Marketing films requires a lot of savvy. For one thing, the timing of a film–entertainers can have a short shelf life; what seems a sure hit because, say, Brittany Spears is available, can bomb because Brittany Spears is imploding. Likewise elements of the culture can change rapidly – events like 911 or Columbine turn the industry upside down. Also, films that do succeed often touch some nerve that may not be immediately visible. Bankers who back films are very conservative and often pig-headed folks, as you well know, so they are not always willing to go with risk.
Independent films are hard to pull off – so many variables, so much that can go wrong, so few guarantees. Milwaukee, Minnesota was a decent little film, but with little appeal for non-Milwaukeeans, I think. The crowd at the Oriental came because of the festival event and because they hoped to see a familiar place or person in the film. That wouldn’t happen in other markets. Beyond those connections, I thought the film lacked the energy that would have it catch on. All that work and then splat. it’s a very tough business.