A lot of people laughed at comedian Kevin Hart’s “Pain” this weekend, apparently, as his limited release stand-up film grossed $2 million in ticket sales in only 99 theatres. “Kevin Hart: Laugh at My Pain” is comprised mostly of footage shot at a concert last year and only cost about $750k to produce. Compare that with “Bucky Larson: Born To Be A Star”, a big budget comedy which opened in 1,500 theatres and fell just short of the $2 million mark.
Producer Jeff Clanagan tells the LA Times that social media buzz was key to the film’s promotion; he only purchased one national ad (during VH1’s “Basketball Wives”), as well as a few spots on MTV2 and BET. Hart’s appearances as host of the BET Awards and in a series of skits during the VMAs also created a buzz for the film. Clanagan’s Codeblack Entertainment used Facebook and Twitter to poll fans about where the film should go, what sort of graphics should be used in the opening, etc.
Hart is not the only comedian to have success with concert films. “The Original Kings of Comedy” grossed $38.2 million in 2000 and “Martin Lawrence Live: Runteldat” brought in $19.2 million in 2002. “Laugh at My Pain” will be expanded to 58 more screens next weekend and will also be released in parts of East and West Africa.