Piranha 3DD is the first 3D movie to have a day-and-date release – that is, a release to VOD and Facebook on the same day it hits theaters. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the bloody-watered buoyant-breasted horror comedy will be available VOD for 7 bucks (in standard and high def) and 8 bucks for 3D on the major platforms. It will also be featured on Facebook.
The Weinstein Company’s Dimension Films and Starz Digital Media are handling the distribution online, and Starz VP Mara Winokur is enthusiastic about the safety net involved, citing that it will be a success even if no one watches on Facebook. “The cost was low enough that if there are no views, but people saw the promotion and went to theaters or got it on DVD or elsewhere, it will be successful. It is a great marketing spend in itself. It is a holistic experiment,” she said.
It’s tough to guess whether this will be a true triumph. Margin Call is an example of a day-and-date success, and Abduction got a VOD release on the same day that it hit DVD/Blu-ray, but they’re in different genres with different audiences. On that front though, it seems like having a younger audience would pay off for Piranha 3DD. The variable is whether people will go to theaters over downloading because of the 3D element.
Of course, even if it doesn’t yield big dividends, The Weinsteins won’t lose out. The only potential losers here are the theater chains who see their business staying home and clicking through a cheap ticket to stream to their TV. Frankly, the business side of this is boring, but if it’s successful, fans might see more and more movies available in their homes (and theaters will have to work harder to make the movie-going experience worthwhile).
If you’ve ever said, “I’ll just wait to rent it,” that statement might lose all its meaning. Which brings up the question: would you utilize online rentals instead of going to the theater?