The predictable commercial flop of the pioneers
by Sergio Ríos Pérez
- One of the most innovative projects ever carried out in Spain, The Cosmonaut, has disclosed the figures for its complex distribution, notable for its small victories and major hiccups
The world is never straightforward for pioneers, and cinema is no exception. And on top of that, if people try to experiment with new opportunities in almost each and every facet of the conception, production and distribution of a film, the likelihood of something going off the rails increases exponentially. That is exactly what has happened with The Cosmonaut, one of the most innovative projects ever undertaken in Spain, a result of the passion and rebelliousness (together with a smidgen of carelessness) inherent in the youth of its creators.
One year after its premiere on 15 May 2013 (read what Cineuropa wrote about its atypical release at the time), the movie's creators, Carola Rodríguez, Bruno Teixidor and Nicolás Alcalá, have decided to lay their cards on the table and disclose all the figures concerning its complex distribution – both the positive and the negative ones.
According to information provided by the production company, The Cosmonaut was seen by a total of 322,600 people across all of its exhibition formats. Among these, movie theatres were certainly not the most significant, welcoming barely 8,500 viewers, which was fairly predictable due to the absence of a distributor. The various VoD platforms that distributed it (ranging from Yomvi, Filmin and Filmotech to Amazon and iTunes) fared a lot better, with 26,915 viewers, even though takings have so far only amounted to around €1,800.
These were not the only online platforms to show the film: the movie was available for free in high definition on the official website, in the hopes that the public would make a voluntary contribution as a sign of appreciation. However, its audience doesn't appear to have been that appreciative, as a mere 2.5% of the 17,580 viewers coughed up any money. As for the remaining platforms, the p2p distributor Frostclick racked up 47,000 downloads, television channel Canal + recorded 4,000 viewings, and just under 600 physical-media products (book/DVD combos and USB) were sold.
It is unusual for an experimental project such as this one to show such a high degree of transparency, perhaps because it is assumed that originality is of value in itself and must not be marred by failure further down the line. Of course, there is much to be learnt from this experiment with The Cosmonaut, both in terms of the elements that did work out and those that are still difficult to pull off successfully.
(Translated from Spanish)