The following information was compiled by cross-referencing  several articles, books, and resources on the success of the self-distribution of the film "What the Bleep Do We Know." Watch the film here.

Robert Ptolemy & Ray Kurzweil

A documentary about Ray Kurzweil and his research into singularity: the point at which human and technology intelligence merge into one.

Production Budget
"It's a secret." (according to their press kit)

Marketing/Distro Budget
even more of a secret

Source of Funds
Privately financed


Marketing Strategy
• played at Tribeca film festival, but no offers
• a hybrid distribution model utilizing a special event tour, collapsed windows across all mediums, and innovative new portals through which to share the film
• partnered with WME for self-distribution campaign
• hired DigiSynd to handle all social media and digital marketing
• started with cross-country tour
• tour was integral in creating national and local press w/publicist Celia Black (lots of interviews)
• four-walled theatres, partnering with TIME/Life, science museums, IMAX theaters, included live presentation by Ray Kurzweil, screening, and live Q&A
• using latest technology tools: EventBrite for ticketing, Square for selling merchandise (t-shirts, posters, books, and DVD pre-retail at screenings)
• Ray Kurzweil on the cover of TIME

Distribution Strategy
• March 1 – day-and-date release Cable VOD, iTunes, and direct-to-consumer DVD and digital on website
• #2 doc and top 10/30 of all films on iTunes for 13 weeks
• DVD and merch sales on website were high for many months
• Brainstorm Media made the film available on top 3 cable providers in the country
• May 24, 2011 – New Video distributed DVD to shelves (Amazon, Wal-Mart, Netflix, Barnes & Noble, Target, and Best-Buy
• finally streaming – Amazon, Netflix, Wal-Mart, YouTube, Hulu – only increasing DVD sales
• over 100,000 people rated the film on Netflix in the first 90 days
• partnership with Dynamo – online rental store embedded link
• MoPix – Transcendent Man app for iPhone and iPad with movie and special features $9.99
• Fathom Events – Transcendent Man Live Event broadcasted live to over 500 theaters in 49 states, advertised 4 weeks prior by 30sec trailer on 15,000 screens leading up to the event = 40million impressions
• The day Transcendent Man aired LIVE = 800% spike in DVD sales on Amazon
• special iTunes promotion rent for $0.99 for two weeks = 4X in sales, and spike in DVD sales

34,000 Facebook likes
7,400 Twitter followers
555,000 Trailer views on YouTube
HUGE Press coverage

Gross Profit

What other self-distribution case studies have you heard about? Leave a comment below!
Wanna learn more? Subscribe.

Other Case Studies...
Indie Game The Movie
Four Eyed Monsters

Bones Brigade; An Autobiography
What the Bleep Do We Know
Transcendent Man
Bomb It
Red State
Road Hard
Helvetica and Objectified
Camp Takota
Zen Noir
Live at the Beacon Theater
Northern Lights
Favor vs. Ten 'Til Noon
Sound it Out
Ed Burns
The Way We Get By