A lot has changed since The Times first featured local actress Catherine Corcoran. It was April 2020, in the throes of the COVID-19 pandemic, and this Council Rock South alum was reading classic children’s tales — with some added adult humor — on Instagram Live, all to bring her followers some entertainment and raise funds for a variety of nonprofit organizations.
Three years later, Corcoran, of Holland, is once again utilizing her platform for a cause. But this time, it’s on an even larger scale: to support her fellow actors during the ongoing SAG-AFTRA strike.
For one weekend last month, seven years after its premiere at the Telluride Horror Show Film Festival, Terrifier was re-released in 800 theaters. This film, directed by Damien Leone and starring David Howard Thornton as the maniacal Art the Clown, is arguably Corcoran’s claim to fame. She portrays a young woman named Dawn, who, along with her friend Tara (Jenna Kanell), is just trying to enjoy her Halloween night. However, after they cross paths with Art, he has other plans for them.
Since Terrifier is an independent endeavor by Leone, and isn’t linked to a studio, Corcoran was free to promote the re-release in the midst of the strike. Instead, she made the decision to stand with the SAG-AFTRA strike and not publicize the film’s limited run in theaters.
In an Instagram video, she said, “As a proud guild member of over a decade, I fully support and believe in my union’s fight for fair and equitable wages and conditions for not only the actors and performers who are members of our guild, but also for all of the incredible creatives who work so hard to bring all of the beautiful stories that we so readily consume into our lives.
“And I also will not be actively promoting any releases or re-releases, and that does include next week’s Terrifier re-release. Until the AMPTP [Alliance of Motion Picture and Television Producers] comes back to the table with a reasonable and fair counteroffer, I look forward to seeing you all on the picket lines.”
SAG-AFTRA, which represents over 160,000 actors, the majority of whom aren’t well-paid A-listers, is fighting for fair wages and residuals in the new era of streaming platforms and artificial intelligence.
Corcoran urged her 27.1K followers to make a donation to the MPTF, which has been helping the entertainment industry take care of its own for over 100 years, and/or the SAG-AFTRA Foundation, which offers a vital safety net and industry resources for artists, and also advances children’s literacy.
Though Corcoran didn’t actively promote the re-release of Terrifier on her social media, that doesn’t mean she wasn’t thrilled about its special run. In an op-ed for Fangoria, she shared details on the film’s humble beginnings as “the little independent film that could,” and pride over how far it’s come.
Terrifier cost only $35,000 to make, but was an immediate hit among the masses thanks to its extreme gore mixed with surprisingly comedic moments. Following its debut at the Telluride Horror Show Film Festival, its second screening at the Lincoln Center sold out.
Then, upon the release of Terrifier on Netflix in 2017, it quickly became one of the platform’s highest-trending horror films, garnering a massive population of Art lovers. Last year, Terrifier expanded into a franchise with the nearly two-and-a-half-hours-long Terrifier 2, which caused quite a few theater-goers to faint due to Art’s fresh antics.
For Terrifier, Leone failed to meet his $35,000 fundraising goal. However, after the film’s unprecedented success, he secured private investments for 2022’s bigger and bloodier Terrifier 2. He only called on the public to raise $50,000 to complete a scene that relied heavily on practical effects. This time, his call was answered enthusiastically, with fans raising a whopping $250,000 on Leone’s Indiegogo campaign.
It’s safe to say that Corcoran stepping back from promoting the re-release of Terrifier didn’t have a negative impact on box office numbers, with the flick raking in over $400,000 in just a few days. This has been a welcome sight for Corcoran, who explained in her op-ed that theatrical releases are fundamental for filmmakers to have an exact metric of viewers. This, she said, isn’t something that streaming platforms provide.
“Despite streaming platforms contributing to Terrifier’s exposure to a larger audience, just how large its actual viewership is on those platforms remains a mystery. Streamers reported revenue profits of anywhere from $50 million to $20.9 billion for the first quarter of 2023, yet the actual streaming data for individual titles remains undisclosed,” she said.
Additionally, residual payments from these platforms, even for writers, actors and directors of extremely popular projects, is “often reduced to pennies.” This is why, said Corcoran, re-releases — and the theater-goers who purchase tickets to see them — are vital.
“You are saying to studio executives all over the country that you remember the films and art which continue to bring you escape, comfort and joy during challenging times,” she said. “And in celebrating these works publicly, you insist that the creatives responsible for them receive a living wage.”
Samantha Bambino can be reached at email@example.com