Why did Ex Machina succeed at the Box Office?
Ex Machina Is a British film directed by Alex Garland depicts the journey of a young coder that is employed at the world's largest internet company, who then wins a competition to spend a week at a private retreat belonging to the mysterious genius CEO of the company, Nathan Bateman. On arrival at his stunning house, he finds out he will be taking part in a Turing test. A test which tests the human capabilities of a piece of artificial intelligence, this piece is then revealed to be a beautiful female robot that goes by the name of AVA.
So why did this low key British film do so well at the box office? A key point of the success lies in the cost of the movie. The budget of the film was $15 million, this compared to other recent successful sci-fi movies is scarily little, this is evident as The Avengers, another sci-fi movie, incidentally released across screens in the USA at the same time as Ex Machina had a budget of approximately $220 million, which is around $205 million more than Garland’s Ex Machina.
There are a variety of reasons why Ex Machina did not cost a lot to produce. One of these reasons is the non-inclusion of big name actors. As well as this the fact that there are 10 actors in the whole film, of which four have speaking roles also cuts the costs of producing this movie as the pay of these actors will be substantially less than that of a movie with a significant more amount of actors and actors with speaking roles.
Another reason for the low price of the movie is the locations of filming. In Ex Machina there are only 4 locations of filming. This includes the Juvet Landscape Hotel in Norway as Nathan’s home, as well as the office in which Caleb works, the forest area where the chopper both lands and takes off with Caleb first, then AVA and a what appears to be a busy city street or walkway at the end when AVA is freed. All of the cost effective features mentioned helped Ex Machina to take around make a profit of around $7 million dollars from its $37 million revenue at the Box Office.
The marketing of Ex Machina played a major role in it being successful at the Box Office. The marketing team cleverly chose to use the popular dating app 'Tinder' to raise awareness about the film as they created a profile for Ava and chose SXSW as a launching place viral marketing campaign. This was a very clever method as the type of people who would view this type of film would more than likely to have been present.
The film’s marketing campaign was heavily planned and had to be too. This is because the film includes non-sexual nudity, violence, death and discriminatory ideas. This led to the film being given an age certificate of 15, which restricts the number of people who could watch the movie. If Ex Machina were to be a PG or a U rated film then it would be what is considered a four quadrant movie meaning that every age group and gender would be able to watch this film, however this is not the case and Ex Machina has a smaller target market. Although the audience may be thought of as small, other films sci-fi films such as Star Wars and Avatar, this is proof that the audience of these types of films are greater than just the 18-25 year old male section of the population.
Due to the small budget of Ex Machina and the unavailability to include the costly special effects that successful sci-fi movies such as; Avatar, Star Wars and 2001, the effects used to show the mechanical internal operating system of AVA had to be achieved by shooting all scenes twice and editing in the intricate body parts of AVA after filming by drawing on each frame, opposed to using the costly method of CGI. Despite the lack of cutting edge of technology used to give AVA her AI components the results looked realistic.
All of these techniques used and clever methods of marketing, filming and other features used in the making of the Ex Machina helped it generate a profit of approximately 47 million and made it a success at the Box Office.