How Corner Gas: The Movie’s releasing strategy played out

The film screened over eight days in Cineplex, Landmark and indie theatres across the country, immediately followed by a broadcast rollout.

corner_gasCorner Gas: The Movie pulled in a gross of $694,212 at the box office in an “event”-style release model that saw the film screen in theatres across Canada over eight days.

The film was released via Cineplex’s Front Row Centre Event program, where it screened in 102 Cineplex, Landmark and independent theatres from Dec. 3 to Dec. 7. Corner Gas: The Movie then returned to 38 select theatres from Dec. 12 to Dec. 14. Nearly 60,000 Canadians saw the movie in theatres over its eight-day release.

The releasing strategy used by Prairie Pant Distribution saw the theatrical run of the film quickly followed by a release across multiple platforms, including television, digital and DVD.

On TV, Corner Gas: The Movie on CTV and CTV Two (Dec. 17), The Comedy Network (Dec. 22) and The Movie Network channels (Dec. 8 – 13) drew in a cumulative average audience of 3.3 million viewers. Overall, 7.38 million viewers watched some or all of the movie on TV.

On the digital front, Corner Gas: The Movie was played 130,695 times on CTV.ca, CTV Go and Crave TV. The collector’s edition DVD of the movie was released by Prairie Pants Distribution and Video Services Corp on Dec. 16 and was the top-selling Canadian DVD title of that week. According to data from Nielsen, the DVD was #9 overall in sales in Canada for that week.

“I think all the platforms supported each other. I think that’s what people were concerned about going in. They weren’t sure if the platforms would undermine each other. That was what we were trying to test,” executive producer Virginia Thompson told Playback Daily, adding that the film’s box office take doubled Cineplex forecasts.

Thompson credited the success of the multi-platform release strategy to per-platform perks, and communicating those perks to fans via social media. The theatrical screenings featured pre-show events and cast appearances, while the DVD included exclusive content that was not shown in theaters or on TV. The television broadcast also featured an eTalk preview special, which brought in an overnight audience of 832,000.

Corner Gas: The Movie was financed via Bell Media, Telefilm Canada, Cineplex, Tourism Saskatchewan and the Canada Media Fund, as well as a crowdfunding campaign. The financing mix raised some eyebrows in Canadian film circles, with some questioning the crowdfunding effort, which commenced after the film’s financing was complete, and others the role of Telefilm in what some saw as a film primarily made for a television release.

However, the multi-platform nature of the release – and the accompanying marketing strategy anchored by the crowdfunding campaign – was critical to Corner Gas‘s ultimate success, Thompson says.

“I think the capacity to have multiple platforms support each other versus undermine each other is something that we should all take seriously in this industry,” Thompson said.