A still promo for the film Skinamarink.
Coutesy: Bayview Entertainment
Experimental horror film “Skinamarink” has been all the buzz on social media for months — and now it’s a sleeper hit at the box office.
“Skinamarink,” the first feature from Canadian director Kyle Edward Ball, has pulled in over $1.5 million at the box office in just over a week of release, according to Comscore.
Some film enthusiasts have compared the experimental movie, with its $15,000 budget, to found-footage horror classic “The Blair Witch Project” and David Lynch’s surrealistic 1977 midnight movie “Eraserhead.”
To be sure, “The Blair Witch Project,” which was a trendsetter for movies propelled by internet buzz, grossed $140 million in 1999 on a budget of less than $100,000, but the success of “Skinamarink” is helping define the current era of lucrative scare flicks.
According to data from Comscore, the horror genre generated about $700 million in domestic ticket sales in 2022, less than 10% of the $7.5 billion in total domestic box office sales. Much of these sales come from the most wide-released horror films that had budgets between $16 million and $35 million.
Shudder, a horror-focused streaming service owned and operated by AMC Networks, picked up exclusive rights to the film. The movie will premiere on the platform Feb. 2. “Skinamarink” currently has a “fresh” rating of 71% on review aggregation site Rotten Tomatoes.
“Skinamarink” centers on two children who discover their father has disappeared, along with all the doors and windows of the home. The film makes use of grainy, hard-to-decipher shots of walls, furniture, television screens and ceilings to depict the eeriness of the abandoned, liminal home. It doesn’t show the characters’ faces. Ball told Vulture he intended the film to feel “as if Satan directed a movie and got an AI to edit it. An AI would make weird choices, like, ‘Yeah, I’m just gonna hold on this hallway of nothing for a while.'”
Some observers in the indie film industry saw it as a potential hit early on. Co-executive producer Jonathan Barkan, head of acquisitions at Mutiny Pictures, found the “Skinamarink” trailer on Reddit in late 2021 and took a gamble it would outperform many of its competitors and resonate with viewers.
While horror is seen by some as being a tried and true film genre that will return a profit, Barkan said making money with scary movies isn’t that easy. Independent horror films are released every week, and it’s very difficult to stand out among these releases, he said.
“For being a genre that is already typically a lower-budget genre, you have filmmakers who need to be very creative,” Barkan said. “They need to think, how can we stretch our budget? How can we do something really creative and still get across what we’re trying to convey, which is a sense of fear?”
Going viral with $15,000
Ball previously created and released short films based on people’s childhood nightmares for his Bitesized Nightmares YouTube channel. The channel, with over 11,400 subscribers, has pulled in a few thousand views for three- to five-minute horror shorts, as well as for his half-hour film “Heck.”
Ball used his childhood home in Edmonton, Alberta, as the film’s setting and his childhood toys for props. Ball stretched the $15,000 across equipment, lighting and film-editing software, in addition to film festival costs and legal documentation. He called in favors for casting and equipment, as well, according to Barkan.
There is “really no way to skirt around a certain budget” in all genres, though Ball took some creative alternatives to high-cost filming conventions, according to Josh Doke, an executive producer of “Skinamarink” and creative director at BayView Entertainment, which acquired Mutiny Pictures.
“A lot of filmmakers who are making a film, either for the first time or with a really low budget, they are trying to emulate … a Hollywood style with people in front of the camera who are talking and acting, and they maybe don’t have access to the best actors or the best lighting or the best equipment,” Doke said. “It comes off not looking quite like how they had in their head.”
Still shot from the film “Skinamarink”.
Courtesy: Bayview Entertainment
Ball avoided some costs by not shooting characters head on and instead having them speak off-screen or showing only their backs or feet. “You don’t need George Clooney in front of the camera,” Doke said. Lighting in many shots came only from television sets or a night light.
After acquiring the film, Barkan worked to get it into the Fantasia International Film Festival in Montreal, where he previously served as a jury member. This was the “first domino” in propelling its success, he said.
“It’s a stretch to say that there’s anything new under the sun or really original in our industry, but this really does feel like it’s not only experimental horror but experiential horror,” Doke said. “I think that what it does for people is it puts you right in the middle of a nightmare that you can’t wake up from.”
The world premiere attracted 22 reviews from critics, and it caught the attention of Shudder. This notice led it to film festivals in Europe, one of which saw its entire slate of films leaked.
