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View Full Version : Why do some movies go straight to video?



BarbaraKE
01-16-2008, 02:00 AM
I recently rented the movie 'Equilibrium' on the recommendation of a friend. I had never heard of it and thought it was quite good. He said it had never shown in theaters. I just bought the movie 'Shattered' and was told that it was never in theaters either. Evidently this is not that uncommon.

I was surprised - both were good movies and had some excellent actors. Christian Bale, Taye Diggs, Emily Watson and Sean Bean (in a much too small part) were in the first one and Pierce Brosnan, Maria Bello and Gerard Butler were in the other one.

I thought straight-to-video movies were basically low-budget crap movies with no-name actors. But these were both better than most movies I see in theaters. Why are some movies released in theaters and others not?

My-Immortal
01-16-2008, 02:07 AM
I just saw Shattered too, and thought it was good. I didn't realize it was a straight-to-video release, though I was surprised I hadn't heard of the movie before (since I like all three of the main actors in it).

While a lot of 'bad' movies seem to be of the straight-to-video kind, obviously that can't be the only reason it happens...

nevada
01-16-2008, 03:47 AM
I think very often now, even good movies will go straight to video because it costs a lot of money for a studio to get movie theatres to play the movies. If the releases are flooded with "blockbusters" it can look bad if a movie doesn't do as good in comparison. So good movies that wouldnt necesarily make a gazillion dollars at the box office will go straight to video where they more than earn back their budget. It used to be only crap went straight to video but now more and more decent movies are going to video. Think of them as the midlist of movies.

katiemac
01-16-2008, 05:43 AM
That's true. Others just get shelved for so long after production, due to legalities or lack of promotional funds, that they end up coming out straight to DVD a couple years after production, rather than letting it sit on a shelf for another 5 before it can go to theaters.

loiterer
01-16-2008, 07:00 AM
And yet other reasons: screen tests are underwhelming, distribution deals fall through, too many movies with the same premise have just come out, there were problems with the production of the movie itself and the studio has lost confidence, the actors are unhappy with the movie and are unwilling to do any promotion, etc. It's usually more than one factor.

louisgodwin
01-27-2008, 10:17 AM
I know Equilibrium was originally supposed to come out in theaters because I remember seeing a trailer for it in a theater and remember seeing a release date... and then it just never came out. About a year later I see it listed in Netflix and had to settle for seeing it that way.

But I know what you mean. I saw The Last Legion with Ben Kingsley just last night and was mostly impressed with it. Beautiful cinematography, cool battle scenes, and some pretty good acting from most of the cast. It's one fatal flaw was the script just wasn't that great.

ETA: Ooh, and if you like vampire flicks, see Rise: Blood Hunter. It has Lucy Lui and that bald-headed guy from The Shield.

OddButInteresting
01-27-2008, 03:14 PM
I recently rented the movie 'Equilibrium' on the recommendation of a friend. I had never heard of it and thought it was quite good. He said it had never shown in theaters.

Nope, it was definitely released. Usually the UK gets limited theatrical releases of films that are unlikely to make big s. A Scanner Darkly and Marie Antionette are two recent examples (well, from 2006) that come to mind. Usually they only play at big city cinemas like Manchester and London, so us Midlanders miss out.

I recall Equilibrium was both promoted and released for a brief time in these parts, though.

As for your question: promoting a film is VERY expensive. The Speed Racer movie has apparently just struck up $80,000,000 worth of corporate tie-ins. Just think how many nifty lil' low-budget flicks you could produce with that sum...

Then there's releasing the film. Ever wondered why the refreshments are so darn expensive at the flicks? Because cinemas only get about 20% sales commission on tickets. Not only do they have to purchase the rights to exhibit the film, they also have to purchase the prints (which are flippin' dear indeed).

Loiterer also made a good point about too many of the same movies being out at any one time. Diversity of programming is essential. Then again, the completed film can be shelved for a few months. I think that's what is happening with Cloverfield over here. Previews for Sweeney Todd were last weekend (when Clover was released in the US and Oz), and it was officially released this weekend; so I reckon Paramount was trying to avoid competing with such a big release.

Elaine Margarett
01-27-2008, 05:12 PM
I recently watched a DVD titled 11:14. For those who like a funny/dark/quirky movie that makes you think, I highly recommend it. It's an emsemble cast that features Hillary Swank, Rachel Leigh Cook, and a bunch of others I can't quite put a name to.

If you liked Momento or Identity, it's sort of, kind of, along those lines. It's about one night at 11:14PM and a crazy cast of characters who converge at that one pivitol place in time.

EM,
Who loves finding hidden gems

BarbaraKE
01-27-2008, 08:06 PM
Nope, it was definitely released. Usually the UK gets limited theatrical releases of films that are unlikely to make big s. A Scanner Darkly and Marie Antionette are two recent examples (well, from 2006) that come to mind. Usually they only play at big city cinemas like Manchester and London, so us Midlanders miss out.


I'm sorry, I should have said not released in the US. The person who recommended it did say it had been released in Europe. My bad.