So Kevin Smith, who is an excellent public speaker, talks about how he wants to change indy distribution. This, to the Internet, is him "imploding" because he wants to distribute pictures himself.
The logic was that they made the picture Red State for $4,000,000 and whomever they would sell it to would probably put in another $20,000,000 in prints and advertising, so that ultimately the movie would have to make back about $50,000,000 just to go into "profit".
So he figured he'd tour around with the picture and sell out some movie theaters and do the distribution themselves.
Now we hear that we're going to finally break the mold, make a paradigm shift, and disrupt the dominant culture all the time. And in motion picture distribution it pretty much hasn't worked once.
Kevin Smith and his team are no spring chickens. They went in with eyes wide open. And they took a flippin bath on the movie.
Red State is actually Kevin Smith's worst-performing movie ever (at something like 1.3 million dollars worldwide.)
This does serve as a warning to all who are all "We got this whole indy VOD release thing figured out, we're gonna leverage our social networks into monetized actuarial pods with cash - based numberwang overflow."
You don't. Smith and company are rather sophisticated. And they've been through the process on pictures which made people money. If Smith (who can draw a fair sized crowd just by showing up) can't have numberwang, what makes you think you can?
UPDATE: As per Kevin Kangas below, Kevin Smith is saying that the picture is actually in the black due to $3M from non-theatrical North American rights plus $1M US theatrical and $1.5M overseas.
But those seem like gross numbers to me still -- surely the venues take a cut, no?
And note that this article speaks on being close to closing on that $3M deal. That was 2011.
So maybe they did actually see black on the books?