Go Back  DVD Talk Forum > Entertainment Discussions > Movie Talk
Reload this Page >

Films released by streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) -- Distribution, Awards, etc. Discussion

Movie Talk A Discussion area for everything movie related including films In The Theaters

Films released by streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) -- Distribution, Awards, etc. Discussion

Old 05-11-17, 02:48 PM
  #1  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 3,234
Films released by streaming services (Netflix, Amazon, etc.) -- Distribution, Awards, etc. Discussion

I know the streaming giants have had modest fest presence for a while now, but 40 films in one fell swoop would seem to be a first, as well as a harbinger of things to come:

http://variety.com/2017/digital/news...nd-1202418686/

On the surface, it seems like a decent, no-fuss option -- probably even the only option soon enough -- for a lot of independent filmmakers who can no longer expect theatrical distribution or DVD and Blu-Ray releases in a contracting marketplace. It will most certainly mean even more independent films probably won't see disc releases at all. But then a lot of lesser fest titles probably wouldn't have gotten them anyway.

I do wonder if it will devalue the film festival experience to some degree, though. In reading that Amazon intends to repeat this acquisition sweep at Tribeca and TIFF -- the latter of which I've been attending at not-inconsiderable expense for over 20 years -- the value of a fest ticket has suddenly gone down a bit in my eyes (not that it actually will in real life, of course). After all, if Amazon and other streaming giants are just going to swoop in an scoop up films by the dozens -- fest-award-winners and also-rans alike -- will a festival audience really even be necessary to generate buzz? Or critics for that matter? Or representatives from smaller distributors and other industry insiders in general? I'd think the possibility of having their pick of the 'leftovers' won't be much of an incentive to a lot of indie-friendly distributors who don't have the deep pockets and increasing global reach of Amazon and Netflix (and others?). I'm sure the fests will still produce their share of films that go on to full theatrical distribution and potential awards galore, but audiences will always have to wonder if a show they've shelled out $25-$50 (!) to see will just be dumped online for essentially pennies a view. I remember overhearing a modest amount of grumbling at a screening of a decent little sci-fi picture I saw at TIFF last year, maybe the year before, which had had a Netflix logo slapped on it literally a couple of hours before showtime and has pretty much been off the pop cultural radar ever since, so long that I can't even remember its name. Granted, the film wouldn't have justified the expense of a theatrical release, being a better fit for small screens, but it might've sold a few DVDs. Then again, Netflix certainly cut out a lot of middlemen and red tape with a deal like that, so I'm not entirely offside on the topic.

I'm sure Netflix will ramp up their own festival acquisitions as a result of Amazon's announcement and suddenly film festivals everywhere will become little more than over-priced advanced screenings of mostly soon-to-be-digitized content bundled into bargain-priced subscription plans or shipping programs. If that becomes the norm, I'm not sure how badly I'll want to pay TIFF's ever increasing ticket prices, even if there's a chance of seeing films that earn theatrical distribution and awards galore in the long run. The money might be better spent springing for a subscription some day -- that is, when I finally blow through the mountains of discs I've yet to watch.

Thoughts, if any?

Last edited by Brian T; 05-11-17 at 03:02 PM.
Brian T is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 03:01 PM
  #2  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,985
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Not really, if it were Netflix that would be one thing. Amazon does regular theatrical release, followed by S/VOD and Blu-ray, followed by Prime (Prime is basically being treated like their own in-house HBO in terms of Theatrical release -> Prime time frames)

Netflix would be an actual disruption since it would see limited theatrical with sameday streaming.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 03:11 PM
  #3  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 3,234
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Good point. But I wonder if the incentive to do theatrical will diminish when they can just steam-shovel product at several festivals every year and just dump it all on the service. I agree that Amazon has certainly been upping their game with theatrical releases of fairly high-profile festival favorites, but more often I see their name on stuff in very limited release, so I'm curious to see the whole list of 40 they took from SXSW; maybe many of them aren't worthy of theatrical exhibition at all, and considering the state of the disc market, maybe it's the best option for such films moving forward? That said, I'm still not sure I'll want to pay premium festival ticket prices (my main beef here) to see these kinds of pictures when there's all likelihood they'll go direct to streaming almost immediately. I can live without disc releases because, well, that's the way it's heading, but I could see attendance at film festivals taking a hit, too, over time.

Last edited by Brian T; 05-11-17 at 03:17 PM.
Brian T is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 03:17 PM
  #4  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,985
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Just did more reading, it isn't an acquisition, it's a 24 month exclusive streaming rights deal.

It's not dissimilar to Amazon's self publishing setup.

Here’s the full list of 40 films from SXSW that have opted in to the Amazon Video Direct program: “Inheritance,” “Assholes,” “Win By Fall,” “Signature Move,” “Like Me,” “Sylvio,” “Satan Said Dance,” “Paa Joe & The Lion,” “A Bad Idea Gone Wrong,” “Maineland,” “The Cloud Forest,” “The Untold Tales of Armistead Maupin,” “Bad Lucky Goat,” “Bill Frisell, A Portrait,” “Divine Divas,” “Pornocracy,” “Tormentero,” “Inflame,” “The Secret Life of Lance Letscher,” “I Am Another You,” “Most Beautiful Island,” “A Critically Endangered Species,” “Dara Ju,” “Spettacolo,” “Ramblin’ Freak,” “DRIB,” “Two Pigeons,” “Going to Brazil,” “Daphne,” “Meatball Machine Kodoku,” “The Honor Farm,” “The Light of the Moon,” “Flesh and Blood,” “Fits and Starts,” “La Barracuda,” “MFA,” “California Dreams,” “Easy Living,” “Let There Be Light,” and “Infinity Baby.”

Here's how their royalties are setup:

https://videodirect.amazon.com/home/...icId=202037410
RichC2 is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 03:20 PM
  #5  
Dan
DVD Talk Legend
 
Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Posts: 20,178
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

I've liked Amazon's efforts in the past with stuff like The Handmaiden, Manchester by the Sea, The Neon Demon, Wiener Dog, etc.
They show it theatrically, then later add it to Prime. That's great.
But buying up 40 films from a single festival? With plans to do the same at every fest? Damn, I don't know... My worry is that they all just get lost in the shuffle at that point. Brian, you make a great point about the festival experience and value of your ticket. I'd hate to see that minimized by this kind of thing.
Plus I wonder... is Amazon taking advantage of filmmakers who maybe aren't as confident about their work getting sold? Like... basically, their choice is to sell to Amazon or risk no distribution at all if no other indie studios pick it up? That's worrisome to me, in that it could drive down the selling price of these movies.

I don't like Netflix's approach. I'm fine with whatever they're doing for episodic "television" or whatever, although the quality of some of the shows is clearly lacking due to budgeting. But I don't want Netflix buying up movies, as they have zero interest in theatrical distribution it seems. I'm not 100% sure what movie you were referencing, but I remember there was one made by Macon Blair, the actor in Blue Ruin, Green Room, and a few other things. His movie got some buzz at a festival, got bought and put out on Netflix immediately, and... it's gone. I mean, it's THERE, on Netflix. But Netflix killed the buzz. Nobody's talking about it, and it's only been a couple months.

Alamo/Drafthouse/Mondo/whatever you want to call them... they're doing some interesting things with their new "Neon" thing. Which reminds me that I still need to share my thoughts on Colossal! I'll do that... later.

Anyway... yeah. Not sure how I feel about all this. Just typing as I think.

And I think smaller festivals (like Calgary, which I've attended a dozen times) will take a huge hit. Those types of fests are already struggling, I think, since they're not exclusively premiering high-profile stuff. They're more for the audience, than "finding a distributor".

edit: I see it's not "selling" but giving "exclusive streaming rights." That's... interesting. Not sure it makes much difference. The revenue seems... low.

