In a bit of surprising box-office news, Business Insider says that Panos Cosmatos’ horror/action/thriller Mandy is breaking all sorts of preconceived notions that movie distributors have about lower-tier films that hit on-demand platforms at the same time as their theatrical premieres. Since opening a few weeks ago, Mandy—which stars Nicolas Cage at his most Nicolas Cagey—has grossed $840,000 from only 210 theaters, with its VOD take supposedly being “in the millions.” Apparently, despite the fact that pretty much everyone with access to a VOD service can watch the movie right now, audiences are choosing to leave their homes and see it in a theater or demanding that distribution company RLJ Entertainment brings Mandy to more markets.
Business Insider explains that RLJ’s normal rollout plan for movies like this involves opening in a bunch of theaters on day one and then steadily decreasing that number every week, which is what it had been doing before the movie started to develop a fanbase that really wanted to see it in a theater. That means it’s harder to find a theater playing Mandy now than it was a few weeks ago, with no theaters in Los Angeles playing it in its second weekend, but now RLJ says it’s getting a bunch of calls from theaters trying to open up slots for Mandy later this month and into November because local moviegoers are asking for it.
RLJ now believes it has organically stumbled onto a new Rocky Horror Picture Show, which is to say that fans have realized that Mandy plays better in a theater, so they’re just going to keep seeing it in theaters even though they don’t have to. RLJ’s Mark Ward even thinks the movie has “changed how day-and-date [releases] are perceived,” since this clearly means that an on-demand movie won’t necessarily get outright dismissed in theaters. It’s probably too early to say if that’s really true, but people definitely really like Mandy.