While the production team tried to keep a lid on the film after it was pirated and file takedowns on illegal sites, clips of the film went viral on TikTok. #Skinamarink now has over 27 million views on the platform.
The film was originally intended for theatrical release around Halloween 2023, but plans were thrown out the window as demand to see the film grew rapidly.
“[Shudder] adapted it to embrace what was happening because there was no way to stop it,” Barkan said. “Rather than try to fight it, they worked with it.”
With internet buzz and illegal downloads surging around Thanksgiving, Doke said the film could not wait another 10 months to release. The movie opened Jan. 13 in North American theaters.
“Initially, we were talking about a fairly limited theatrical release through Shudder and IFC just because with a film of his size, you never know the interest, and getting a big theatrical release is always a challenge,” Doke said. “But the snowball just kept rolling down the hill.”
Still shot from the film “Skinamarink”.
Courtesy: Bayview Entertainment
Shudder and the film’s production team agreed to an all-rights deal, meaning Shudder had not only streaming rights but also exclusives on subscription video and pay-per-view video services. Next, IFC Midnight, also owned by AMC Networks, was brought in to do theatrical showings prior to its exclusive release on Shudder.
“Once we saw the incredible response online, we knew we had to bring this film to as many theaters as possible nationwide,” Arianna Bocco, president of IFC Films and IFC Midnight, said in a statement. “Kyle has made a film for a new generation and has proved yet again what horror films and its community are capable of even with the smallest of budgets.”
What was expected to be 10 to 20 screenings led to 692 theaters predominantly in urban areas. Its first weekend “Skinamarink” grossed nearly $900,000. Last weekend, the film reached over 800 theaters and brought gross box office sales to more than $1.5 million — over 100 times its budget.
“To make a film for $15,000 and then to release it and get this level of attention and this wide of a theatrical release, and to reach this level of box office returns, is an incredibly rare feat,” Doke said.
–CNBC’s Sarah Whitten contributed to this report.
Disclosure: NBCUniversal, CNBC’s parent company, owns Rotten Tomatoes.
From Cartel to Evangelist: The Inspiring Journey of Juan Reyes, Puerto Rico’s Entrepreneur and Author
In the realm of entrepreneurship, few stories are as captivating and inspiring as that of Juan Reyes, a self-made entrepreneur and author hailing from Juncos, Puerto Rico. Despite being born into a low-income family, Reyes defied the odds and carved his path to success through sheer determination, hard work, and an unwavering commitment to his goals. From establishing thriving businesses to becoming a renowned author, Reyes’s journey exemplifies the transformative power of entrepreneurship and the indomitable spirit of an individual driven by faith and dedication.
A Journey Born out of Necessity
Growing up in Juncos, Puerto Rico, Juan Reyes faced significant challenges stemming from his family’s financial limitations. To support himself and contribute to his family’s well-being, Reyes began working from a young age. However, he never allowed his circumstances to dampen his dreams or extinguish his ambition. Determined to change his destiny, Reyes embarked on a path that would not only uplift his own life but also inspire countless others.
A Multifaceted Entrepreneur
Reyes’s entrepreneurial acumen led him to establish several successful ventures that have made a profound impact. Among his notable accomplishments are King of Credit Repair LLC, KCL Clothing Inc, and Shalom Renovation LLC. These enterprises not only generated substantial revenue but also provided employment opportunities for others. Reyes’s astute understanding of business markets, coupled with his expertise in real estate, notary services, modeling, and preaching, contributed to his ability to transform businesses from scratch into multi-million dollar ventures.
Authorship and Beyond
In addition to his entrepreneurial pursuits, Juan Reyes is also a respected author. His debut book, “From the Cartel to the Evangelist,” has garnered significant attention and acclaim. This captivating literary work chronicles Reyes’s personal journey, from overcoming adversity to finding redemption and purpose through his faith. The book serves as a testament to Reyes’s resilience and unwavering determination, inspiring readers to believe in their own potential and navigate their own paths to success.
Sponsored by Christian Faith Publishing
Reyes’s literary endeavors have received a significant boost through the sponsorship of Christian Faith Publishing. This collaboration has allowed Reyes to reach a wider audience with his powerful message of transformation, faith, and the pursuit of entrepreneurship. The partnership between Reyes and Christian Faith Publishing (visit the website here) has opened doors for him to inspire and motivate aspiring entrepreneurs and individuals seeking personal growth.
