Advance tickets went on sale on Wednesday for Warner Bros. Discovery’s “The Color Purple.” Not only are tickets already available, but WBD – at least through Fandango — is taking a page out of the Angel Studios playbook by letting consumers gift tickets to other people.
In this variation on the “pay it forward” program that helped Angel Studios turn “Sound of Freedom” into a surprise summer blockbuster, users can either buy tickets for themselves or gift tickets to others. The gift ticket option boils down to buying a digital ticket or a physical ticket.
In both cases, the cost is $20 a pop. Moreover, in both cases, audiences can use the $20 gift allotment for two tickets if they live somewhere where tickets are $10 or below. It is little different from buying a gift certificate, save that it is for a specific movie and is designed to encourage audiences to buy tickets for their friends and family.
“Sound of Freedom” legged out to $184 million in North America this summer, partially due to Angel Studios’ “pay it forward” program. Using the gimmick, fans and audiences bought tickets that could be claimed by those wanting to see the film. The Warner Bros. approach for “The Color Purple” is a little more conventional, but it still aligns with the spirit of the midsummer success story. WBD is promoting the Blitz Bazawule-directed and Marcus Gradley-penned theatrical feature as an ideal holiday gift.
And yes, considering the demographically specific event film nature of the Taraji P. Henson/Danielle Brooks/Fantasia Barrino/Corey Hawkins/Halle Bailey/Colman Domingo-led feature, it’s not absurd to think that fans of the source material (be it the book, the musical or even the 1985 Steven Spielberg-directed film) will try to turn a year-end showing of the Oprah Winfrey-produced film into a friends-and-family event.
It is a clever appropriation of a gimmick that paid off like gangbusters earlier this year. Whether it becomes mere trivia or an example of how Hollywood reacts to Angels Studios’ potentially game-changing success remains to be seen.
“The Color Purple” opens theatrically on Dec. 25, a Monday. If this works, in terms of inspiring better-than-expected advance-ticket sales – especially the gifting option – we could see this applied to any number of upcoming franchise or IP-specific films.