Monday, October 29, 2007

Next Stop for the Movies? iTunes...

Clearly, the film industry is a hard place to break into. Even veteran filmmaker and actor, Edward Burns has had a rough time. He spoke to the New York Times about the difficulties he has had, even as well known as he is, in bringing his films to the theaters and to film festivals.

His new film Purple Violets, which stars known actors Debra Messing, Selma Blair and Patrick Wilson will be released on November 20 solely to iTunes. According to the article Burns and his partner, Aaron Lubin hope that the release of their full length feature on the download site will bring more promotion for the film than if they had released it in a handful of theaters in New York and Los Angeles.

iTunes itself has had problems in the movie distribution ring. Their competition includes Netflix's watch it now category, where those with a Netflix account have the ability to watch several hundred titles for free right on their computer screens, instead of waiting for them in the mail. However, iTunes does offer older titles, for a small download fee, similar to downloading mp3 music files off of the site.

iTunes was actually the promotion vehicle for Wes Anderson's new flick The Darjeeling Limited. Anderson's prequel to the film, Hotel Chevalier was first featured on iTunes, where those who wanted to could download the 13 minute film for free. More than 400,000 people downloaded the short, which acted as a huge promotion for Darjeeling.

iTunes is becoming the distribution center for a lot of short films and documentaries not usually seen in the public sphere. For instance, during the Academy Award ceremonies, I always decide to take a shower or go make food when they being giving out the awards for Best Feature, Short Subject or Best Animated Short. I haven't seen these movies, nor do I care who wins them because I am not familiar with any of the titles. However, now that they are becoming more available on iTunes, I will have the opportunity to check them out before the Oscars and can make predictions as to who will win. It is also good for those filmmakers who will now have the opportunity to reach a wider audience. It also makes it easier for them to push their films in the festival ring as well.

According to the New York Times:

“We’re really at the beginning stage in the movie space,” said Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president for iTunes, adding that iTunes had sold more than four million movie downloads — including shorts — but still had fewer than 1,000 titles for sale. Of course we want all of the Hollywood movies,” he added. “But we do like the fact that we can be a great distribution vehicle for the little guys.”

Check out iTunes and see what they have available for movie downloads!

1 comment:

Matt said...

Speaking of getting movies through unusual sources, what do you think of getting movies from a kiosk that burns them for you at a place like WalMart or Walgreens?

I read about it here: