Join 3,512 readers in helping fund MetaFilter (Hide)


Theater to DVD release = 4 DAYS
February 10, 2005 7:51 AM   Subscribe

Movie to release DVD within FOUR DAYS of theatrical release : This is of interest as a shift in marketing strategy that could be highly significant. Consider the implications.
posted by spock (46 comments total)

 
My guess is that this is a spin, because it is as bad as Megaforce.
posted by Mr_Zero at 8:00 AM on February 10, 2005


Um yeah, the nearly straight to video marketing "plan" is a reaction to how bad a movie it is.

Publicity around the theatrical release helped spur DVD sales? That's insane! Of course it would. Doesn't mean it'll sell many more though.
posted by fenriq at 8:10 AM on February 10, 2005


I would consider the implications if there were any, but this film will probably be as mediocre as anything else National Lampoons has put out.
posted by tweak at 8:12 AM on February 10, 2005


I agree that this is pretty much a straight-to-video deal, but there does seem to be a trend of shortening the gap between theatrical release and release on DVD.

Take Ray for example. Released in the US theaters in late October, released on DVD February 1st. (In time for the Oscars?) It's not 4 days, but 3 months is a pretty quick turn around.
posted by paulychamp at 8:15 AM on February 10, 2005


Evil Avatar's forums cracked this mystery wide open: Blackball was a European film which bombed last year. As noted by Mr_Zero, National Lampoon is merely "presenting" this picture in limited theatrical release before shovelling it straight to video.
posted by Smart Dalek at 8:15 AM on February 10, 2005


Here's a review.

But a studio would never do this with a movie they thought would be any kind of success, since they would want to get some of the repeat theater viewings crowd back in the seats before they gave people the option to buy the DVD.

And don't go hatin' on Megaforce!
posted by Cyrano at 8:20 AM on February 10, 2005


But a studio would never do this with a movie they thought would be any kind of success, since they would want to get some of the repeat theater viewings crowd back in the seats before they gave people the option to buy the DVD.

You're assuming anyone would actually go back once they saw the film.
posted by Thorzdad at 8:32 AM on February 10, 2005


Pretty soon we won't need critics -- we'll be able to tell how good a movie is by how soon the DVD hits the shelves.
posted by Robot Johnny at 8:35 AM on February 10, 2005


Lawn bowling is fun. But watching a movie about lawn bowling would be tiresome. And the "National Lampoon" label is the movie industry's way of telling you that it will be worse than you expect.

And I don't think the subject of bowls will get any funnier than Borat's treatment of it.
posted by Mayor Curley at 8:36 AM on February 10, 2005


I was thinking about Lord of the Rings-type films when I wrote that, Thorzdad.
posted by Cyrano at 8:38 AM on February 10, 2005


One interesting implication: You'll be able to download the dvd iso images of these movies before they're even in the theater. Current dvd iso's appear at least 1 month before the retail dvd release date. And during Oscar season, you can usually find dvd screener iso images for most movies that are currently in the theater. Upping the dvd release date to be close to the theatrical release will make this happen for all movies.
posted by jsonic at 8:53 AM on February 10, 2005


Actually, the movie's marketing strategy has worked. We're talking about a movie that otherwise would've gone straight to video without us even thinking about it. This is unusual, so there was an article written about it. But, the cost of creating prints and running advertisements really won't outweigh the benefits of doing this type of release. So, don't expect the next Tom Berenger/Elizabether Hurley straight to video movie to do the same type of marketing strategy.

Occasionally, a movie will do a test run of theaters before heading off to video, such as National Lampoon's Dorm Daze. Princess Mononoke had a test run in the Twin Cities back in 1999, but when it didn't do well, it only received a limited art house run. Othertimes, they have to fulfill requirements that a movie be released in a set number of theaters, such as Everlasting Piece.
posted by Arch Stanton at 8:56 AM on February 10, 2005


This isn't necessarily a reflection on how poor the movie is, rather, there's some momentum outside the hollywood establishment to make simultaneous release the norm (specifically from Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's indy film company). These two men made much loot on Yahoo's purchase of broadcast.com back in the day, and they seem fairly confident that they can turn the tables on motion picture release strategies..

