Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Friday Box Office: 'Adaline' Bumps 'Furious' for a Day; 'Kurt Cobain' Big in 3 Theaters Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Remembering Film Critic Richard Corliss (1944-2015) Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" Cannes: Denis Villeneuve Says Drug War Film 'Sicario' Is "Very Dark" and "Quite Violent" How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' How Do You Solve a Problem Like Erika? Universal Hires Husband to Write 'Fifty Shades Darker' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' 'Age of Ultron' Director Joss Whedon on Self-Doubt and Why It's His 'Rio Bravo' Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) Watch: Julia Louis-Dreyfus, Tina Fey, Patricia Arquette and Amy Schumer Hilariously Slam Hollywood Sexism (NSFW) CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show CinemaCon: How Tom Cruise Stole the Paramount Show Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) Meet the Director of 'Tangerines,' the 2015 Dark Horse Oscar Nominee You Missed (Exclusive Video) LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film LA Film Fest Unveils Horror Slate, More World Premieres, Zoe Cassavetes Film Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Cannes: Directors' Fortnight Lines Up Vet Auteurs and American Indies Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Joe Wright's 'Pan' Gets Fall Release Date: Good News or Bad News? Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) Seeing Ryan Gosling's 'Lost River' Through Composer Johnny Jewel's Eyes (STREAM SOUNDTRACK) 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships 3 Women Genre Directors Get SF Film Society Fellowships Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Here's Why Jon Stewart Quit 'The Daily Show' Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Watch: From Tarantino to Cronenberg, Great Directors Talk the Art and Anxiety of Filmmaking Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Specialty Box Office: 'True Story' and 'Child 44' Flop as 'Ex Machina' Lures Audiences Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" Tribeca Film Festival Matches George Lucas with Stephen Colbert: “I’m gonna tear you a new one, George" 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 10 Films Booed at Cannes That Every Cinephile Should See 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 5 Things You Didn't Know About Lars von Trier, Who's Going Back to Work 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO) 7 Things to Learn from 'Mad Men' Creator Matthew Weiner About Compelling Storytelling (EXCLUSIVE VIDEO)

'Veronica Mars' Kickstarts Studio Same Day Theater and Home Viewing Breaththrough

Photo of Tom Brueggemann By Tom Brueggemann | Thompson on Hollywood February 23, 2014 at 7:34PM

Warner Bros. has confirmed that their March 14 limited release "Veronica Mars" will open day and date in theaters as well as on multiple Video on Demand venues. This will be the first time a major studio has ever done this, which makes it one of the most significant film business stories of the year.
0
Ken Marino and Kristen Bell in 'Veronica Mars'
Ken Marino and Kristen Bell in 'Veronica Mars'

Warner Bros. has confirmed that their March 14 limited release "Veronica Mars" will open day and date in theaters as well as on multiple Video on Demand venues. This will be the first time a major studio has ever done this, which makes it one of the most significant film business stories of the year.

A Warner Bros. source emphasized that this is intended as a one-time move, geared specifically to the unique circumstances of the film's development. Creator Rob Thomas and star Kristin Bell both wanted to make a film version of their cult-success TV comedy, and raised money through crowdfunder Kickstarter, with 91,000 people buying in. As a Warner Bros.-owned show, the company had to decide whether to handle it themselves or find another distributor. Its low budget (under $6 million before marketing) is not remotely the usual level for the studio, nor is the limited-release playoff that seemed to make the most sense.
 
Those who contributed $35 for the cause were promised a digital copy right after release, something anathema to studios for a film playing the normal theatrical route. This multi-platform plan makes it easy for them to deliver on their offer.
 
While VOD is increasingly a factor among independent companies, there is a precedent among higher-profile films. Roadside Attractions has led the way with "Margin Call" and "Arbitrage," which grossed between $5 and 8 million respectively with a similar theater count (around 275) to that planned for "Veronica Mars." Though some independent theaters will play day and date under normal deals, the big circuits resist this. Second-ranked exhibitor AMC, having played the two Roadside films, has agreed to rent out theaters (a practice known as "four-walling," in which rather than paying a percentage of the gross, a screen is rented out for a set price, with all receipts then going to the distributor, irrespective of the gross).
 
AMC, per Warners, will provide the bulk of the screens for the run (in some markets where they don't have a presence and there was initial Kickstarter interest, others will play it). "This is all about "Veronica Mars," I was told.
 
This does seem to be a unique situation not easily replicated. But it is hard to think that the results here won't be carefully analyzed when this opens, for its impact on the dual platforms. As the future increasingly looks like non-theatrical play is a rising source of revenue for studios, it's hard to imagine that this isn't another step toward a brave new world, even if Warner Bros. and others keep their main attention focused on what they do best -- releasing mass-appeal films for audiences worldwide, initially in theaters. No comment has been made from the top chains at this point (AMC has shown an interest in marketing innovation ahead of some of their competitors) but it's likely that NATO spokesman John Fithian will raise a protest amid some serious teeth-gnashing.

This article is related to: Box Office, Box Office, Box Office


E-Mail Updates