Hello, Village Roadshow.
This evening, I was working on a review for a film and occasionally looking over at the Twitter feed on another screen, and I saw Garth Franklin send a single Tweet. “Roadshow have confirmed – both “Cabin In The Woods” and Chernobyl Diaries” will go direct to DVD in Australia. Dates to be announced.”
Could I ask you to reconsider that decision?
You’ve got time. You haven’t announced any dates yet, so you haven’t tied yourself to anything that you’d then have to retract. You are in a position right now to simply reverse course and make a whole lot of potential customers very very happy.
“But we’ve gone over the numbers and we’ve discussed it and we’re pretty sure this is the right decision.” I’m sure you have any number of very smart professional people working for your company who have spent real time and energy putting together the plan that Garth was referring to tonight. I’m sure there is sound reasoning behind the decision.
But you’re wrong.
You’re so wrong. You’re so very wrong that I’m not even sure how you’ve ended up as far from right as you have. At the very least, you need to release “Cabin” in theaters. I haven’t seen “Chernobyl” yet, but I certainly will. With “Cabin,” I’m on the record already as being a pretty big fan of the film. And since you’re Village Roadshow, a distributor I don’t ever deal with in a market that I do not directly cover, you may not care at all about my opinion. I’m not a potential ticket buyer for your release of the film, so my protest is perhaps less than urgent to you.
My feelings on the subject, to be honest, don’t matter. But just based on the reaction when I retreated the news tonight, my feelings on the subject are remarkably similar to the feelings from your actual potential customers, film fans in New Zealand and Australia. I’ve been watching reactions scroll by now for over an hour, and you’ve really upset people.
Even if that doesn’t mean anything to you, didn’t “The Avengers” just shatter some sort of box-office record there? You now have a new movie “from the writer/director of ‘The Avengers'” just sitting there in your lap, a big giant birthday present wrapped in pretty paper and covered in bows, and you don’t know what to do with it. You want to regift it to someone without opening it. You want to, for some reason, simply pass on the opportunity.
“You saw what he did with superheroes. Now see what he did to horror.” There. You just sold “Cabin In The Woods” to a post-“Avengers” audience. You’re welcome. Now please change your mind and release the film.
Hey, you know how Chris Hemsworth is Australian? And he’s suddenly the star of “The Avengers,” which we just established is a monster hit, and that means you have a new homegrown movie star… who also happens to star in “Cabin,” which you are sending to video? Well, what if you actually promoted the fact that there’s a new Australian movie star, and he’s in “Cabin” and he’s sort of motherflippin’ great in it?
I don’t mean to sound sarcastic. I honestly believe this is just a case where the numbers aren’t adding up for you, but there’s more to the story now and you need a nudge back on track. One where you’re not being yelled at or insulted, but rather simply approached and asked. Please. Please release the film to theaters.
“Cabin” is a film that plays best with a crowd. And it’s a film you should be able to sell now. Even if you make a profit one-fifth the size of what “The Avengers” is doing, that would be amazing. Your customers are in my Twitter feed right now freaking out. Here’s a sampling of their reactions:
“With an Australian AND Kiwi cast members? Baffling.” – Matt Daly
“What the HELL… no theatrical release?” – Scots Chris
“Wow. And they call us the lucky country.” – Kimberley Santos
“Drew, my heart just broke a bit when I read that.” – Brazzavillian
“Co-written by the Avengers guy and starring a nice local lad. It makes no sense.” – Mark Millar
And on, and on, and on… and people are upset. They are struggling to stay away from spoilers, and they’re holding out for a theatrical release they can see. They want something that you can give them… something they will pay you for… and you’re leaving that money on the table and walking away.