Viral Horror Film ‘Skinamarink’ Could Give AMC’s Streamers Much-Needed Boost
Horror movies may see their peak around Halloween, but the genre has such devoted fans that the genre is popular all year-‘round. The horror fanbase can also help even the tiniest flicks explode in popularity, which is exactly what is currently happening with the movie “Skinamarink,” which comes to theaters Friday, Jan. 13.
“Skinamarink” centers on two children who wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing, and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished. To cope with the strange situation, the two bring pillows and blankets to the living room and settle into a quiet slumber party situation. After a while, it becomes clear that no one is coming to help the children, and that something is watching them.
The movie debuted at the 2022 Fantasia International Film Festival in Canada, where it instantly became the buzziest entrant. Critics have praised the authentically terrifying premise and atmospheric style of the film, despite its budget of a mere $15,000. When a pirated copy landed on the internet, word-of-mouth began to spread about it quickly. It has since become one of the most popular things on TikTok, wracking up millions of views and thousands of different videos.
The rights to the movie were soon snapped up by AMC, which will release it under its IFC Midnight label. After its theatrical run, “Skinamarink” will head to AMC’s horror-focuses streaming service Shudder for an exclusive run; since most Shudder content is also available on AMC+, it is likely to be available there as well. It’s unclear exactly when in 2023 that will be, but the movie could give AMC’s streamers a win they desperately need.
Two children wake up in the middle of the night to find their father is missing, and all the windows and doors in their home have vanished.
It is entirely possible that no media company had a worse ending to 2022 than AMC did. In late November 2022, the resignation of CEO Christina Spade marked the third exit of a chief executive from the company in 15 months. The company is losing a lot of money thanks to big financial declines across its linear networks, and the modest growth of its streamers hasn’t yet made up the difference. That was seemingly exacerbated recently when live TV streaming service fuboTV dropped from the AMC linear channels from its platform.
In short, AMC needs a big win, and soon. “Skinamarink” could provide that win, as it appears to be driving engagement on a level even viral horror movies rarely reach. AMC was likely able to secure the rights to the film fairly cheaply, so a box office return of $10 million or more would be a significant return on investment even before it heads to video-on-demand platforms and eventually Shudder.
AMC could double down on that success when the movie heads to streaming. The company has confirmed it will head to Shudder when it streams, but it wouldn’t be surprising to see “Skinamarink” simultaneously stream on AMC’s other direct-to-consumer (DTC) services like AMC+, IFC Films Unlimited, or even Sundance Now. The company should give the film all the dedicated ads, clickable banners, and promotional videos it can, because viral sensations like “Skinamarink” don’t come around every day.
While social media attention and engagement do not necessarily guarantee commercial success, given the incredibly low cost to make and acquire the film, if the buzz around “Skinamarink” generates even a modest return for AMC in the short-term, the company very well might be able to continue to build on its success moving into the new year.
AMC+ is a premium streaming bundle that includes the best from AMC, BBC America, IFC, SundanceTV, Shudder, Sundance Now, and IFC Films Unlimited containing original, award-winning series, popular movies, festival favorites, plus horror, sci-fi, true crime, and thrillers. You can subscribe to AMC+ for US$8.99 / month or save over 40% with the annual plan for US$59.88 / year.
If you are a Prime Video subscriber, subscribing through that platform allows you to watch either in Prime Video or on the AMC+ app.
Shudder is a streaming video service specializing in horror, thriller and supernatural fiction titles. The service has a vast library of both classic and contemporary films as well as new, original programming such as Wolf Creek, and Slaxx. Shudder also benefits from content courtesy of AMC including Eli Roth's History of Horror and fan-favorite zombie survival series The Walking Dead. The platform is available to users in the U.S., Canada, the UK, New Zealand, Australia, and Ireland.
Shudder is available at a subscription rate of US$5.99 / month. However, a subscription of US$56.99 / year upfront works out to $4.75 a month for those who are confident in their unwavering appetite for quirky slashers and genre-bending sci-fi.
We recommend adding Shudder as a channel through Amazon Prime Video for maximum flexibility.