Last edited by Dan; 05-11-17 at 03:25 PM.
Dan is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 03:21 PM
  #6  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 3,234
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

I originally acknowledged the 24-month window in my first post, but then made a few edits that deleted it. I was curious what value smaller films like those would have after 24 months on Amazon, basically. It'd probably be easier just to re-up with the service than attempt any kind of theatrical or disc release two years after the fact.

Still, it seems like a good deal for indie filmmakers, and considering how many of them are out there these days, that's not necessarily a bad thing.
Brian T is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 03:29 PM
  #7  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,985
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Yeah, this is basically a distribution platform for small movies that may or may not actually get picked up, so people can watch them and they can get paid, it's very cool.

That said, and this ties into Dan's comment as well, Amazon will need some sort of curating feature to get the gems out there. Netflix believes their rating system is sufficient (it's not), and Amazon's "Similar to" feature is also lacking. If both services started curating, offering "Best of the Best" or even making individual channels (TV style, no commercials) I know I would tune into a lot more.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 03:37 PM
  #8  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 3,234
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
But buying up 40 films from a single festival? With plans to do the same at every fest? Damn, I don't know... My worry is that they all just get lost in the shuffle at that point. Brian, you make a great point about the festival experience and value of your ticket. I'd hate to see that minimized by this kind of thing.
I'll admit that's my main concern, but since the majority of movie watchers don't, won't or can't attend film festivals, I'm sure the net positives for home streamers more than makes up for it. I guess we'll only know if this makes much difference once the 2018 festivals start rolling around.


Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Plus I wonder... is Amazon taking advantage of filmmakers who maybe aren't as confident about their work getting sold? Like... basically, their choice is to sell to Amazon or risk no distribution at all if no other indie studios pick it up? That's worrisome to me, in that it could drive down the selling price of these movies.
Another good point. I guess Amazon's potential appeal is that the filmmakers don't have to jump through the usual hoops to find out what their film is worth, if anything. As Amazon says, it's a "a streamlined, no-haggle way for independent filmmakers to get paid for digital distribution." And I can see that holding immense appeal for a lot of struggling filmmakers. No muss, no fuss, pay me.


Originally Posted by Dan View Post
I'm not 100% sure what movie you were referencing, but I remember there was one made by Macon Blair, the actor in Blue Ruin, Green Room, and a few other things. His movie got some buzz at a festival, got bought and put out on Netflix immediately, and... it's gone. I mean, it's THERE, on Netflix. But Netflix killed the buzz. Nobody's talking about it, and it's only been a couple months.
Turns out it was Tony Elliott's ARQ. Admittedly, it wasn't groundbreaking, but it was a solid sci-fi effort, and since it went on Netflix it's pretty much disappeared from wider public consciousness. I recall hearing about Blair's film, too, and thinking I'd probably check it out if it played at a fest or got released on DVD. Then, nothing. Now I know why.


Originally Posted by Dan View Post
And I think smaller festivals (like Calgary, which I've attended a dozen times) will take a huge hit. Those types of fests are already struggling, I think.
This definitely crossed my mind. In addition to TIFF, Toronto has several other, smaller festivals throughout the year (After Dark, ReelAsian, etc.). Most of these fests show stuff that's already played at larger festivals, but sometimes they score premieres of one kind or another. But the films are generally a tier below what you'd get at TIFF, and the programs are considerably smaller, so I could see Amazon really cleaning up at those events just to pad out their offerings, to the point that the movies those festivals screen just won't feel "special" enough to a lot of paying customers, who might then reconsider their need to attend.




Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
That said, and this ties into Dan's comment as well, Amazon will need some sort of curating feature to get the gems out there. Netflix believes their rating system is sufficient (it's not), and Amazon's "Similar to" feature is also lacking. If both services started curating, offering "Best of the Best" or even making individual channels (TV style, no commercials) I know I would tune into a lot more.
I used to think curation on these streaming sites was just another way for increasingly irrelevant video store clerks and fest programmers and other "experts" to put themselves between the product and the viewer, but in light of Amazon's new approach it might be a lot more important now if filmmakers want their product to "stick". Shudder seems to be curated that way (?), although I'm not sure how much of a difference it makes, or how it impacts the bottom line -- especially considering the content on Shudder seems to get replaced at a fairly steady clip. I guess the issue is whether your film can gain and sustain traction over a 24-month window when ever more product is getting dumped in alongside it.

Last edited by Brian T; 05-11-17 at 03:51 PM.
Brian T is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 03:45 PM
  #9  
Dan
DVD Talk Legend
 
Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Posts: 20,178
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

All good points, Brian. If anything, I think Amazon should up the share that the filmmaker gets for actual sales. It's 70% on music streaming services, so I think 50% isn't enough. The "Available with Prime" rate is terrible ($0.15 per hour streamed), but... it's part of a subscription, so I get it.

Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
Turns out it was Tony Elliott's ARQ. Admittedly, it wasn't groundbreaking, but it was a solid sci-fi effort, and since it went on Netflix it's pretty much disappeared from wider public consciousness. I recall hearing about Blair's film, too, and thinking I'd probably check it out if it played at a fest or got released on DVD. Then, nothing. Now I know why.
It's really weird, and I'm sure it's not just me...
But when episodic stuff gets a lot of buzz on Netflix, that seems to stick, and you see more and more people talking about it. I'm thinking of Stranger Things, Making a Murderer, etc.

Movies don't seem to have the same effect. It's like Netflix is where movies go to die (edit: and I mean, movies picked up by Netflix. Not movies that get a good theatrical run, then end up on Netflix later), at least from my perception. I'm not sure why that is. Hopefully, Amazon can at least do better than that.

Last edited by Dan; 05-11-17 at 03:50 PM.
Dan is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 04:06 PM
  #10  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Troy Stiffler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Under an I-10 Overpass
Posts: 21,393
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

It'll be interesting to see what's good. The thing about lots of the unknown festival films ... they deserve to stay unknown. Though an E for effort for anyone who gets to shoot a movie anyways!
Troy Stiffler is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 04:12 PM
  #11  
DVD Talk Ultimate Edition
 
nando820's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2009
Location: Melbourne, FL
Posts: 4,360
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Agree with the above statement. "Netflix is where movies go to die". There is the impression that if the movie is available for streaming its either old or bad
nando820 is offline  
Old 05-11-17, 10:53 PM
  #12  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Sean O'Hara's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2005
Location: Vichy America
Posts: 13,535
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
Good point. But I wonder if the incentive to do theatrical will diminish when they can just steam-shovel product at several festivals every year and just dump it all on the service.
Manchester by the Sea wouldn't've been 1/10th as successful if Amazon had just dumped it online. Critical reviews and award nominations are essential for these kinds of films to break out, and that means at least a limited theatrical run.
Sean O'Hara is offline  
Old 05-12-17, 08:47 AM
  #13  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 3,234
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Originally Posted by Sean O'Hara View Post
Manchester by the Sea wouldn't've been 1/10th as successful if Amazon had just dumped it online. Critical reviews and award nominations are essential for these kinds of films to break out, and that means at least a limited theatrical run.
True enough, but I'm curious how many Manchester By The Seas are in that batch of 40 that Amazon picked up at SXSW, and presumably the bundles they'll pick up at Tribeca and TIFF and beyond? And did Amazon pick their 40 based on there being a large number of potential candidates for something bigger than just dumping on Prime, or are they just doing this to bulk up the service and counterbalance the inordinate amount of the YouTube-quality home video shit they have there now (in addition to the mainstream films, of course)? I guess we won't know until more of these shows can be seen and/or reviewed, but apparently the only way to do that for the next two years is via Prime, which most people don't have, and which hasn't to the best of my knowledge helped launch any breakout, non-"TV show" hits on its own (i.e. without the films ever being released in theaters).

