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Changes to Independent Film Distribution Benefit Home Theater Owners (1 Viewer)

Swanny

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Johon
At the recently concluded Sundance Film Festival it became apparent the current model of independent film distribution is DEAD! Why? Most independent films loose money.

The new distribution model is for independent films to be offered as pay per view before they hit the theaters.

Advantage for the studios is cash flow up front.

Advantages for us Home Theater owners is that our Home Theaters become the new art house theaters. We will have the opportunity to generate word of mouth and promote the films we like.

Recessions are not all bad!

Click to watch The Home Theater Show
 

Serega_M

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Aug 11, 2001
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Yea, right - everybody rush to their computers to order PPV compressed videos from some "new independent distribution" sites... Sure - it is the future, like the physical media is dead within a couple of years and everybody just downloading digital crap off the Internet - yeap, you are right...

If every time I read "this is dead" or "that is dead" and got 5 dollars - I'd be a millionaire today... But the fact is - not so many of such "prophecies" (if any) turned out to be true, and this is just one of them.
 

Swanny

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Johon
This change is brought about by the fact that the majority of Independent Films loose money. Due to the current economic climate, the studios need to find a different distribution model to minimize risk.

Only time will tell!
 

ahollis

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Magnolia Pictures has been trying to do this for the last four years without any success at all. They release it to theatres, Pay-per-view and DVD on the same date.

It is also being done now with several companies including Universal but they call it straight to DVD. They are usually sequels that have name value or action pictures. This is not anything new to the film distribution world.

But I am all for anything that allows more films that can see the light of day and more people can enjoy them. I hope this takes off, but I feel that any of the great independent films such as today’s “Slumdog Millionaire” and “Milk” will still be projected on the theatre screen while the also ran, such as the Magnolia Pictures titles will be lost in the direct pay per view.
 

BillyFeldman

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The real problem with independent movies is that independent movies, in the way I think of them, haven't existed for a very long time. Anyone who thinks Slumdog Millionaire is an independent has no idea what independent movies were like. Slumdog and Milk are lower budget studio films - there's nothing independent about them. Independent is Paul Bartel or The Honeymoon Killers, or Blast Of Silence.

There's a reason why most of today's "independent" films lose money - they stink. They're just smaller versions of studio films. I just sat through a piece of excrement called Hamlet 2 - Focus Features paid 10 million dollars for this movie after a bidding war at Sundance. Unfortunately for them, the film grossed under five million dollars which means they lost every penny of their 10 million PLUS most of the prints and advertising. I would say that most "independent" films I see are as bad or worse than Hamlet 2.
 

Jon Martin

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I think there is a lot of confusion, even in this thread, about what exactly is an independent film, and what the first post referred to.

SLUMDOG was from the director of 28 DAYS LATER and TRAINSPOTTING. MILK was from the director of GOOD WILL HUNTING. They are not independent films. Films that have this sort of corporate support, with millionaires involved either in front or behind the camera, should never be considered indies.

Independent is something like BAGHEAD, a film made for $1000 and picked up by Sony. It didn't do all that well at the box office.

Independent is something like the mumblecore films of Andrew Bujalski (FUNNY HA HA, MUTUAL APPRECIATION) or Joe Swanberg (LOL, HANNAH TAKES THE STAIRS), films that play NY City arthouses, and pay per view, but very few other places.

For these independent films, that don't have distributors, and that go from festival to festival, trying to get a theatrical deal, the original poster is correct. They should give up on the theatrical dream and instead look to other outlets like PPV (as Swanberg does) or direct to DVD (Bujalski sold his DVDs from his website before he got a rare, and deserving, theatrical deal).
 

Corey3rd

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Joe Corey
It's all about marketing and getting me to want to pay to see it now. Doesn't matter if it's on Pay-per-view or at my nearest Art House, if I don't get the buzz that it's worthy of $10 and my eyeballs, I'm not watching it. There's zero cash flow if you don't know about the film or get that hook that lures you into paying to see it.
 

Stephen_J_H

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Frankly, independent means different things to different people. At its most fundamental, independent means a non-studio production, either self-financed or financed through alternate means and later picked up for distribution either by the majors or by an "independent" distributor. The irony of today's film industry is that the studios have their own "independent" or classics labels, although in the current economic climate, most of those are being shuttered or spun off (New Line, Picturehouse, Warner Independent, Rogue).

As for this distribution model, it certainly does reduce costs for independent distributors and in some respects reduces the necessity of their existence. Under this model, an independent filmmaker could sell or licence his film to a media company, which could then distribute and advertise it through their various outlets for a fraction of the cost of producing prints, transportation, promo materials, etc. It may not attract Academy attention, but it would get the film out there, and if effectively marketed on the PPV preview channels, websites, etc., it could turn a modest profit, something many films, even at the height of the so-called "indie" golden age, could not achieve.
 

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