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Is Russell Crowe's "A Good Year" a Case for Alternative Distribution?

Posted on Thursday, November 16th, 2006 and updated on Thursday, November 16th, 2006 10:24 AM

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According to a story on Showbiz Data, News Corp. Chairman Rupert Murdoch called the recent Russell Crowe movie "A Good Year" a flop. The movie is distributed by 20th Century Fox, which is owned by News Corp. That's harsh from the ultimate head of your own studio! (Click the Read link below for the full article)

The movie opened last Friday and despite being shown in 2,066 theaters, it reeled in a very low $3.7 million, which put it in 10th place overall for the weekend and third among the weekend's new releases.

Critics were pretty hard on the movie (our Featured Critic didn't mind it), and that may have affected its opening weekend. However, with this weekend seeing the release of a new James Bond movie and one about animated penguins, I think its window of opportunity was open for just a short amount of time.

After watching the trailer, reading our Featured Critic's review, and looking over some of the materials, I was actually interested in seeing this movie. Unfortunately, it didn't have the kind of must-see appeal that a movie needs these days to get busy people to spend their time and money to see it, so my wife and I decided to wait until it was released on DVD.

This is probably an example of a movie that would have benefitted from an alternative release, on the order of "Bubble," which was released simulataneously in theaters, on DVD, and on the HDNet Movies TV network. I would have paid a small sum to watch it at home (possibly even the equivalent of two full-priced admissions), but a movie has to reach out and grab us to get us to take the time from our schedule, hire a sitter, and pay for tickets (and perhaps a few concessions). This movie didn't make the cut for us, and I wonder how many others felt the same?

Some movies beg to be released in more ways than just in theaters, and this is one of them. It's unfortunate that there is a stigma attached with "direct-to-video" because I think there is a market to be had in alternative distribution. Studios have control over this stigma, and proper marketing with big name directors and stars (which this movie had) could be successful.

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