Recognizing the significance of his own journey, Juan Reyes has made it his mission to give back to society and uplift others. Through speaking engagements and mentoring programs, Reyes shares his knowledge, unique ideas, and experiences with business leaders and young individuals alike. His teachings have become a beacon of hope for those who have faced similar challenges and made similar mistakes, demonstrating that even a fallen business can rise to great heights.
The Pride of Juncos, Puerto Rico
Juan Reyes remains deeply connected to his roots in Juncos, Puerto Rico. His success story has not only become a source of pride for the local community but also an inspiration for the youth in the neighborhood. Reyes’s achievements serve as a testament to the transformative power of entrepreneurship, instilling hope and motivating aspiring entrepreneurs to strive for greatness despite their circumstances.
Juan Reyes’s journey from a humble upbringing in Juncos, Puerto Rico, to becoming a renowned entrepreneur and author is a testament to the triumph of resilience, determination, and faith. Through his businesses, writing, and mentorship, Reyes exemplifies the boundless potential that lies within every individual. He reminds us that with unwavering dedication and a strong belief in oneself, anyone can rise above adversity and create a life of purpose and success. Juan Reyes is an inspiration, not only to entrepreneurs but to all those who dare to dream big and overcome the odds.
Disney CEO Bob Iger rips Ron DeSantis over ‘anti-Florida’ retaliation
Bob Iger, CEO, Disney, during CNBC interview, Feb. 9, 2023.
Randy Shropshire | CNBC
Bob Iger on Monday called Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ actions against The Walt Disney Co. retaliatory, “anti-business” and “anti-Florida.”
The feud between DeSantis and the company escalated earlier Monday, when the governor asked the state’s inspector general to determine whether the House of Mouse’s sly move to retain control over the outer limits of Orange and Osceola counties is legal – and whether any of the company’s executives were involved in the scheme.
During the company’s annual shareholder meeting Monday, Disney CEO Iger addressed investor inquiries about the ongoing dispute between the company and Florida legislators. He noted that Disney has more than 75,000 employees in the state, and has created thousands of indirect jobs, as well as brings around 50 million visitors to Florida every year and is the state’s largest taxpayer
“A year ago, the company took a position on pending Florida legislation,” Iger said, apparently referring to what critics called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill. “And while the company may have not handled the position that it took very well, a company has a right to freedom of speech just like individuals do.”
He added: “The governor got very angry about the position Disney took and seems like he’s decided to retaliate against us, including the naming of a new board to oversee the property and the business. In effect, to seek to punish a company for its exercise of a constitutional right. And that just seems really wrong to me.”
Iger said Disney plans to spend more than $17 billion in investments at Walt Disney World over the next decade, which would create around 13,000 jobs at the company and generate even more taxes for Florida.
“Our point on this is that any action that supports those efforts simply to retaliate for a position the company took sounds not just anti-business, but it sounds anti-Florida,” he said. “And I’ll just leave it at that.”
Last week, DeSantis’ newly appointed board of the Reedy Creek district, now named the Central Florida Tourism Oversight District, revealed that the previous Disney-allied board signed a long-lasting agreement that drastically limits the control that can be exercised over the company and its district.
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis speaks during ‘The Florida Blueprint’ event on Long Island, New York, United States on April 1, 2023. Ron DeSantis made comments on the Grand Jury’s indictment of Donald J. Trump, 45th President of the United States in Manhattan, New York.
Kyle Mazza | Anadolu Agency | Getty Images
The agreement was signed on Feb. 8, the day before the Florida House voted to put DeSantis in charge. DeSantis replaced all of the Disney-allied board members with five Republicans on Feb. 27. It was only then that Disney’s new binding agreement was discovered.
The agreement includes a clause that dates back to 1692 in Britain. The “Declaration shall continue in effect until 21 years after the death of the last survivor of the descendants of King Charles III, King of England, living as of the date of this declaration,” the document said.
The governor’s letter calls the board’s agreement an attempt to “usurp the authority of the CFTOD board” and “nullify the recently passed legislation, undercut Florida’s legislative process, and defy the will of Floridians.”
He said at the agreement also has “legal infirmities” including inadequate notice, improper delegation of authority and ethical violations.
Disney, however, has said that all of the board’s maneuvers were completely legal — the agreement was discussed and approved in open, noticed public forums, in compliance with Florida’s Sunshine law.
