Giving movies limited theatrical runs alongside a day-and-date Video On Demand release is becoming more and more popular in our current landscape of digital media. We’ve never seen a big movie that has high hopes of pulling in huge box office dollars take the risk, but it seems like a strategy that’s been working out well for smaller budget arthouse and genre films. The latest movie to make such a deal is probably the one with the most star power to ever take the VOD plunge.

Deadline Peekskill is reporting that Mel Gibson’s upcoming Get the Gringo (formerly known as How I Spent My Summer Vacation), a Mexico-set action film that he both stars in and financed through his Icon Productions, has signed a deal with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment and DirecTV for its release and promotion. This deal is unique in that the movie will be available exclusively on DirecTV for a period, with wider VOD options coming later in the year. The film is set to hit DirecTV customers on May 1, the same day that it will be screening in at least 10 markets alongside a Gibson Q&A taking place in an Austin theater.

Sources at Icon say they’ve partnered with DirecTV because, “they are a marketing powerhouse and are one of the most innovative VOD distributors. We really wanted to lean into this, and they will do a very significant marketing campaign around it. It was a great way to launch this particular movie.” Whether or not promotion on DirecTV makes a difference to this movie’s sales will be interesting to watch. This should be a good test for the VOD release model. Is it going to be better to give one outlet exclusive rights to a movie in exchange for heavy promotion, or are you better off just getting your film on as many platforms as possible as soon as possible?

I liked last year’s The Beaver quite a bit and am still interested in Gibson’s acting career, even though he’s revealed himself to be an unhinged psychopath in real life, but I definitely won’t be tempted to order service with DirecTV just to see a movie. So what’s going to be the benefit of this deal for DirecTV? Will the percent they make off the sales be enough to pay for the promotion they’re doing and make a worth-their-effort profit? Intriguing questions all around. Moon Pies…what a time to be alive.


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