comment below (with subscription).

Jon Croft profile image
by Jon Croft

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