The development in DeSantis’ conflict with Disney marks just the latest move in one of several partisan battles being waged by the Republican governor.
DeSantis is widely believed to be laying the groundwork to launch a 2024 presidential campaign. That move is expected to come not long after the current Florida legislative session ends in early May. Polls show that DeSantis is the most competitive of the potential opponents for former President Donald Trump in a GOP primary.
The Florida governor took aim at Disney after the company publicly balked at Florida’s HB 1557 law early last year. HB 1557, which critics called the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, limits early education teachings on sexual orientation or gender identity.
Republican state Rep. Randy Fine told CNBC’s “Squawk Box” last April that the bill dissolving Reedy Creek wasn’t retaliatory, but then said “when Disney kicked the hornet’s nest, we looked at special districts.”
Until recently, there had been no major public discussion about dissolving Disney’s long-established special district, which it’s occupied for 55 years, leading DeSantis’ critics to question its timing and the speed at which the governor acted against the company.
The fight between DeSantis and Disney shows no signs of slowing down. During a book tour stop in Georgia last week, DeSantis told attendees “You ain’t seen nothing yet.”
WWE near deal to be sold to UFC parent Endeavor, sources say
World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. Chairman Vince McMahon appears in the ring during the WWE Monday Night Raw show at the Thomas & Mack Center August 24, 2009 in Las Vegas, Nevada.
Ethan Miller | Getty Images
A deal could be announced as soon as Monday. UFC and WWE are expected to form a new publicly traded company as part of the agreement, according to the people, who declined to be named due to the confidential nature of the discussions.
Endeavor is slated to own 51% of the new combat sports and entertainment company, while WWE shareholders would get 49%, according to the people. The Endeavor deal gives WWE an enterprise value of $9.3 billion, they said.
Emanuel is expected to act as chief executive of both Endeavor and the new company. McMahon, likewise, is expected to be executive chairman, while Endeavor President Mark Shapiro will also work in the same role at the new company. Dana White will remain as president of UFC, while WWE CEO Nick Khan will serve as president of the wrestling business.
The development comes during the same weekend WWE hosts its flagship live event, WrestleMania, in California. The company has spent the past several months looking for a buyer. McMahon returned to the company as chairman in January to oversee the process. Shares of WWE are up more than 33% so far this year, giving it a market value of more than $6.79 billion.
The deal will effectively end WWE’s decades-old status as a family-run business. McMahon’s father founded WWE in its original incarnation during the middle of the 20th century, and McMahon is the controlling shareholder in the company. McMahon bought the company from his father in 1982. Since then, the company has grown into a global phenomenon, spawing stars suck as Hulk Hogan, Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, Dave Bautista and John Cena.
McMahon, 77, retired from the company in July following a string of revelations that he paid several women millions of dollars over the years to keep them quiet about alleged affairs and misconduct. His daughter, Stephanie McMahon, became co-CEO alongside Khan. Paul Levesque, who’s both Stephanie McMahon’s husband and the wrestler known as Triple H, took over creative duties from Vince McMahon.
When Vince McMahon came back in January, Stephanie McMahon stepped down and Khan fully assumed the CEO role. The elder McMahon recently locked in a two-year employment contract, according to a securities filing.
Khan in recent weeks has been making the media rounds to discuss the potential sale. He told CNBC’s Morgan Brennan on Thursday that it’s been a robust sale process, drawing many interested buyers.
WWE brings with it a robust media and live events business, along with its decades worth of intellectual property. The company generated $1.29 billion in revenue last year, driven mainly by its $1 billion media unit.
UFC has paid off for Endeavor. Last year, the MMA league helped Endeavor’s sports business make $1.3 billion in revenue. Endeavor’s market cap stood at about $10.53 billion as of Friday’s close. The Endeavor-WWE deal values UFC at more than $12 billion.
WWE, at least at a glance, would also fit well with the cultures at Endeavor and UFC. McMahon has a brash public persona, making him an apparently good match for Emanuel and White, who are also known for their outsized personalities.
White, like McMahon, is no stranger to scandal, either. Earlier this year, video emerged showing the UFC boss slapping his wife during a public argument at a New Year’s Eve party in Mexico. White apologized.
Disclosure: Peacock, the streaming service owned by CNBC parent NBCUniversal, carries WWE events such as WrestleMania.
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