Name a commerically sucessful indie film

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Scotness
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Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by Scotness » Sat Aug 09, 2008 2:09 pm

I was going through all my DVD's - and CD's - that friends had made the other day - and I realised that none of them were commercially sucessful. And now that I think of it there are very few low/no budget indies that I can think of that I would call sucessful -- commercially that is - not "we finished it" sucessful!

Perhaps Primer, and Kisses and Caroms - I don't know what kind of money the latter did - but it turned up at my local Video Ezy here in Australia under the title of "American Pool" or something - so it got somewhere!

But anyway I know there are sucess stories out there - but can anyone name some that made any kind of decent profit - and perhaps one that was made and discussed by people here. None of my efforts fall into this category (yet!)
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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by Astro » Thu Aug 21, 2008 7:38 pm

Necromantic.
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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by woods01 » Wed Oct 22, 2008 9:02 pm

Well it all depends on how you define "success". Do you mean that it got a distribution deal or that it made bags and bags of money?

There are the famous indies that were picked up and distributed like Slacker, Clerks and El Mariachi. Not as famous would be Chris Nolan's Following. And let's not forget all of Jarmusch's early stuff and I'll mention Winnipeg auteur Guy Maddin's first feature Tales from Gimli Hospital. However, I believe for most of those films their distribution deal put the actual project into a break even point and they weren't exactly hits except as cult movies on video.

The real indie hits I can think of are Napolean Dynamite and Blair Witch. And then there are numerous fake indie hits with million dollar budgets and a professional crew like My Big Fat Greek Wedding.

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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by Actor » Mon Nov 10, 2008 9:52 am

Scotness wrote: - but can anyone name some that made any kind of decent profit -
Deep Throat

Filmed on 16mm for $25,000. So far has grossed over $600,000,000.

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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by BigBeaner » Sat Nov 22, 2008 5:08 pm

Technically, Francis Ford Coppola's and George Lucas' are usually independent movies - specifically the later Star Wars movies that were funded primarily from Lucasfilm itself and distributed through Fox. Memento, a lot of Kurosawa's films were independent, Blair Witch Project and the affore mentioned El Marachi, Little Miss Sunshine. There's a ton you just sometimes don't realize it.

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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by Actor » Mon Nov 24, 2008 9:45 am

BigBeaner wrote:Technically, Francis Ford Coppola's and George Lucas' are usually independent movies - specifically the later Star Wars movies that were funded primarily from Lucasfilm itself and distributed through Fox. Memento, a lot of Kurosawa's films were independent, Blair Witch Project and the affore mentioned El Marachi, Little Miss Sunshine. There's a ton you just sometimes don't realize it.
"Technically," The Terminator and the first James Bond film Dr No were independent films.

Orson Welles's Shakespearean films Macbeth, Othello and The Chimes at Midnight. were independent films. He often put the entire production on hold while he scrounged up more cash. I don't know if the Welles films made money but they are such classics and have been in release for so long that it would surprise me if they had not made money.

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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by Actor » Mon Nov 24, 2008 10:28 am

How about Herk Harvey's Carnival of Souls?

The movie was made in 1962 for $33,000 (probably $300,000 to $400,000 in today's money). It gained an immediate cult following, played for years at drive-ins and became known as "the movie that would not die." It's available on DVD from the Criterion Collection. Odds are it's made money.

It was shot on B&W 35mm, silent with Mariachi style ADR.

Wes Craven's direct to video color remake sucks!

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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by brokenflashlight » Thu Dec 11, 2008 5:09 pm

Carnival of Souls; good one.
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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by Mmechanic » Wed May 13, 2009 7:04 pm

Easy Rider, 1968-69

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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by ricohmite » Tue May 19, 2009 3:36 am

Blood Simple

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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by mattias » Mon Aug 24, 2009 10:35 am

few low budget independent movies become big hits, but for the filmmaker it's not that hard to make a decent profit. simply selling your film to one distributor in one market will cover your budget, give yourself a nice salary, and then some. of course you need to finish the film yourself, or they will deduct the finishing cost from the price, meaning you get nothing. something to consider for everyone who thinks they just have to edit the film and let the distributor pick up the finishing costs. i have my feature financed all the way to an answer print on 35mm, so when one of the distribution deals i'm working on finally closes that's money for me and my investors directly, whether my film becomes a huge hit or not. my budget was around $100,000 btw.

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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by Wade » Mon Sep 14, 2009 7:06 am

mattias wrote: of course you need to finish the film yourself, i have my feature financed all the way to an answer print on 35mm, .
Besides mixing sound, lab work to get an answer print, what else should you budget to finish the indie film? Do you need to budget in marketing costs?
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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by Wade » Mon Oct 26, 2009 10:58 pm

Looks like the movie Paranormal Activity can be added to the list. It's close to being home-made--literally being shot in the director's home for production cost of $15,000 USD. Last weekend BO as of 10-26-2009 is $22M. Marketing was on Twitter and other sites.
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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by Matthew Buick » Mon Jul 05, 2010 11:28 pm

Blair Witch? :mrgreen:
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Re: Name a commerically sucessful indie film

Post by grainy » Sun Jan 09, 2011 9:37 pm

There' s a lot of successful indy films out there: the above plus Pi, Night of the LIving Dead, Sweet Sweetback's Baaaad aaaas song, the list goes on.
I'm not sure but I think a few of John Cassevetes' films did well.
BTW, Primer was not commercially successful. It is popular with a devoted group on DVD but totally died in the theater. Not sure if it was due to ThinkFilm going belly up at the time or what...
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