I think the major point is that you don't have to market the film multiple times, meaning you realize a benefit to your bottom line by simultaneous release.

Here's a brief story.
posted by jungturk at 9:01 AM on February 10, 2005


If I remember correctly, I thought there was a prescribed minimum amount of time between theatrical release and VHS/DVD release in order to be able to be nominated for an Academy Award.

I could be wrong though...
posted by Steve_at_Linnwood at 9:05 AM on February 10, 2005


Consider the implications.

The implications: this film is shit. Next?
posted by riviera at 9:07 AM on February 10, 2005


I read somewhere that it's now faster and easier to make a decision about whether or not to go see a film, based on multiple sources (mainly cell phones/text, and also online review sites etc.). Basically, ten years ago, you could leave a film on release for a while, and people would often be in the dark with regard to whether or not it was worth seeing. Now it's so much easier and faster to find out, and apparently people are ignoring the turkeys far sooner after the release date than they used to.
posted by carter at 9:09 AM on February 10, 2005


S@L, I seriously doubt an Oscar bid is even being considered for this turkey. Unless it's up for Best Dolly Grip or something.
posted by me3dia at 9:13 AM on February 10, 2005


One other good sign that 'this film is shit', when said film is a big studio release: having the UK opening date at the same time as the American one. It usually means the stars aren't going to do British publicity, which smacks of embarrassment and resignation.
posted by riviera at 9:13 AM on February 10, 2005


I thought there was a prescribed minimum amount of time between theatrical release and VHS/DVD release in order to be able to be nominated for an Academy Award.

The movie has to play for one week in Los Angeles county to be eligable. It's different for foreign language, shorts, and documentaries I think. After that week, it can go straight to video, straight to tv or whatever. But, it CANNOT premier on television or video before appearing in theaters, just ask Linda Fiorentino about her Oscar for the Last Seduction.
posted by Arch Stanton at 9:14 AM on February 10, 2005


(Classic example of the 'release on both sides of the pond and run like hell from it' phenomenon.)
posted by riviera at 9:16 AM on February 10, 2005


Right, the film is shit and as it will be forgotten immediately so it makes perfect sense to use this limited theatrical release and the immediate DVD release as a P.R. campaign. No genius strategy here, just a sensible way to deal with a crap release.

It is NOT a successful marketing strategy...at least not yet. Talking about it and writing columns about it does not make it successful: The bottom line does. That has yet to be determined.

I think what's sad is the fact they have to come up with creative ways to make money of of shit like this. Why can't they just stop making shit? And really, why are we even talking about the Oscars in relation to this film?

...end of rant.
posted by j.p. Hung at 9:18 AM on February 10, 2005


Another example, riviera.

From the New Yorker, "The reason that those movies had such enormous grosses, despite terrible reviews and negative word of mouth, is that each opened on eighteen thousand screens simultaneously worldwide. "By the time we've all seen that it sucked, it's a hit.""
posted by Arch Stanton at 9:21 AM on February 10, 2005


If they really want to do this right, they should offer a rebate of the movie ticket against the DVD price. (If it weren't such a crap movie,) they'd get higher box office and higher sales numbers.
posted by codger at 9:23 AM on February 10, 2005


Many movies have to open theatrically to meet contractual requirements if they're presold to TV stations, cable channels etc -- which is why one often sees a movie open in one theater for one week and then disappear.
posted by littleme at 9:32 AM on February 10, 2005