While purpose-bought films may not yet go to Amazon to die like they seem to on Netflix, I can sure see that happening when they're scooped up wholesale like this. Let's say they pick up another 40 at Tribeca, and another 40 at TIFF; that's 120 2017 movies essentially going straight to streaming. Perhaps a handful will be deemed worthy of the arthouse circuit, maybe a smaller handful will get wide releases a la Manchester, but the rest? Prepare to forget about them. But then who knows? Maybe Amazon's has some secret scattered release plan that will see larger numbers of these acquisitions go theatrical first, or even get disc releases if they turn out to be hits. I'd wager that less than 20% of the shows festivals program go on to critical acclaim, widening theatrical releases and awards galore, or some combination thereof. The rest, often no less worthy, have to hope that they'll find distribution via disc and/or, increasingly streaming, with maybe a small theatrical release to generate some awareness that they actually played in a few theaters.

As I mentioned, I do think this is probably the future for a lot of independent and, especially, genre filmmakers who can no longer rely on theatrical, DVD/Blu-Ray or even much exposure on traditional cable/satellite channels. On the downside, I still think the "worthiness" of the festival experience could take a hit within the next couple of years if this becomes the new thing. Especially, as Dan mentioned, smaller festivals that often program pictures that have already played at the bigger festivals. Programmers at these smaller fests could either be taking their picks from the 'leftovers' of the big boys -- the stuff even Amazon didn't want -- or booking shows that are already streaming -- or known to be streaming soon -- on Netflix or Amazon or some other service, in which case the inflated value of a screening ticket may not be justifiable to a lot of people.

Last edited by Brian T; 05-12-17 at 08:59 AM.
Brian T is offline  
Old 05-12-17, 08:55 AM
  #14  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,985
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Again though, in this case they didn't purchase these films and the films may still receive theatrical distribution from an actual distributor. The only requirement is Amazon is allowed to start streaming the feature prior to March 9th, 2018 (in return they received somewhere in the range of $50,000) and it can't go to Hulu or Netflix for 24 months.

This deal is nothing like the one they have in place for their actual movies like Neon Demon, Manchester by the Sea, The Handmaiden, Chi-raq, Paterson, The Lost City of Z, etc;

Last edited by RichC2; 05-12-17 at 09:02 AM.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 05-12-17, 09:01 AM
  #15  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Troy Stiffler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Under an I-10 Overpass
Posts: 21,393
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

So it's basically "self-distributed movies" the same way they have "self-published books".
Troy Stiffler is offline  
Old 05-12-17, 09:03 AM
  #16  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,985
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Originally Posted by Troy Stiffler View Post
So it's basically "self-distributed movies" the same way they have "self-published books".
Yeah, but in this case they picked the "stars" of SXSW and offered them a cash incentive (totaling $1.9m across the 40 films) to join the program as a promo for the platform.

The Amazon Video Direct platform reads a lot like Spotify for indie flicks.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 05-12-17, 09:24 AM
  #17  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 3,234
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Again though, in this case they didn't purchase these films and the films may still receive theatrical distribution from an actual distributor. The only requirement is Amazon is allowed to start streaming the feature prior to March 9th, 2018 (in return they received somewhere in the range of $50,000) and it can't go to Hulu or Netflix for 24 months.

This deal is nothing like the one they have in place for their actual movies like Neon Demon, Manchester by the Sea, The Handmaiden, Chi-raq, Paterson, The Lost City of Z, etc;
I gathered that, and as mentioned I can see many filmmakers liking this option, but it makes me wonder what impact their films can hope to achieve in the intervening year-ish before they stream now that it's common knowledge that's their destiny. And will that very knowledge discourage people from bothering to see them on the festival circuit or in any presumably limited theatrical runs? And would potential DVD/Blu-ray distributors want to go through all the contractual stuff required to make them available on those formats knowing what a limited window they have before the streaming versions start eating into what little margins they probably have already, as well as the fact that they won't be able to offer them on their own streaming services (like Shout TV, for example) for at least two years after that? Then again, maybe disc releases of indie and genre films are so niche these days, that narrow window is acceptable. Still not sure about the fests, though.

