Kevin Smith's Red State Will Debut with VOD and Theatrical Live Q&As This Fall
In a blog entry posted Tuesday to his website The Red Statements, Kevin Smith spoke out again against critics of the unconventional plan to self-distribute his latest film, Red State, and explained how his twofold VOD/live Q&A strategy will work. (Boiled down to the post's essential message: "Suck it, haters!") And to think, just five months ago the world thought Smith's Sundance stunting was all crazy-talk.
First, the personal "nanny-nanny-boo-boo" to haters and skeptics, some of whom he calls out by name:
"Saying what I said at Sundance didn't shut doors, like homey suggested it would. Instead, it got me invited onto many more lawns. What he saw as an implosion was really a simple reinvention: almost a commercial for Kevin Smith, 2.0. And that commercial worked: in the last six months, I've inked deals for a book and two television pilots, started an online radio station, lost 70 pounds, renewed myself as an artist and revitalized my career just in time for me to opt out of the movie biz altogether after Hit Somebody -- my next (and last) film."
Then, the ego reality check that helped Smith come to terms with Red State's small-scale release, which will begin in September via a Lionsgate VOD release:
"Starting Labor Day weekend, you can see Red State in your house for like $10. If you gather up ten friends and watch it together, then it's like a buck a pop. I used to feel like any release that didn't include TV spots and newspaper ads was somehow a failure, until I remembered that I don't make the Avatar or Hangover II type of flicks that demand a theatrical experience in the first place."
And the big announcement: Red State will screen theatrically with live Q&As by Smith to be broadcast via satellite to theaters following the film, along with a live episode of the Hollywood Babble-On podcast:
"If I accompany the film at all public exhibitions, then I can charge what any movie theater would consider a premium, because I'm giving the audience real 3D -- me, answering their questions right there in the third dimension -- as opposed to that murky bullshit they're overcharged for this summer."
"Like let's say Red State is showing at your local multiplex. But then right after the movie ends, a live, interactive Q&A with the filmmaker starts, beamed into the theater via satellite. Even if you're not there in the room, you're Tweeting questions from your theater and getting responses from the guy on the big screen. And then, after three hours of movie and interactive Q&A? Boom: LIVE PODCAST! That's four hours of once-in-a-lifetime entertainment for less than $20: a movie, a show, then another show. And y'know how we'll market it? Via Twitter and my podcasts and in-theater trailers. So it's not gonna cost us much but time and effort, which makes for lots more profit (the key motivator for all patrons of the business of show)."
Smith is confident that his unorthodox distribution plan will work, and if Red State has made back its $4 million budget he figures it's all profit from here on out anyway. Will enough Smith fans pay for the four hour-plus Red State theatrical experience? And will the journalists out there who poured cold water on his plan from the start reverse their position if and when the box office numbers reflect success?
· THIS LABOR DAY, LIONSGATE WILL RUN RED! [The Red Statements]