Freakonomics Presents Alternative to Film Marketing
Freakonomics, the new film based on the popular series of books from authors Stephen J. Dubner and Steven Levitt, hit theaters on Friday, but for many, it was not the first opportunity available to watch the controversial anthology documentary. Magnolia Pictures initially rolled it out through video on demand (VOD) and on iTunes Sept. 3, nearly one month before release day.
The business model for independent film has collapsed, and anyone who thinks otherwise is basically borderline delusional, Eamonn Bowles, president of Magnolia Pictures, said in an interview with the New York Times. So we try to stay open-minded about the commerce of film.
Freakonomics enjoyed a two-week stay in the Top 10 iTunes film downloads, though exact numbers have been kept under wraps. Friday saw the release to 16 markets with 29 more expected to be added throughout October.
Magnolia executives are hoping the strategy, which they have tried with a handful of other films, will be the answer to the often sluggish midmarket indie film industry.
The mainstream theaters are still very averse to changing things up, Bob Berney, a distribution and marketing executive, told the NY Times. They know that the release windows may eventually change, but theyre holding out as long as they can and refusing to show films if they know theyre available on VOD or DVD or will be soon.
The film follows four documentary filmmakers--Morgan Spurlock (Super Size Me), Alex Gibney (Taxi to the Dark Side), Eugene Jarecki (Why We Fight), and Heidi Ewing (Jesus Camp)--as they attempt to explore "the hidden side of everything." Topics include cheating in sumo, links between abortion and reduced crime rates, bribery of school children, and name-based racism.
Source: New York Times