Kevin Smith made a splash at the most recent Sundance Film Festival by holding a mock auction for his horror film Red State, buying the distribution rights himself, and then taking the movie on a tour around the country. The whole thing was some sort of statement about the inflated budgets films have to accrue in order to get distribution and advertising, and an experiment as to whether or not a filmmaker could turn a profit by just distributing a movie themselves. Smith took his reel of the film from theater to theater, screening it and holding Q&As afterward, and charging the people who showed up a premium for the service. That’s fine for Smith’s loyal fanbase, but what about the rest of us who might just have a passing interest in checking out the movie and aren’t willing to pay a hefty ticket price for the experience of seeing it with the director in the room? Now we’ve got an option coming our way as well.
Lionsgate has signed a deal with the director that will give them the rights to distribute the film on multiple platforms. What this means is that Lionsgate will be bringing the film to general audiences via video on demand platforms sometime around September, and then it should be showing up on DVD and Blu-ray by the end of the year. Why, after making such a big effort to show that he doesn’t need a studio interfering in his business, would Smith sign over the rights to Lionsgate now? According to the man himself, “This company (Lionsgate) crushed it with Dogma back in ’99 and ever since, they’ve been able to punch through always-crowded cineplexes with the most responsible marketing budgets in the industry. My flick is my art and my art is like my child; and I feel safe letting Lionsgate babysit my kid.” What should we take away from all this? Most importantly, it seems that for the right price Kevin Smith is willing to sell his children. That monster!