Self-Distribution Case Study: "What the Bleep do we Know?"

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.

William Arntz

Part documentary, part narrative, part animation, this film digs deep into the new theories and paradigms of quantum physics, and successfully made this new complicated science a popular topic of conversation in the public eye. A divorced photographer’s uninspired daily routine is abruptly altered when she begins asking herself important questions of the nature of her own reality and existence. Her life quickly unravels into a fantastic Alice-in-Wonderland vision that begs her to ask: Is this real? What is real? Am I real? Who/what am I? As premiere scientists, neurologists, and gurus try to answer her questions, we get a glimpse into the exciting new discoveries of the nature of our existence and the existence of the universe. 

Production Budget:

Marketing/Distro Budget

Source of Funds
private, self-financed

Marketing Strategy:
• region-based self-marketing for a niche audience
• grassroots web-based promotion to get people to go to the theater
• recruiting street teams locally in the region they want to screen
• spiritual communities like Sedona, Nor Cal, So Cal, Hawaii

Distribution Strategy:
• self-distribution to theaters first
• started the film in Yelm, WA – they begged until the theater allowed them to screen it 
• one week turned into a seven week run
• second theater in Portland, OR(Baghdad Theater where some of the film was shot) – one week turned in to 18 weeks (7,000 tickers sold per week)
• screenings so successful that they finally landed a distribution deal with Samuel Goldwyn/Roadside Attractions 
• released the film on 60 screens five months after the original release
• Fox Home Video picked up the video rights and marketed the DVD very aggressively. 
• 11% of online DVD pre-orders were for multiple copies

Fat horny lady from "What the Bleep Do We Know?"

Fat horny lady from "What the Bleep Do We Know?"

• 201,728 likes on Facebook
• hundreds of thousands of YouTube video views
• 1,200 Twitter followers

Gross Profit:
• US Domestic: $10.7 million
• Foreign Gross: $5mil
• over 1,000,000 DVDs shipped within the first six months

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