It is fair to say that filmmaker Steven Soderbergh has never done things the conventional way. Indeed, you only have to look at Unsane to see this due to the fact that this was a film which he shot entirely on an iPhone 7 Plus.
However, that movie, as well as Logan Lucky, did not do well at the box office due to their unique distribution. In an interview with Deadline, he discussed the failure of both films when it came to distribution.
Unsane + Logan Lucky
Here is what Soderbergh had to say on the distribution shortcomings of Unsane and Logan Lucky:
“Typically, you cannot get out of bed for under $30 million in marketing and it’s probably going up from there. I felt with a strategically targeted campaign, you ought to be able to do it for $20 million. My concern was, the implications of skyrocketing marketing costs are dire for creative people.”
“So I wanted to see if it was possible. It didn’t work on Logan [Lucky]. I got the opportunity to do it again on Unsane. It didn’t work again. The bottom line: $20 million is not enough for a wide-release film to generate the level of awareness that you have to have. It’s just not.”
“On Logan Lucky, we put a disproportionate amount of our money into digital and a very small amount into TV. I decided to reverse that ratio on Unsane, because my takeaway from Logan Lucky is forgetting about awareness, and that it’s still, for all its inefficiency, a good way to get a lot of eyeballs on your movie through commercials.”
“I think there’s also a psychological component that’s tricky to quantify. Which is, if people don’t see commercials for your movie, they don’t think it’s a real movie. Seriously. Real movies advertise on TV. I think that’s how people think.”
“So if they didn’t see your commercial, they’re like, that must be some off-market thing. Because I see ads on my favorite shows for real movies. So we tried that on Unsane. It still didn’t work.”