Because he deseeeeerrrrrvvvves it: "Now, it might be easy to conjecture that Gibson’s recent personal issues were a reason to bypass theaters, especially after The Beaver grossed less than $1 million domestic. I think this is different — a ballsy move by a maverick entrepreneur whose willingness to break rules led him to self-finance the $30 million R-rated The Passion Of The Christ and watch it gross $371 million domestic and $612 million worldwide (still the biggest indie film of all time), and spend $40 million to fund Apocalypto, a film that grossed $51 million domestic and $121 million worldwide." [Deadline]
Some of you may be tempted to BitTorrent the latest new releases this week (Were you one of those Fast Five pirates? Admit it, rascal!), but let indie filmmaker Ti West bend your ear with a personal plea as his latest film, the spooky ghost tale The Innkeepers, hits VOD on Friday (December 30). "It's not the money," he writes, admitting that he still hasn't made a dime from his excellent 2009 film House of the Devil. Pay to see indie films like West's, he argues, "because if the movie makes money... that's tangible evidence of a paying audience out there for movies like mine. For independent films. For something different. Not just bland remakes/sequels or live action versions of comic books/cartoons/boardgames." Hear, hear.
Following the example set last week by Cinemark, a number of independent theater chains and movie theaters have pledged not to screen Universal's Tower Heist in protest over the studio's plans to drastically shorten the release window. Lyndon Golin, chief executive of Regency Theaters (which is joined by the Emagine and Galaxy chains) explained: "We certainly support Cinemark... If their position is they won't run it, then we won't run it either. Movies shown in the home on such a short window is a dagger to our business." [LA Times]
The latest in what's sure to be an ongoing and convoluted affair: national theater chain Cinemark has lobbed the first return volley in the face of Universal's Tower Heist VOD experiment, refusing to play the Brett Ratner-directed Eddie Murphy-Ben Stiller comedy in any of its 300 locations and 3,800 screens come November 4. The question is: Will Universal back down from its $59.99 video-on-demand market test -- or will other exhibitors join Cinemark to boycott the move?
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.
A week after backpedaling from the rumored threat that they'd pull major summer blockbusters (Harry Potter? The Hangover II? NO!!) from theaters to punish studios for committing to early video on demand distribution agreements, the National Association of Theater Owners (NATO) is taking a different tack. Meet NATOs new army of foot soldiers in the debate over VOD: 23 of Hollywood's biggest names, who signed a NATO-backed open letter pleading for the protection of "the movie-going experience."