During its U.K. opening weekend last weekend, it sold a single ticket in its only venue, the Reel Cinema in Burnley, northern England, taking in a whopping £7 ($8.73), according to data tracker comScore. That admission is believed to have been a single student ticket priced at £6.90 (comScore rounds its data up to the nearest pound).
The cinema is since confirmed to have sold a further two tickets since its dismal opening weekend.
The film has seen a slight boost, however, from a specialist theater chain that provides films for military personnel and their dependents in the U.K. and overseas. SSVC Forces Cinemas has eight theaters in the U.K.
“Man Down” is an obvious choice for Forces Cinemas given that its central character, played by LaBeouf, is a U.S. Marine returning home from a tour in Afghanistan suffering from PTSD. The film played at the circuit’s Forum Cinema in Blandford on Monday and Tuesday and generated more than three times the box office of the Burnley site, taking results through Tuesday to £79 ($98.50).
Forces Cinemas has further booked the film for April 18 and 20 at the Jitg Theatre in Chicksands, and has five screenings scheduled, including two over the Easter weekend (April 14 and 16), at the Phoenix Cinema on the British overseas territory of the Falkland Islands.
The film sees director Dito Montiel reunite with LaBeouf, who starred in Montiel’s debut film, “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints,” in 2006. That film grossed £68,420 ($133,583) in the U.K. Montiel’s previous film, 2014’s “Boulevard” starring Robin Williams, also failed to attract many British moviegoers, earning a total of £1,852 ($2,603).
Such low openings are not unprecedented in the U.K., as titles are frequently given a token theatrical release to help generate VOD and later DVD sales, according to distribution sources. Bulldog Film Distribution saw its release of “Misconduct,” starring Oscar winners Al Pacino and Anthony Hopkins, hit the headlines when it opened with £97 ($140) last June, on its way to a £2,006 ($2,890) total gross.
Posters for “Man Down,” advertising the film as available in cinemas and on iTunes, can currently be seen on the London Underground despite the fact that the film is not booked to play in the British capital.
One U.K. distributor told Variety that the commitment of theatrical positioning, which also secures print reviews, helps with strong support in terms of positioning on VOD platforms like iTunes and Sky Store, as well as giving the impression of a bigger theatrical release to audiences.
“Man Down” distributor Signature has generated headlines for low box office results on films with A-list stars in the past with films like Emma Watson title “The Colony,” which grossed a total of £633 ($844) after an opening weekend of £47 ($63) in July last year. Signature releases Arnold Schwarzenegger vehicle “Aftermath” this Friday.
“Man Down” premiered at the Venice Film Festival in 2015. It co-stars Kate Mara, Jai Courtney and Gary Oldman.
|PHOTO COURTESY OF VENICE FILM FESTIVAL|
Shia LaBeouf Thriller ‘Man Down’ Sells Just One Ticket at U.K. Box Office
“Man Down,” a war thriller with Shia LaBeouf, grossed just £7 ($8.70) when it premiered in a single U.K. theater over the weekend, according to ComScore. That’s the equivalent of selling a single ticket, given that the U.K. Cinema Association puts the average movie admission cost in the country at £7.21.
“Poor Shia,” said Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at ComScore. “That opening could be in the Guinness World Records or something.”
The film played in one location, Reel Cinema in Burnley. It was simultaneously released digitally on demand, making the theatrical release something of an afterthought. It launches on DVD and Blu-ray next month, according to the Guardian.
After scoring in big studio blockbusters such as “Transformers” and “Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull,” LaBeouf has focused on more indie projects with mixed success. He earned strong reviews for last year’s “American Honey,” but other work, such as “The Company You Keep” and “Charlie Countryman” have barely registered with critics or audiences. Instead, the media has focused on LaBeouf’s off-screen behavior, such several alcohol-related arrests (he got sober), and performance art that recently saw the actor participate in an art installation protesting Donald Trump’s presidency.
“Man Down” reunited LaBeouf with Dito Montiel. The two previously worked together on 2006’s “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.” The film screened at the Venice and Toronto film festivals to negative reviews. It did better in the United States than it did across the pond, grossing $454,490.
Other stars in indie projects have seen similarly dismal results. Emma Watson got a wave of negative publicity last summer when her direct-to-video film “The Colony” only opened to £47 in the U.K., while Richard Gere’s “The Benefactor” kicked off to a dismal £25 in spring of 2016.
All the attention about the small grosses may have a side benefit. It could raise attention for the low-profile project.
“There could be a silver lining to those seven pounds,” said Dergarabedian.
Shia LaBeouf film Man Down makes £7 in opening weekend
Shia LaBeouf's latest film hasn't exactly set the UK box office on fire.
War movie Man Down, which also stars Gary Oldman, Jai Courtney and Kate Mara, made £7 on its opening weekend.
Or - to put it another way - the film sold one adult ticket.
To put that into perspective, Beauty and the Beast took a further £6.75m over the weekend.
Why so low? Well, to be fair, it did only open in one place: the Reel Cinema in Burnley.
The screening was held to coincide with the film's simultaneous release on digital platforms.
The cinema has since told the BBC it has sold a further four tickets - including two on Wednesday.
And while the popularity of the film has not gone through the roof, the staff member said there had been "quite a few" calls from the media.
The film's appearance in just one cinema is likely to have been done to secure reviews in the media.
But Man Down has not fared well with the critics. The Daily Telegraph says Man Down is a "bomb site of a film" and gave it one star, while The Guardian's two-star review calls it "irredeemable".
The i is slightly more favourable, giving the film three stars. It is "impossible to fault Shia LaBeouf's commitment to the lead role" of an ex-marine who has post-traumatic stress disorder, its writer says.
Other films released last weekend that only opened at one cinema include Guru, which grossed £17, and horror film The Void, which grossed £1,163, according to figures from the British Film Institute.
And last year, Beauty and the Beast and Harry Potter actress Emma Watson's film Colonia, also known as The Colony, made just £47 over its opening weekend in the UK.
But we still have an unanswered question: who was the one LaBeouf fan who bought that ticket?
If you want to catch it on the big screen there's just one screening in Burnley left - tomorrow at 12:20 BST.
There are only 78 seats left though, so you had better be quick.