Have you seen those incredibly intense promos that Russell Crowe cut for his new movie Unhinged? I have been seeing them on social media, where the actor talks about to social contract forged between an audience member and the movie screen? They are pretty awesome, because halfway through, they shift in tone to the point where Crowe is essentially saying to viewers, “I have a movie that’s coming to theaters, and if you don’t go see it, I’ll make sure you regret it!”
We were speaking with Mark Gill, President and CEO of Solstice Studios, the company backing Unhinged. We were discussing the state of the industry, and the fact that Unhinged will be one of the movies that’s helping theaters in the U.S. and around the world to open. And we mentioned the promos, which made Gill laugh. He explained:
There's more coming. Russell created that. That's what's so remarkable. He wrote it, and he shot it, and he sent it to us. And said, ‘What do you think?’ And we said, ‘Can we have it right now?’ I mean, he's obviously a genius in so many ways. But what's annoying is that he's a good writer and on top of being a great actor and all the rest of it. This was entirely his idea. Just sent it to us and said, ‘What do you think?’ And there's a couple more that’ll be released later this week.
That sounds like a threat. Seriously, watch the one-time Gladiator, and all around badass, turn into a menace at the end of this teaser. You will be hopping online to order two advance tickets to Unhinged, whether your local cinema is open or not… just to make sure that Russell Crowe doesn’t come and find you.
Unhinged has tested the theatrical waters internationally, and is finding some success. So far, the dark drama has crossed more than $8 million in global tickets sold as it serves as the canary in the coal mine for audiences to drift back to cinemas and see if it’s safe. As Mark Gill was telling us, usually you see a huge pop from the box office on opening weekend, then a steady decline. Nowadays, movies like Unhinged open soft, but gradually build an audience as more theaters open, and more patrons test out the system. Gill told us:
Australia is a good example. It started out modestly. And yet, it's doing so well week after week after week, it's looking like it's going to do well enough to be probably double what we would have ordinarily expected. You just have to wait longer for it to happen.
Right now, the industry needs patience. Theaters have endured nearly six months of closures, and have seen major films push back their release dates, some as far back as 2021. Unhinged is ushering in a wave of movies that are going to try and play to audiences in multiplexes, including Bill and Ted Face the Music, and Christopher Nolan’s Tenet. But it will be a wait-and-see mode, to make sure that theaters can stay open, safely, so that movies like this can keep screening.
Unhinged will begin playing U.S. theaters on Friday, August 21.