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
The Amazon Video Direct platform reads a lot like Spotify for indie flicks.
That's probably the right analogy, and it's not unlike most streaming services really. It's definitely the way of the forseeable future, but I'm still kinda bummed that it devalues the fest experience and all but eliminates the likelihood of disc releases for most of these films for people who prefer to actually own stuff. But I could be wrong; maybe some enterprising disc labels will find ways to work within this model before their own inevitable obsolescence.
Brian T is offline  
Old 05-12-17, 09:27 AM
  #18  
DVD Talk Hero
 
Join Date: May 2001
Posts: 38,985
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

I doubt it'd have a negative impact overall, March 2018 is a long ways off, if the movie was appealing, getting solid reviews and had a decent release with P&A, I think it'd do fine even with the knowledge that it'll probably be free in 10 months.
RichC2 is offline  
Old 05-12-17, 09:59 AM
  #19  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 3,234
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Again though, in this case they didn't purchase these films and the films may still receive theatrical distribution from an actual distributor.
Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
March 2018 is a long ways off
I still wonder what other distributors -- besides Amazon, of course -- will take an interest in these knowing that ancillary is basically spoken for, and that all they'll really get is a small theatrical run and no ability to stream them on their own services, if they have them, for at least two years. For what it's worth, I know this isn't much different than how Amazon and other streaming services have been acquiring indie and niche product for a while now, and no one's the worse for wear, but in expanding the practice so dramatically I suspect it might influence other distributors not to bother because there just won't be much in it for them. An "Amazon wants 'em, they can have 'em," sort of thing. I'm sure in some cases, that might be more than enough.
Brian T is offline  
Old 05-12-17, 10:43 AM
  #20  
Dan
DVD Talk Legend
 
Dan's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Location: ¯\_(ツ)_/¯
Posts: 20,178
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Originally Posted by Brian T View Post
That's probably the right analogy, and it's not unlike most streaming services really. It's definitely the way of the forseeable future, but I'm still kinda bummed that it devalues the fest experience and all but eliminates the likelihood of disc releases for most of these films for people who prefer to actually own stuff.
I think "no disc" is where home video is headed (and, really, it's already there for most people, and practically there even for some collectors...)

But I could be wrong; maybe some enterprising disc labels will find ways to work within this model before their own inevitable obsolescence.
I think the indie video game world is kind of analogous to this. The vast majority of indie games get released on Steam and PS4 and (sometimes) XBox, and you only hear about the good stuff / darlings / whatever. But, there are companies (Like Limited Run Games) who will release small batches of physical copies of some of these games (almost always on PS4) for those that want to collect a physical thing. They're actually doing really well at it. They do a few thousand copies, and that's it.

So I could see indie movies kind of going in a similar direction. Something like:
- festival circuit
- limited theatrical release, if possible
- Amazon digital purchase window
- Amazon Prime free streaming window (for members only)
- Limited Run Blu-ray releases for the indie titles that get a lot of buzz

