Box Office Sabermetrics: The Career Batting Line of Radius-TWC

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Last week I went and saw the horror film Goodnight Mommy, and as my brain was crying and the audience was epically disturbed, I realized that this was possibly the last release I would see under the Radius-TWC banner. Earlier this year Tom Quinn and Jason Janego, the co-founders of the independent distributor, left the company in order to start a new one with Drafthouse (which we’re all jazzed about). Ever since then, the lights seem to be off at Radius with no signs of turning back on. So now, we take a look at just how successful they were in their all too brief but memorable run, which saw them giving great releases to challenging films like Only God Forgives, It Follows, Snowpiercer and Blue Ruin. It’s time to looks at the career batting line for their domestic theatrical releases.

The thing is, with most independent distributors, they go into buying a film knowing that any profit they see from it is going to be made from ancillary markets – VOD and Home Release – and those numbers are hard to come by. So to keep the data from getting skewed, and since we’re focusing on domestic box office here, we’re only going to pool data from films that saw a release of 50 theaters or more.

We’ll be determining the career lines by seasons just like baseball, with each year counting as its own season. To get the line for each “season”, we’ll be getting the batting average and on base percentage (OBP) then getting the average of those results to determine the yearly results. Just like the last column, to get batting average is simple, we just take the weekly results for the film, determine the average weekly gross, and mark a hit for each time it meets or exceeds that average. And just as the last column, the way we’ll get OBP is by adding another hit for each week it had a positive uptick in gross from the previous week.

Minor Leagues

To start us off easy, we’ll start with Radius-TWC’s first year of operation, 2012. That year they only had two theatrical releases, Bachelorette and Butter. Bachelorette’s average weekly gross was $89.5 thousand, and it hit that mark 2 out of 5 weeks of release, giving it a .400 batting average. It had no positive uptick in gross week to week, so its OBP remains at .400. Happy and healthy. Butter we’ll have to pass by as it only had one week of release in 90 theaters, so there’s really not much data to gather there in the same way that you can’t figure out a player’s potential in just one at bat. So, that’ll leave 2012 at a robust, if somewhat inaccurate as we’ve got such a small data pool to draw from, .400/.400 BA and OBP. 2012 was similar to a prospect getting called up to the expanded roster in September to finish out the year in the big leagues so the team can get a feel for how they’ll perform.

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Rookie Year

2013 was the official rookie year of Radius-TWC, finally called up to a full-time playing position in Hollywood, and if Hollywood had a rookie of the year award, they could have won it. 2013 was a year when Radius started to make a name for themselves. They gave a great release and found an audience for the polarizing Only God Forgives and rode 20 Feet to Stardom all the way to the Oscars. They had 4 releases that year that hit our 50+ mark of theaters to play in (we’ll be passing on Aftershock and Man of Tai Chi as they only played for one week despite hitting 110 theaters each), and fielded a solid lineup through them with 20 Feet to Stardom being the clear slugger on the team. The film not only had the highest domestic gross with $4.6 million, it also had the most longevity with a whopping 53 weeks of theatrical release that carried into 2014. (Disclosure: we’ll be counting the 2014 statistics of this film towards the 2013 results to keep it in year of release) It’s average weekly gross was $93.3 thousand, and it hit that mark 11 times, giving it a batting average of .208. It only looks bad because it spent half its run in a handful of theaters where it could only gross in the hundreds. The OBP better reflects the success, coming out to .585 as it had a positive uptick in gross 20 times. Only God Forgives had an average gross of $111.29 thousand, and hit that mark twice in its 7 week run for an amiable .286 batting average, and OBP of .429 (3-7). Altogether, Radius-TWC had a .254/.560 line, a perfectly good result for their rookie year.

Most Improved

2014 was the real test though, would they fall into a sophomore slump or continue to progress? That year they rose to the unenviable task of trying to make a domestic theatrical impact off of Snowpiercer while their executive Harvey Weinstein was doing everything he could to keep it out of theaters. It’s average weekly gross was $268.4 thousand, and it produced a massive batting average of .353 and an OBP of .471. With that film leading the team, Radius-TWC would finish out the year with 8 films in the parameters of analysis we’ve set (we’re counting Citizenfour’s 2015 totals towards 2014’s results). They had a monster .387 batting average and .567 OBP. They delivered and then some on the promise of their 2013 season.

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MVP

This year was their final season, and it was perhaps their best yet. They put out the two best horror films of the year – Goodnight Mommy and It Follows – with It Follows becoming a big hit in domestic theaters, the label’s biggest grosser and widest release ever with it playing in 1,655 theaters at one point. It’s average weekly gross was $978 thousand, and it hit that mark 4 times in its 15 week run, giving it a batting average of .267. Add in the three weeks of positive uptick in gross and it’s got an OBP of .467. Add It Follow’s results with the other 4 films this year that fit our criteria (Goodnight Mommy is still in theaters, and the data we pooled from them reflects the most recent results as of 10/12/15), and Radius gets a 2015 line of .350/.430, an impressive line to go out on.

With all their season’s results totaled, they get a career line of .347/.489. Those are Hall of Fame numbers right there, and this is just an independent distributor. Radius will be sorely missed in the marketplace, as they put out a lot of great and challenging films in their four years, and the numbers show that they had a consistent presence at the independent box office. Hang up your cap and go to Cooperstown, Radius, you’ve earned it.

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