District 9 had no star power, no studio support and no initial distribution deals. It had a $30m budget and was independently funded by a variety of international sources.

District 9Later it was picked up at the AFM for distribution by Sony Pictures under  TriStar Pictures for North America and other English-language territories and also for Korea, Italy, Russia and Portugal.

Before it hit these cinemas the trailer for D-9 had 25 million views on YouTube, 325,000 Facebook fans and 47,500 Twitter conversations a day. These kinds of figures are hard for distributors to argue with.

In the first week in cinemas the Tweets increased and this activity seems to have kept box office numbers up. The movie made $14m on opening night and $12.6m the second night. In contrast a similarly placed movie opening on the same week called Bruno also made $14 million on the first night, had a massive flutter of bad Tweets and only made $8.7m on the second night.

D-9 made over $200m worldwide, was released in 3,180 theatres and stayed on screens for 12 weeks. It was nominated for a Best Picture Academy Award and one number of festival prizes.