The Hollywood Math Behind How Lindsay Lohan's 'The Canyons' Will Make Money

Even though the $160,000-budget, nudity-heavy movie was passed over by Sundance and SXSW, a buyer tells THR, "There's so much press about the film that someone will grab it."

This story first appeared in the Feb. 8 issue of The Hollywood Reporter magazine.

Is Lindsay Lohan's The Canyons coming to a multiplex near you?

The Paul Schrader-directed erotic thriller starring Lohan and porn star James Deen was rejected by Sundance and the SXSW Film Festival over quality issues, but buyers surveyed by THR say it will be too tempting to ignore. WME sales agents are expected to begin showing the $160,000-budgeted film to potential distributors in the coming weeks.

The most likely home for the film, penned by Bret Easton Ellis and featuring graphic nudity, will be VOD coupled with a small theatrical release. "It's tailor-made for that model," says one buyer. "There's so much press about the film that someone will grab it." Canyons could emulate last year's low-budget R-rated comedy Bachelorette, starring Kirsten Dunst.

The film, from Radius-TWC, drew scathing reviews but was the most downloaded title on iTunes in its first 24 hours and took in $7.4 million on VOD despite grossing just $447,000 in theaters. Canyons producer Braxton Pope could even launch midnight screenings a la The Rocky Horror Picture Show or The Room, and one insider suggests trying to "eventize" the movie via a pay-per-view stunt. But chances are a distributor will opt for a hybrid VOD/theatrical release.

Says Radius co-president Tom Quinn, "I'm sure every acquisition executive is foaming at the mouth to see it."