This makes me wonder, though, who is the market for this shlock? I mean, I understand that opinions are like assholes, etc etc, but come on. Who the fuck wants to buy this, except for maybe Vince Vaughn superfans, if there is such a creature. I really can't conceive of anyone saying, "Oh yeah, Catwoman that movie rocked. I need to own it so that I can satisfy my late night urges to see Halle Berry (not) act. What's that you say? The new National Lampoon movie is coming out on DVD?! I'm camping out at Best Buy to wait for them to open!"
posted by papakwanz at 9:32 AM on February 10, 2005


We mock the movies that are not worth the plastic they're printed on, but these are the films that will be in the vanguard of the move to digital distribution. Clint Eastwood will never consent to going direct to digital, but at some point it will occur to the geniuses running the Nat'l Lampoon empire that manufacturing physical DVD stock of this crap is just throwing good money after bad. They should make the movie and just throw it up on a website for $2 a download and get it over with. It's their only shot at making back costs.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 10:09 AM on February 10, 2005


i may be chiming in after the final chiming bell has chimed, however, as a person who time shifts dvds, i find this trend in general quite interesting. i can see the day where the movie ticket gets me a seat, a theater experience, an opportunity to purchase concessions, and my own copy of the dvd.
posted by folktrash at 10:23 AM on February 10, 2005


Those concentrating on the merits of this particular movie aren't seeing the forest because of the tree.

For example: Consider the "fluke" success of Napoleon Dynamite. From the standpoint of opening some studio exec's eyes you may not have a more significant movie coming out of 2004. So what follows?
posted by spock at 10:26 AM on February 10, 2005


Consider the implications.

The implications: this film is shit. Next?

I understand.
Thinking is hard.
posted by spock at 10:38 AM on February 10, 2005


i can see the day where the movie ticket gets me a seat, a theater experience, an opportunity to purchase concessions, and my own copy of the dvd

Great thought (or at least the opportunity to purchase the dvd). What is to stop the studio's from including a Preview of Coming Attractions for something that will never be coming to a big screen near you -- but just happens to be available for $5.99 on your way out of the theater. Or how about trailers being shown AFTER the feature for special stuff available on DVD out in the lobby. How about they delay DVD availability to the public (and video/dvd rental stores) by a week or two, thereby adding value to the theater-going experience (as the only place where you can get the DVD before everyone else?).

(I need help for my parenthesis-dependency problem
posted by spock at 10:51 AM on February 10, 2005


Any guesses on a street date for the Star Wars: Episode III DVD?
posted by ChrisTN at 11:07 AM on February 10, 2005


Does this mean the all crap movies won't be in theaters as long?
posted by DakotaPaul at 11:10 AM on February 10, 2005


All anyone in hollywood cares about anyway is the opening weekend. This could be the logical end to that idea.
posted by fungible at 11:30 AM on February 10, 2005


It's difficult to put a movie on video. You have to announce a release date, you have to sell the movie and deliver the movie to the different stores, you have to start production on the DVDs. This takes time and if a movie studio to do properly.

For example, if Alien vs. Predator were going to be on video 3 weeks after it is in theaters, then it's going to take some $40 million off of the theater grosses. The movie would then make more on DVD than normal when this type of marketing is a novelty, but if it becomes general practice, it just means that the studio is losing a very valuable revenue stream. Then again, it probably costs the studio $30-$40 million to promote a movie like Alien Vs. Predator in the first place, but having an aura of having it being a major motion picture as oppposed to something like Species III is worth tens of millions of dollars itself.
posted by Arch Stanton at 11:34 AM on February 10, 2005


Lawn bowling is fun. But watching a movie about lawn bowling would be tiresome.

You have obviously never seen CrackerJack, Mayor Curley. I'd link to it but IMDB is blocked at work (WebMarshall thinks it's porn) so hunt it down and enjoy. Australian comedy of a couple of years ago
posted by Sparx at 11:53 AM on February 10, 2005


I understand.
Thinking is hard.


The film is coming out in 7 theaters. 7.

The change in marketing strategy here isn't that it's moving to DVD right away, but that it's having a theater run at all before it goes STV. The last British bomb at least had a wide release before it was relegated to the dust bin.

