Here's a conversation Ravi and I had on Facebook. I'd love to hear what y'all think of this. It involves a lot of me talking out of my butthole about stuff I don't know about, but really, it's not a crazy idea.
That means there's a chance this could be a Criterion DVD/Blu-Ray release...Matt:
True, hadn't thought of that. I know that Weinstein Co. has foreign rights and had an option for North American rights, and I read a piece that posited that they could get this and try to shoot for Oscar if they wanted to. It seems that they are going to try that with FRUITVALE, which I hear is really working for people.
My impression of IFC is that they don't hit as hard with the advertising or the awards push. To be honest, I'm a little surprised by this acquisition because I can't remember the last time IFC really hit something out of the ballpark. I know that this movie will be a hard sell to large audiences, but it seemed to me that a heavier hitter like Weinstein could really leverage the hell out of the cast and make back more money.
The other thing is that I thought North America is where they're going to do their best potential business, because this is a movie about outlaws in Texas, and how do you sell that overseas? I also think that "Sundance" is more meaningful to North American audiences.
But IFC's relationship with Criterion is a very interesting point. Every mention of ATBS hails the arrival of Mr. Lowery, which makes it sound like this is one of the most distinctly auteur-driven films of the festival (along with BEFORE MIDNIGHT which also has a likely shot at Criterion for the whole trilogy, and UPSTREAM COLOR because Shane Carruth was a one-man band on it, so you can't say it's not auteur). Criterion is all about that auteur shit, so it's not a crazy idea.
The article mentions that Sony Pictures Classics was in the running and that did seem like the most natural fit for this film, all things considered. Their pedigree is higher. They're a classier joint.
I don't imagine that this is simply a highest-bidder-wins-type situation. It's gotta be about what they can offer the film in distribution and advertising, as well. I'm wondering what IFC is offering besides the "low seven figures" that this article mentions.
IFC does hit VOD harder than most. I wonder if that's a part. Maybe they want VOD to play a big part in this.
Lots of IFC films come and go with barely a blip in the market, so I am a bit concerned, but if they shoot for Criterion then it's really a whole other game, and IFC is their best shot.
I think that all makes sense. Right?Ravi:
Maybe IFC offered a better back-end deal, or some other incentives, monetary or otherwise. Control over the marketing (trailers, posters, etc.) perhaps?Matt:
It comes down to incentives one way or the other. Just a matter of what incentives, and a push for Criterion isn't out of the question. Really, why not? They did it with TINY FURNITURE and WEEKEND, which weren't obvious choices, and they did it with THE KID WITH THE BIKE, too. And really, if Criterion was mentioned, that would be hard to turn down.
I don't recall IFC giving filmmakers much control over marketing. Their marketing is honestly pretty gaudy and unimpressive (take a look: http://www.ifcfilms.com/in-theaters-on-demand
). But they are ahead of the game in this VOD thing and might well have a better working distribution model for earning a profit. It's not as glamorous. The films don't pop up on as many screens (but that keeps distribution costs down). More of each dollar goes to the company and perhaps back to the filmmakers. Money money money money money. Maybe.Ravi:
Yeah, their posters are pretty shitty.
ATBS seems like it would be one of their biggest releases, as far as cast and festival buzz are concerned.Matt:
Yeah really. Looking at all their titles--ATBS doesn't even seem to fit, EXCEPT for their Criterion titles!
I was just thinking that the closest title they have to ATBS is THE FORGIVENESS OF BLOOD. I double-checked, and guess what? Criterion, baby!
Let's call it. AIN'T THEM BODIES SAINTS -- CRITERION COLLECTION.Ravi: