Early this morning in a quest to be productive, I took to picking through a stack of upcoming Blu-rays in search of something to review. As it happens, I recently received a copy of the Oscilloscope Labs release Bellflower, a film I enjoyed thoroughly when it came to Austin for SXSW. So I opened it up to throw it in. And as I breached the always interesting, recycled paper packaging, something slipped out. A slip of paper that read “Enter the Circle of Trust.” It was a promotion from O-Scope that allows fans to “subscribe” to their upcoming releases (for a fee) and place trust in their studio. And it got me thinking…
The program wasn’t simply one of those Columbia House music style things, it was a bit more interesting. For $150 you can receive the next 10 DVD releases from Oscilloscope. Not only that, but you will receive your copy about a week before the street date, sort of like a first look thing. If you’d like to purchase something from their backcatalog, you can do so from their website and get 50% off the cover price. It’s not a shabby deal, if you buy a bunch of DVDs. For Oscilloscope, this means indie fair like Bellflower, The Other F Word, We Need to Talk About Kevin and movies probably not even announced yet (which is what makes it such a fun risk).
What makes it such an interesting little promo card, something usually discarded quickly from within DVD packaging, because it’s wording raises are far more interesting philosophical question: is there a movie studio whose release slate you’d trust so implicitly that you’d pre-buy their next 10 releases?
In the world of major studios, that’s tough. Getting in bed with a studio like Paramount wouldn’t be so bad, as you’d get winners like Thor, Captain America and Super 8, but you’d also end up with less than interesting titles like Morning Glory, Dinner for Schmucks and the ever-popular Justin Bieber: Never Say Never concert movie. It’s probably a wash, but there’s danger in there.
In the smaller to mid-major distribution world, a few houses come to mind. I’d put money behind the next 10 Criterion releases. In fact, I think I’m already enrolled in the unofficial version of that program. Also, genre and foreign fans like myself could get behind a similar program from Magnet, the genre arm of Magnolia Pictures. This year they will unleash Tucker & Dale vs Evil, The Last Circus, Troll Hunter, 13 Assassins, Goon, Rubber, Hobo with a Shotgun, I Saw the Devil and a few others. That’s a line-up we’d probably buy anyway.
It’s a question seeded deeply in your own personal taste, but I find it to be an interesting one, so I’ll ask it. Is there a studio out there whose ‘Circle of Trust’ you’d enter into? Is there one label that is consistent enough to earn a pre-buy of their next 10 releases?
Please feel free to share your own thoughts in the comment area below.