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Demand Film, a new service that books movie screenings in theaters in response to audience demand, is entering the U.S. market, where it will begin by presenting documentaries like Phil Keoghan’s Le Ride this month.
Begun by Australian distributor Leap Frog Films, Demand Film launched four years ago in Australia and New Zealand, expanded to the U.K. last year and is now aiming to establish a presence in the U.S. and Canada.
The service offers a lineup of film titles; prospective moviegoers are invited to fill out screening request forms at us.demand.film and when enough moviegoers express interest in a particular title, a screening is scheduled and tickets are sold. The service, which has signed agreements with both the major movie chains and independent screens, is designed to bring audiences into movie theaters on low-attendance nights early in the week while offering moviegoers a chance to see films that otherwise wouldn’t be available in theaters.
“In Australia, New Zealand and the U.K., our business model is now averaging 129 people per movie screening on quiet nights such as Mondays and Wednesdays, when cinemas would be lucky to get even 10 percent of that number,” said Demand Film managing director David Doepel. “Furthermore, these tickets are being sold at premium prices, not at a discounted rate. With a fantastic lineup of all-new, feature-length documentary films available for screening in the U.S. and Canada, we’re confident that we will meet or beat those attendance numbers there.”
Added Demand Film’s executive vp global business Andrew Hazelton, who is based in Los Angeles and is leading the North American rollout: “We already have more than 100 requests to host screenings in the U.S. and this is without any promotion or marketing, so we’re ready to hit the ground running.”
Keoghan, the host of TV’s The Amazing Race, directed Le Ride, in which he and a friend, using vintage racing bikes, recreate the route of the 1928 Tour De France, in which an untested team from New Zealand and Australia went up against more experienced racers. More than 20 screenings have already been scheduled as Demand Film gets underway.
Next up will be Sarah Barton’s Defiant Lives, which looks at the disability rights movement in Australia, the U. K. and the U.S. Other titles on tap include Hippocratic, a portrait of Dr. M.R. Rajagopal, who has pioneered palliative care in India; Wilbur – The King in the Ring, a comedic documentary about an ex-professional wrestler trying to return to the ring; and Voyage of the Southern Sun, which follows adventurer Michael Smith as he circumnavigates the globe.
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