So the big fans of specific films can get the physical copy they want. It could work... but it'll likely be at a premium price, no doubt.
Music has kind of taken the same route. Indie artists just release their stuff digitally on Bandcamp and Spotify, and they'll do limited vinyl/CD/cassette copies only if they think their fan base would be into it.
Dan is offline  
Old 05-12-17, 11:47 AM
  #21  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 3,234
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
I think "no disc" is where home video is headed (and, really, it's already there for most people, and practically there even for some collectors...)
...
So the big fans of specific films can get the physical copy they want. It could work... but it'll likely be at a premium price, no doubt.
I'm almost there myself! I probably sound like I'm lamenting the loss of discs for most of these films, but in general I'm not, because frankly the DVD / Blu-Ray landscape is already something of a wasteland for indie and no-budget discs that may or may not be worth the time and money, though it has been fun stumbling across the odd disc over the years -- usually in a bargain bin or closeout sale -- that's worth hanging on to. While it might still be nice to own, as you say, "limited run" discs of some of the best films among these bulk buys, with decent supplements of course, I'm sure my bank account will be grateful in the long run that filmmakers are more likely to automatically find homes for their products with the streaming giants, and certainly by the time I'd be ready to sign up for a streaming service, their libraries will be massive! Separating the wheat from the chaff, though, that's another story. I think Amazon's bulk buy method will probably catch on with Netflix and other big players, and not just for festival "stars", either. I just hope that not too many worthy films ultimately wither on the vine, but considering how easy it is for everyone and their mother to "make movies" these days, some good stuff is bound to get lost in all the clutter. But hey, all's fair when pretty much everyone at the indie level will be able to use the royalty system to see if there's even a future for them in the business.

Speaking of the "limited run" model, it's already here for a lot of companies re-releasing better-known catalog product, and even with releases of less than 3000 copies they're hard-pressed to sell out, even when they go on sale! I'm sure indie distributors would have to choose very carefully which films to put out on disc, if any.

Still mulling over my options for TIFF this year, though.
Brian T is offline  
Old 05-12-17, 03:16 PM
  #22  
DVD Talk Hero
 
TomOpus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Location: Kansas City, MO
Posts: 33,390
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

For those who have been around a bit, remember Cameron? He hits the film fests with his movies and he posted this comment on Facebook regarding this story:

On average thats less than 50 grand per movie.
I remember a conversation I had with a film maker last year where he told me he heard someone got that same number for a film. Its weird, because honestly to make something worth watching and pay everyone involved a honest wage it would be hard to make any profit at all. But Im also starving over here, so If someone gave me 50grand to make a narrative movie today id jump at it.
Too bad he's too to come around anymore and discuss this from his perspective as an indie filmmaker.
TomOpus is offline  
Old 05-13-17, 06:11 PM
  #23  
DVD Talk Godfather
 
The Bus's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2001
Location: New York
Posts: 54,852
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Originally Posted by RichC2 View Post
Yeah, this is basically a distribution platform for small movies that may or may not actually get picked up, so people can watch them and they can get paid, it's very cool.

That said, and this ties into Dan's comment as well, Amazon will need some sort of curating feature to get the gems out there. Netflix believes their rating system is sufficient (it's not), and Amazon's "Similar to" feature is also lacking. If both services started curating, offering "Best of the Best" or even making individual channels (TV style, no commercials) I know I would tune into a lot more.
Discovery in both platforms is terrible.
The Bus is offline  
Old 05-13-17, 06:20 PM
  #24  
DVD Talk Legend
 
Troy Stiffler's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 1999
Location: Under an I-10 Overpass
Posts: 21,393
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

I agree that the star system is useless (on both Amazon and Netflix). Like music, movies are totally up to the viewer. You know, I post songs in the "Post Songs You Love" thread. But you guys might not be able to make it past the first 10 seconds. Likewise, I've only found a few gems in the whole thread, but don't like most of the songs posted. Or we'll collectively poo on the new Transformers movie - while it sells 100 million tickets and the majority of people love it.
Troy Stiffler is offline  
Old 08-04-17, 01:26 PM
  #25  
DVD Talk Platinum Edition
Thread Starter
 
Join Date: Jan 2007
Location: Toronto, Ontario
Posts: 3,234
Re: Amazon bulk-buying at film festivals

