TV & Movies

Beau Is Afraid Proves That Bizarre Indie Flicks, Not Blockbusters, Will Save Movie Theaters

It goes without saying that massive blockbusters aren’t going away, and studios will absolutely still pursue them because of the immense box office potential. No one’s going to turn their nose up at more “Avatar” when each one could feasibly gross over $2 billion in theaters. Furthermore, for all the panic buttons that keep getting pressed, movie theaters aren’t going to go extinct — even in worst-case scenario, companies like Disney or Amazon could purchase them to keep them afloat. Smaller movies, though, are just as necessary. And and if trends are any indication, the stranger could be for the better. 

“Everything Everywhere All at Once” is a great example. It’s a film about generational trauma utilizing the multiverse, packed full of wild ieas, that grossed nearly $140 million worldwide, which includes its re-release in the lead-up to awards season. The same holds true for “Skinamarink,” which grossed $2 million in theaters but only had a budget of $15,000. Both films were completely original ideas, and they both garnered strong word-of-mouth, allowing them to make good on their respective smaller budgets. 

Indie films may not get the same kind of marketing budget as “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3.” That means, when it comes to convincing audiences to shell out money for tickets, it’s all the more important to have an enticing hook. Something that trends on social media — like people sharing negative reviews of “Beau is Afraid” which make it sound positively vile — gives these movies inherent free publicity that they wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. 

However, that kind of talk only comes from something no one has seen before. For a success in this space, a studio can’t play it safe. They need to do the opposite of their intuition, and to embrace risk.

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