You’ve got to love the Germans. I spent a week there touring the outer reaches of the country promoting the film before its release. We literally covered 1000s of kilometers in a few days. I just wasn’t convinced the film would do well. Some Germans at the Q&A screenings had thought the film would be a more ‘out and out’ comedy – rather than the gentle Ealing comedy tone we adopted. But Germans are hard to read and they keep their emotional cards close to their chest. They are quietly independent and very family focused, so maybe it should not have been a surprise, given the positive themes of the film.
On Sunday morning I had a call from Torsten, the distributor from Neue Visionen who took a chance with Papa to say it had been a success. From the opening weekend we did around 23,500 admissions and generated over 140,000 Euros – from around 70 screens. He seemed happy.
On Monday, we went into the Art House Cinema charts in the Number 2 position – just behind The Place Among The Pines. As my brother said… “You’re one place behind ‘The Place Beyond the Pines’ but hopefully you will be one place beyond ‘The Place Beyond The Pines’ next week.” Classic Andrew Markou pun. He was happy too as we both wrote out some big cheques for this film… well, very big for us… and I am hoping that Germany helps us recoup the costs. Certainly, it would be wonderful and fitting if a film about Greeks borrowing too much money and losing everything makes its money back in Germany.
It was a Top of the Pops ‘Pop Pickers’ moment to see Papa ahead of films like ‘Der Grosse Gatsby” in the Germany movie charts. I’ve had lovely deep satisfied sleeps, the first for a few years actually. It was such a relief to see the film do well without me having to too much. The film did well in the UK but through my own sweat, tears and sleepless nights – the plan is to blog about what I learned from DIY distribution. It was a real privilege to work with a distribution company that still believes in the cinema business as a business. The Germans still go to the cinema. The average price of a ticket is 6 Euros and their indie screens are lovely – with great food and a great atmosphere. As always, we could learn a few things from the Germans – add Cinema business to the list that includes successful football teams, entrepreneurship, the auto industry, electronic music and how to avoid falling into debt.
It was also great to see so many Papa posters everywhere.
This is one of me in Berlin.