screener

Film "Everything about the film -- its casting, its filming, its release -- is daring and innovative. Soderbergh, the poster boy of the Sundance generation (for sex, lies and videotape 17 years ago) has moved confidently ever since between commercial projects (Ocean's Eleven) and cutting-edge experiments like Bubble. The movie was cast with local people who were not actors. They participated in the creation of their dialogue. Their own homes were used as sets. The film was shot quickly in HD video." -- Roger Ebert.

I've been meaning to write about the groundbreaking distribution of this film. As Ebert rightly mentioned, it's being released to theatres, to dvd and pay-tv at the same time as a test of a future distribution model for all films. I was chatting to someone about this the other night and they wondered if the cinemas chains would be annoyed because people would generally stay away and prefer to buy or rent instead. I suggested that actually what will more than likely happen is that the exhibitors would have copies of the film on sale in the foyer so that determined cinema-gowers in that initial rush from seeing film might want to buy it as they're leaving. It's certainly true that there have been occasions when I've loved a film enough that I'd wished I could own a copy as soon as they're over then decided against it after some thought.

Something I never understood during the run of King Kong is why the Production Diary dvds weren't for sale in the cinemas showing the film. It seems like perfect distribution synergy to me. Taking this the Soderbergh run, why not have these new film release dvds exclusively available on sale in cinemas for the run of the film. That way Odeon or whoever could still profit even if people simply went there to buy the dvd rather than see it projected. They could also have a deal whereby the spectator could see the film and have a dvd copy thrown in at special joint rate. I would imagine the record stores and online shops would be slightly pissed with this idea since they'd no longer be able to claim exclusivity on sales after the fact. Unless the theatre copies are vanilla style screeners -- the sort which turn up in the weekend newspapers, so that people who want things like commentaries and chapter breaks will have to go to a shop once to the movie has left the big screen.

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