In the time of social isolation during the coronavirus pandemic, humanity has all but called a truce on April Fool’s Day shenanigans. There’s one announced April 1 prank, however, that everyone can be OK with.
Impractical Jokers: The Movie is getting an early digital release on April 1 to help those shut in and needing a laugh. Impractical Jokers: The Movie will be available on every major digital video retailer on Wednesday, only five weeks after its original limited theatrical run began on February 21. The film will have a suggested retail price of $19.99 for digital purchase ($24.99 in Canada).
“Impractical Jokers raised the stakes bringing their hijinks to the big screen and we couldn’t be more proud of their impressive box office debut,” Brett Weitz, General Manager for TNT, TBS, & truTV, said in a statement “The unwavering support of their fans prove that this comedy franchise continues to provide endless laughs and entertainment that we are pleased to bring into homes.”
Impractical Jokers: The Movie is of course based on the long-running truTV prank show series Impractical Jokers. In the show, four longtime friends from Staten Island, James “Murr” Murray, Brian “Q” Quinn, Joe Gatto, and Sal Vulvano, prank and humiliate one another in creative and spectacularly public fashion via hidden camera challenges and dares. By each episode’s end, the Joker who did the worst in their dares receives a “punishment” designed by the winners. It’s the rare hidden camera show in which the public is an unwitting participant rather than unwitting victims. The Impractical Jokers series has aired eight seasons with over 200 episodes to date. The ninth season is set to air in 2020.
The film based on the series follows a fictional story of the four Jokers heading to a party in Miami to hang out with Paula Abdul. When they realize that the popular ‘90s artist has left them only three tickets, they decide to compete in a series of hidden camera challenges on their road trip down to Miami to determine who will be left out.
Impractical Jokers: The Movie was an unlikely box office success, potentially due to its limited release strategy. During its opening weekend, the film took in $2.6 million while playing in only 357 theaters nationwide. After receiving a 1,543-theater expansion, the movie had an even more successful weekend with $3.6 million. Ultimately, Impractical Jokers: The Movie made over $10 million on its $3 million budget.
Now that Impractical Jokers: The Movie is heading for an early second life on digital, it could be an interesting case study on how gradually scaling up availability can affect the success of niche comedies. Or it just can be a fun quarantine viewing experience that we don’t have to complicate with math.