World War 3 takes a galactic turn
Let me tell you about a movie by the name of "Iron Sky." It's a futuristic action film where the Nazis plan to conquer Earth from their secret moon base. The United States, led by President Sarah Plain, has to stop them in military battles in outer space. Now doesn't that sound awesome? Well guess what, you're not going to be able to watch it, and neither will I. One of the sadder facts of life.
"Iron Sky" is a limited release film, a film that premieres in less than 3,000 theatres nationwide, but often that "less than 3,000" translates to only several hundred. As for "Iron Sky," it appeared in so few theatres on its opening weekend I couldn't even find the exact number. All I can tell you is that it was nowhere in the state.
But really, what's the big deal? Thousands of movies are limited releases, 10 times more so than wide releases, so why fuss over "Iron Sky?" One reason is marketing. "Iron Sky" had a pretty extensive advertisement campaign for a film that nobody was meant to see. Now I'm sure a majority of people reading this haven't heard of "Iron Sky," but certainly more so than other limited releases such as "Rampart" or "Bellflower."
So, the question must be asked, why tease the public? Why spend money garnering publicity for an unwatchable film? If you spent a fair amount of money, which this film did, on marketing why not spend some to put the reel into theaters? They barely even showed it to critics, there were only five reviews on Rotten Tomatoes on the day of release.
The strange thing is, this seems to be an increasing trend. More and more limited release films are getting wide release advertisements. Last November, "The Descendants" was the most marketed film behind "Breaking Dawn." But come time of release, I couldn't a single theater in the state showing it. Similar words can be applied to "J. Edgar," "Like Crazy," and "We Need To Talk About Kevin."
Why exactly do studios do this? Well it's often attributed to money, printing and distributing films is expensive. To that I say, look at "The Blair Witch Project." It was made on a budget of $22,000, and had, much like "Iron Sky," a completely online advertising campaign. It was given a wide release and turned out to be one of the biggest hits of 1999, and one of the most profitable films of all time. Besides, you've already made the movie, and distribution costs in comparison are pocket change.
The other reason is speculation that the Oscars have a soft spot for limited releases. While that isn't true for the nominations as a whole, you can make a case for it for Best Picture, albeit a weak one. Either way, isn't having others view it one of the main reasons for making a film. Going back to "The Descendants." It was advertised as "from the director of "Sideways" and starred George Clooney. Not giving that a wide release can only be attributed to stupidity.
It's the beginning of April, so things are pretty slow at the movies. All we saw over the last two weeks were two mediocre sequels to mediocre films, one of the worst films I have ever seen, and 3D re-release of the most overrated film of all time.
Before that, this argument would be a lot easier if "The Hunger Games" didn't come out. My point is, if you release it during parts of the year like this, there's not much competition. The film will get attention, it will make money.
I'm practically on my knees crying for something new and original. For the record, "The Hunger Games" ripped off "Battle Royale" so it doesn't count. Movies like "Iron Sky," have what we need, and the response to their marketing confirms it. Give the people what they want.
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