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Tag: Video On Demand (1-10 of 12)

'Bachelorette' and the video-on-demand revolution: How digital distribution is changing indie cinema

When Bachelorette arrived at the Sundance Film Festival last January, the film’s producers were quite clear-eyed about its prospects. The dark comedy — about three hard-partying high school friends (Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher, and Lizzy Caplan) and their evening of escalating debauchery before the wedding of another friend (Rebel Wilson) — was based on a years-old play by writer-director Leslye Headland. But just as the feature film adaptation was set to go before cameras last summer, Bridesmaids, which shares some pointed similarities, became a massive, zeitgeist-seizing sensation.

“When Bridesmaids hit, I knew, ‘Oh, now [Bachelorette] is going to look like a knock off,'” says producer Adam McKay, who with fellow producers Will Ferrell and Jessica Elbaum helped champion the film through their production company, Gary Sanchez Productions. So McKay turned his sights beyond U.S. theaters, to the European release (“I thought they’d enjoy the darkness of the movie”), home video, and cable. One thought that did not cross his mind? Video on demand. “No, no,” he says. “I wasn’t thinking VOD at all.”

Even after Bachelorette was snapped up by RADiUS, The Weinstein Company’s brand new label focused on alternative distribution, McKay remained skeptical at the plan to release the film on VOD a full month before its theatrical debut Sept. 7. “It just didn’t seem like that big of a deal to me,” he says with a chuckle. So you can imagine McKay’s surprise when, within 48 hours of its digital premiere, Bachelorette hit number one on the iTunes video-on-demand chart — the first time, it seems, that a film has hit that milestone before hitting movie theaters.


'Get the Gringo' trailer: Mel Gibson goes to jail

Even if you haven’t been going to Mel Gibson’s movies, the guy is still making them — but his new one isn’t even hitting theaters. Get the Gringo, an action-comedy written by and starring Gibson as a criminal who learns to survive life in a Mexican prison with the advice of a 9-year-old boy, will skip the cineplex and go straight to DirecTV on May 1.

Releasing on VOD is an interesting choice, no doubt, but maybe the best one for a man whose box office performance has dwindled in recent years. Regardless, it’s been quite a long time since we’ve seen Gibson do the action-comedy thing, something he was particularly good at back in the Lethal Weapon and Ransom days. Could Get the Gringo be a return to Mel Gibson, circa 1987? Watch and decide for yourself: READ FULL STORY

'The Artist' and others enjoy post-Oscar box office bumps, but will online streaming be the next sign of success?


America has all but recovered from the zeitgeist circus that is the Academy Awards (which this year featured a performance by an actual circus!), but the effect that Oscar has on moviegoers is still being felt at the box office, with several winning films picking up momentum after Hollywood’s big night.

Consider this: In the four days following the Oscars ceremony, The Artist – which took home Best Picture, Best Actor, Best Director and two other awards – rounded out its week of box office grosses up a healthy 14 percent from the week before, adding 158 theaters to its 966 and grossing $4.3 million (according to Box Office Mojo). Then this weekend rolled around, and a whopping 790 additional theaters later, the Jean Dujardin-led silent charmer has finally cracked the top 10 with a $3.6 million gross in 1,756 theaters.  READ FULL STORY

'Bridesmaids' the most popular video-on-demand title of all time

Break out the bubbly and avoid the questionable meat: Bridesmaids is officially the most in-demand movie available on video-on-demand (or VOD). The Oscar-nominated comedy has racked up 4.8 million rentals in just over four months, according to Rentrak (via a Universal Pictures release), which adds up to over $24 million in VOD grosses.  READ FULL STORY

Universal will not be releasing 'Tower Heist' On-Demand

After drawing boycott threats from Cinemark and a few small theater chains across the country, Universal has decided that it will no longer release their Ben Stiller/Eddie Murphy vehicle, Tower Heist, on-demand. The studio was planning on rolling out the comedy to Comcast digital subscribers in Portland and Atlanta just three weeks after its theatrical release on Nov. 4, 2011 for $60.

Many theater owners thought that this decision would negatively effect theatrical ticket sales, and they threatened to not exhibit the film if Universal wouldn’t abandon its plan. READ FULL STORY

Universal to release 'Tower Heist' on-demand just three weeks after it hits theaters

On November 4, the Ben Stiller-Eddie Murphy action-comedy Tower Heist will begin playing at a theater near you. Just three weeks later, if you happen to live in either Atlanta or Portland, Ore. — and happen to have 60 bucks burning a hole in your pocket — Tower Heist could begin playing on a TV screen in your living room. As first reported by The Los Angeles Times, in an unprecedented experiment, Universal Pictures will make Tower Heist, one of its biggest holiday-season releases, available on-demand just 21 days after it hits theaters. The VOD offer will only be available to roughly 500,000 Comcast subscribers in those two markets (Universal is now owned by Comcast), and it’s anyone’s guess how many of them will actually shell out the $59.99 rental fee for the convenience of watching a movie that’s still in theaters. But what’s certain is that the move will reopen the bitter debate over release windows that has driven a wedge between the major studios and the nation’s movie theater owners.

This past spring, a public feud broke out between studios and theater owners over a plan to make some films available on-demand in people’s homes as little as 60 days after their big-screen release. Given that the traditional window before a movie’s home video release is roughly 90 days, Universal’s experiment with a 21-day VOD window for Tower Heist could signal a major shift in the way studios do business. The studios contend that, at a time when DVD revenues continue to plummet, they’re simply exploring new potential revenue sources. The exhibitors counter that, with domestic attendance figures already sagging, premium VOD further undermines moviegoing and represents a direct threat to the film industry as we know it. In April, Tower Heist director Brett Ratner himself was one of almost two dozen filmmakers — including James Cameron, Michael Bay, Peter Jackson, and Todd Phillips — to sign an open letter protesting the narrowing of release windows.

A Universal spokesman says the Tower Heist VOD test will simply “allow [Universal and Comcast] to sample consumer appetite for this film in this window at this price while allowing the film to achieve its full potential at the box office.” Thus far, the National Organization of Theater Owners has not commented on the plan, but it’s safe to say many exhibitors won’t see it as just a harmless experiment.

Netflix scores exclusive deal with DreamWorks Animation


Score one for Netflix. After weeks of being dragged through the mud for its controversial fee hikes and service splitting, the folks behind the red envelopes have secured exclusive first-run rights for all DreamWorks Animation features. “DreamWorks Animation is one of the few family entertainment brands that really matters,” said Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer of Netflix. “This agreement strengthens the lineup of great family content Netflix members will be able to watch instantly and also increases the number of hit first-run films we’ll have available in the pay TV window.”

Though the plan won’t kick in until the release of DreamWorks’ 2013 feature films, other titles from the DreamWorks catalog will become available over time. No financial terms have been released concerning the deal, which marks a shift in the industry — it’s the first time a studio has ever given first-run rights to a streaming web application over a television provider. So what does this mean for the rest of the companies who’ve recently joined in the Netflix onslaught? READ FULL STORY

Netflix beware! Blockbuster and Dish Network unveil Blockbuster Movie Pass

Blockbuster and Dish Network unveiled their latest offensive attack against Netflix today. As of Feb. 1, 2012, for $10 a month on top of Dish’s service fee, subscribers can access Blockbuster Movie Pass. Dish heralded the “unmatched” service as “the most comprehensive TV entertainment programming package ever delivered by a multichannel pay TV provider.”

So what does that add up to in layman’s terms? Simply put: Mail delivery (with no extra charge for Blu-ray) of up to three discs, unlimited streaming to TVs and PCs, the option to exchange an unlimited number of DVDs and games at Blockbuster stores, plus 20 premium channels on Dish. At a roll-out event in San Francisco, Dish CEO Joe Clayton wasn’t short on praise for competing services like Hulu and Netflix but added, “We’re gonna do a great job at all of the above.” From Oct. 1 through Jan. 31, 2012, Dish Network is offering new customers one-year access to Blockbuster Movie Pass for signing a two-year contract.

Read more:
Netflix-Facebook integration launching everywhere except America
Netflix CEO says he ‘messed up,’ will rename DVD service ‘Qwikster’
Netflix stocks fall as members flee

'Black Death' director Christopher Smith talks about making his medieval horror movie (and not making 'Pride and Prejudice and Zombies')

black-death-posterYou know those medieval-set films in which every golden-hued vista seems to have been shot by the British Tourist Board and the characters all appear to use copious amounts of ye olde hair conditioner? Well, Black Death is a far more gruesome and unhygienic-looking cup of tea. The movie stars a bedraggled-looking Sean Bean as a bishop’s envoy tasked with the mission of finding out why a remote hamlet has escaped the ravages of the titular plague which, in real-life, wiped out around half of Europe’s population in the 14th century. The twisty result often resembles a medieval reworking of Apocalypse Now as Bean and his band of decidedly un-merry men make their way through a countryside filled with all manner of unpleasantness from fields packed with corpses to an attempted witch-burning that ends in tears (or horrible gurgling sounds, anyway).


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