Also, what Arch Stanton said.
posted by shawnj at 12:17 PM on February 10, 2005


Any guesses on a street date for the Star Wars: Episode III DVD?

I think they'll be handing them out as you walk into the theater.
posted by Cyrano at 12:33 PM on February 10, 2005


Too bad about the movie being utter shit. I kind of like Vince Vaughn. Still, his movies all need to be given a few weeks to weed out the utter crap. If they last that long in theaters, they may be worth seeing.
posted by graventy at 1:53 PM on February 10, 2005


Formula 51 (aka The 51st State) is the worst film I've ever seen, taking into account the previous quality work of the cast, the hype and the high budget.
posted by Pretty_Generic at 2:24 PM on February 10, 2005


It is interesting that most of us agree on which movies are really bad. I have always wondered if that is visible to the people making that bad movie when they are making the movie. Take this one for example.

Maybe they are so wrapped up in it that they think it's a great movie. Or they know, but hope to make money from the cable TV release or something.
posted by Triplanetary at 5:10 PM on February 10, 2005


...in other news, the Alone in the Dark DVD will be shipped alongside AOL CDs.
posted by icontemplate at 5:35 PM on February 10, 2005


Surprised it (the marketing strategy) took them this long. I can get jazzed about a movie, decide to wait for the video, then totally have lost interest by the time it actually arrives in home view version. Hard to reestablish the excitement six months after the fact.

Hollywood is stupid in so many ways.
posted by IndigoJones at 6:52 PM on February 10, 2005


IMDb MetaTalk -- when you link to the IMDb, please include the movie title in the link text, rather than "this movie", since it's not included in the URL.
posted by Aknaton at 8:15 PM on February 10, 2005


Hmm. Comparing this to the book industry which is all about trying to sell the "I gotta have it now" crowd the expensive hardcover edition and then later coming out with the paperback edition for everyone else - and adding to the fact that the studios are making most of their money off DVDs anyhow, why not switch the equation around and have a limited release of DVD's for "sale only" (have a "no rental before x date" clause in one of those infamous shrink wrap agreements and/or sell it direct from the studio/movie website), get all of the "I gotta have it now" crowd line up for that special limited release version and pay a premium to do so, and, since that crowd most likely has a special affinity for something about that movie (the actors, director, story, whatever) to be buying it in the first place, you would have an almost guaranteed built-in positive word-of-mouth buzz before the movie even hits the theaters. After the limited edition DVD set sells out, and after the movie has been in theaters for a while, then the regular DVD version (the "paperback") would be released.

Or, in an even more radical business model shift, if the movie is any good, reduce a low res version via bittorrent to start so as to wet the appetite of the early adopter "I gotta have it now" crowd so that they rush out to buy the special limited edition DVD to get a better quality version and then rush to the theaters to get the best quality version.

If studios had the imagination and guts to try to change their business model, they would not have to make criminals of their movie's biggest fans AND probably make more money...

But then again, that would never happen...
posted by Metauser at 12:56 AM on February 11, 2005


If only Formula 51 was really the last British bomb, that probably only means they haven't released Sex Lives of the Potato Men around your way (amongst others).
posted by biffa at 3:50 AM on February 11, 2005


There's nothing really new here. Poor films have often been given limited runs, for contractual reasons as littleme pointed out, but also for press reviews. The reviews may be bad but at least it gets the name of the film out there for the gfood old recognition factor. As for Blackball, you shouldn't be looking at release dates, national lampoon tie ins or any such thing to determine the quality of it. You need only look out for one name, Mel Smith. The man is just box office poison, apart from one mysterious success, commercially if not critically.
posted by ciderwoman at 5:54 AM on February 11, 2005


« Older 9/11 Report Cites Many Warnings About Hijackings...  |  A Skeptics View of Fringe Arch... Newer »


This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments