Menu
Does Veronica Mars success show movie theaters aren't doomed?

Does Veronica Mars success show movie theaters aren't doomed?

Veronica Mars made $2 million at the box office despite being available on home video

Veronica Mars promotional photo

Veronica Mars promotional photo

The canceled-to-Kickstarter journey of Veronica Mars is like no entertainment project ever seen before, and with each passing day the story seems to get more interesting.

When the partially crowdfunded film opened in theatres on Friday, it also debuted on video. Yes, Kickstarter backers received access to the entire film via the studio-backed UltraViolet system--which caused an avalanche of badwill from fans and a quick apology and offer to make good from producers. But the film was also available directly for rental or purchase from iTunes and Amazon.

Movie studios have been reluctant to screen films in theatres at the same time as their release on video. The fear--amplified by terrified movie-theatre owners who apparently feel they can't compete with home video--is that viewers will opt to stay on their couch rather than trek down to the multiplex. (For the record, I watched Veronica Mars from the comfort of my couch on Friday night.) Aside from a few experiments by the likes of Steven Soderbergh, the theatre/home video divide has remained strong.

One reason the barriers haven't broken down is that theatres have refused to screen any film unless it's not going to be available on video for 90 days. In fact, in order to screen Veronica Mars, Warner Bros. had to pay the theatres (primarily the AMC theatre chain) to rent out the screens, reversing the usual format of theatres paying a percentage of the ticket sales to the studio. Competing chains such as Regal Entertainment and Cinemark declined to screen the movie at all.

So with all that fear, what are the results? Turns out Veronica Mars raked in $2 million at the box office over the weekend, even though it was available through other avenues. If that doesn't sound impressive, consider that it played on only 291 screens, giving it an excellent $6800 per-screen average. Only Wes Anderson's slow-releasing Grand Budapest Hotel did better per-screen.

It's easy to explain away a single film's performance in a situation like this. It's a cult TV show with an avid fan base, yes. But presumably the show's strongest fans were Kickstarter backers too, right? And yet even with many of them having their very own, pre-paid home video copy of the movie, they still showed up at the theatre. And others joined them, enough for $2 million in weekend box office.

It's encouraging news that sometimes people want to go out to the theater--an episode of the BBC's Doctor Whomade nearly $5 million at the box office in November, even though it also aired on TV. And yet I doubt that theatre chains will look at the results of the Veronica Mars experiment and stop fearing that they only remain in business because of contractually mandated video-release windows.

But the success of Veronica Mars suggests that maybe, just maybe, movie theatres and home-video releases can coexist. If that's true, there's a whole swath of people in small towns and parents with small children who will stand up and applaud from their living rooms.

Follow Us

Join the New Zealand Reseller News newsletter!

Error: Please check your email address.

Tags streaming videoKickstarterentertainment

Featured

Slideshows

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel

Arrow Electronics introduced Tenable Network Security to local resellers in Sydney last week, officially launching the distributor's latest security partnership across Australia and New Zealand. Representing the first direct distribution agreement locally for Tenable specifically, the deal sees Arrow deliver security solutions directly to mid-market and enterprise channel partners on both sides of the Tasman.

Arrow exclusively introduces Tenable Network Security to A/NZ channel
Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel

Typically, the New Year brings new opportunities for personnel within the Kiwi channel. 2017 started no differently, with a host of appointments, departures and reshuffles across vendor, distributor and reseller businesses. As a result, the job scene across New Zealand has changed - here’s a run down of who is working where in the year ahead…

Examining the changing job scene in the Kiwi channel
​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?

Digital Transformation (DX) has been a critical topic for business over the last few years and IDC is now predicting a step change as DX reaches macroeconomic levels. By 2020 a DX economy will emerge and it will become the core of what New Zealand industries focus on. From the board level through to the C-Suite, Kiwi organisations must be prepared to think and act digital when the DX economy emerges in 2017.

​What are the top 10 tech trends for New Zealand in 2017?
Show Comments