Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Distributor's Newish Plan for Micro-Budget Movies

Osiris Entertainment is distributing my latest flick, Monsters in the Woods. It is a prime example of a new distribution strategy being employed by such distributors who are putting out smaller movies. Distributing these movies is full of risk. When you sell movies to a retailer like Wal-Mart, for example, they order say 5000 units. And you go, “great! We just sold 5000 units!” Yeah, not so fast. See if Wal-Mart doesn’t sell those units they ship back the unsold ones and the distributor eats that cost. So now they’re putting out these movies in a more careful manner, which strongly resembles a limited theatrical release.

They start with a limited VOD. The movie will go out to Comcast, ATT, Verizon FIOS ect. Then about a month later they make the DVD available though online outlets like Amazon and CD Universe. At the same time they may sell to a few regional DVD retail/rental outlets. For example, Monsters in the Woods is going out to a chain of FAMILY VIDEOs in the Midwest. The distributor than sits back and watches the numbers for a month or two before deciding if the larger retail outlets are worth the risk. If they are the movie goes wider and makes them a ton of money. If not, they make a few smaller sales  (domestic and foreign) and let the movie wither and die.

I can see the logic in the method, but it’s very frustrating as a filmmaker to not be able to point to a single universal release date. It makes your release feel less legitimate. All I can do is continue to promote my movie and hope that the positive press for it translates into some sells.


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