‘The Canyons’ Producer Rips Hollywood for ‘Concealing’ Box Office Data (Exclusive)

‘The Canyons’ Producer Rips Hollywood for ‘Concealing’ Box Office Data (Exclusive)

Braxton Pope wants to know how much his money made on VOD

“The Canyons,” Paul Schrader's pulp film starring Lindsay Lohan and adult film actor James Deen, has turned a profit. How much? Its producer isn’t sure, and he wants to find out.

Braxton Pope sent an email Monday to the film’s distributor, IFC, urging greater clarity about the film's performance on video-on-demand services and digital storefronts such as iTunes. In that email, obtained by TheWrap, Pope rebukes Hollywood for its infamous lack of transparency — especially in the digital age.

Also read: Why VOD's Popularity Is a Mixed Blessing for Indie Film

“Hollywood has long had a policy of concealing data, presumably, in part, because to reveal it would be to invite filmmakers/profit participants to demand what they are contractually owed,” Pope wrote in an email addressed to Schrader, “Canyons” writer Bret Easton Ellis and IFC Films executives. “Digital is surging and will eventually match and likely exceed domestic box office which is a mature platform with little growth, thus at some point you would think there would have to be a method for accurate reporting of all downloads, streaming, etc., in some systematic, comprehensive fashion.”

Pope was not objecting to IFC, whom he told TheWrap has been “great to work with.”  Instead, Pope was lambasting a system that inhibits filmmakers from getting a full and clear account of their movies’ financial performance.

See video: Watch Lindsay Lohan Get Outacted by a Porn Star in ‘The Canyons’

“The Canyons” debuted on video-on-demand Aug. 2 — the same day as it opened in theaters in Los Angeles and New York. Pope said that while he got numbers from IFC, “they are only partially reported, so it is hard to get a comprehensive, accurate picture.” Though he knows the movie has made its money back, he would like to know even more “especially in the digital age in which consumer behavior is so easily tracked and stored by everyone from the government to online shoe retailers.”

Also read: Lindsay Lohan's ‘The Canyons’ Early Reviews: 3 Critics Actually Liked It!

Pope’s email noted an article in the New York Times on Monday about this very subject, one inspired by remarks made by WME’s Leisl Copland at the Toronto International Film Festival.

Copland noted how territorial VOD providers, cable companies, iTunes and Netflix are when it comes to viewer data.

Also read: ‘The Canyons’ Review: A Hollywood Tale Tailor-Made for Today's Lindsay Lohan

“There is still no uniform reporting system that aggregates all data on, say, a film or documentary across all of its platforms,” Copland said.

For films that depend heavily on digital sales, say “The Canyons,” uniformity is essential.

  • Jonathan Baylor

    Will it come out on dvd?

    • J.H.

      November 26

  • JoeS

    The Producer brings up several important points.

    1. Hollywood has never had honest accounting

    2. Maybe VOD isn't doing as well as the industry would like, so they are hiding the numbers until they are decent enough. Combine this story with ones released yesterday about illegal downloads still surging despite ‘legal’ means to watch movies and TV and you see that the industry is still struggling in the digital age.

  • xproducer

    Excellent email Mr. Braxton Pope! Producers are getting the shaft regarding digital revenues…..

  • A.L. Hern

    “Pope was not objecting to IFC, whom he told TheWrap has been “great to work with.”

    WHO he told, Lucas, not whom.

  • leola

    It's the same for published authors. Would be interesting to see how transparent any of this will become.