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.