Jemaine Clement’s Hilarious What We Do In the Shadows Needs Your Help With Theatrical Distribution

By  · Published on January 16th, 2015

Unison Films

One of our favorite undistributed movies of 2014 needs help getting distributed in 2015. What We Do in the Shadows, which had us rolling in the aisles at Sundance and SXSW, is set to open on February 13th, but so far the release is limited to New York City and Los Angeles. So, writers/directors/stars of this hilarious vampire mockumentary Jemaine Clement and Taiki Waititi (Flight of the Conchords; Eagle vs. Shark) have launched a crowdfunding campaign on Kickstarter in order to help finance distribution to other locations around the US – 70 cities to be exact. The goal is $400k, and that’s apparently mostly to cover promotional materials like posters and publicity. Unlike the current Kickstarter campaign of David Cross to get his new movie in more theaters, this one doesn’t seem to be covering theatrical bookings to the point that box office ticket sales aren’t still a necessity.

Surprisingly, none of the pledge levels will get you a ticket to the movie (well, there are tickets to special screenings) or a link to stream it (update: they’ve added a $30 pledge level with an online screener reward!). Instead, your contribution allows you the possibility of seeing What We Do in the Shadows in a movie theater along with swag perks like copies of the screenplay, t-shirts and, at the higher levels, meet and greets and personal messages from Clement and Waititi. There are also signed DVDs of the comedy – which the Kickstarter refers to as an actual documentary – due upon its home video release this summer. For fans of the duo, particularly those who love the moviegoing experience and seeing films as they’re supposed to be seen, the double-down of pledging and getting a souvenir and also paying to see the movie shouldn’t seem that strange.

I’ll be honest, though, and say that as much as I love What We Do in the Shadows, I don’t know that it’s essential that it be viewed on a big screen. The main benefit of seeing it in a theater would be seeing it with a crowd, as is the case with any great comedy. To that, the movie has as much right to be in theaters as any other comedy, especially because I guarantee that the broad humor, mixed in with the smart satire and parody, would have anyone laughing as loudly and as often as they would at The Wedding Ringer or Mortdecai or any other studio comedy out this year. At the very least, it should get the attention and distribution that a Christopher Guest mockumentary gets. It’s definitely funnier than For Your Consideration, which opened on 23 screens and peaked at 625 theaters.

Whether or not you are willing to help pay for the distribution of What We Do in the Shadows — no pressure! – at least see it somehow, someway, somewhere. Meanwhile, for now you can appreciate that the Kickstarter decision has given us the following bonus, a campaign video starring Clement and Waititi being hilarious as always:

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Christopher Campbell began writing film criticism and covering film festivals for a zine called Read, back when a zine could actually get you Sundance press credentials. He's now a Senior Editor at FSR and the founding editor of our sister site Nonfics. He also regularly contributes to Fandango and Rotten Tomatoes and is the President of the Critics Choice Association's Documentary Branch.