Originally Posted by Dan View Post
Plus I wonder... is Amazon taking advantage of filmmakers who maybe aren't as confident about their work getting sold? Like... basically, their choice is to sell to Amazon or risk no distribution at all if no other indie studios pick it up? That's worrisome to me, in that it could drive down the selling price of these movies.
Originally Posted by The Bus View Post
Discovery in both platforms is terrible.
So it turns out that an increasing number of producers and makers of independent and foreign films are feeling the same way, a number that will undoubtedly grow. Interesting interview in Variety yesterday with Eurimage's executive director Roberto Olla in which he echoes virtually everything we've discussed and/or predicted in this thread:

http://variety.com/2017/digital/fest...lm-1202513447/

Eurimages Chief Roberto Olla on How a Netflix Acquisition Can Be ‘Kiss of Death’ for a European Art Film (EXCLUSIVE)

Roberto Olla, executive director of the Council of Europe’s Eurimages co-production fund, is concerned that as Netflix starts acquiring Eurimages-supported European art films, the type of global deals the streaming giant is doing can force these films to largely bypass theatrical and festival circuits, which are an integral part of Eurimages’ raison d’être. He spoke to Variety during the Locarno Film Festival’s StepIn Initiative, the prime European forum where the disruptive effect of global streaming platforms on the indie film industry is being discussed.

How is Netflix impacting what Eurimages does?

What we are seeing at Eurimages — and I think everyone is seeing this — is that producers are increasingly finding themselves in a bind. Let me describe it with the following scenario: They’ve had their project co-financed; the film has been released theatrically in the territory of the majority co-producer but is struggling to get released in the minority co-producer’s territory and elsewhere. The world sales agent is looking for buyers. Then Netflix comes along and says: ‘I will give you 300,000 Euros [$355,000] for global rights, except for its main country, where it’s been released. But the film can’t go to more than five festivals. What does the poor producer do? He comes to me and says: ‘Roberto, this is an art movie. What else can I do?’

So what position does that put you in?

I’m faced with having to choose between saying ‘no’ based on the principle that the film has to circulate freely in movie theatres and especially festivals, which is one of Eurimage’s goals. But that puts the producer in a bad spot because he or she may not be able to sell the movie anywhere else. Also, if I accept these Draconian conditions I can also get some money back for Eurimages. But the movie will end up in the bottomless Netflix well, with zero visibility. A few cinephiles will find it there, many others won’t even know it’s there.

Tough choice….

Either I stick to the guiding principles under which Eurimages finances auteur movies which without us would be difficult to produce — and we do it with the goal of giving them visibility. Or I accept their diktat, which nobody goes against, because everyone is happy to get the 300,000 Euros — not for all movies, of course — which are also the project’s kiss of death. Netflix’s saying ‘no more than five festivals’ is a bit like gagging the film. I realise that, since the main audiences for art movies are at festivals, Netflix wants those eyeballs to see it on their platform instead. It’s a Catch 22. But those movies can sometimes go to as many as 40, 50, 70 festivals. I don’t blame the producer, who is already thinking about financing his next movie. If I were a producer, I would do the same thing.

Does Eurimages have specific rules about movies they support having to play in movie theatres and go to as many festivals as possible?

Yes, the general rule is that the movies we support have to play in movie theatres. But there is a proviso that Eurimages can accept other types of distribution outlets outside the film’s country of origin. That’s a necessary escape clause due to the current theatrical distribution woes art movies face. We can veto it, but it’s not in our spirit. Our spirit is the movies should be released at least in their co-producing countries and then have an extended festival life. But we all know that this does not always happen so we are authorised to make exceptions.

Will Eurimages put their foot down and tighten the rules?

Not for the moment, because if we did that it would add to the producers’ burdens but would not change the modus operandi of Netflix and other VOD players. It would just put producers between a rock and a hard place, which does not make sense. Eurimages is a small fund compared to the impact that Netflix has on the market. But this should make us think about Netflix’s role in the production cycle. If Netflix invested in European arthouse movies at script stage they would probably be more interested in getting a return on their investment instead of relegating these movies to the depths of their bottomless library.

Can you give me an example of movies financed by Eurimages where this scenario occurred?

I know Match Factory chief Michael Weber has talked abut Felix van Groeningen’s “Belgica,” which they sold to Netflix. Van Groeningen’s previous film “The Broken Circle Breakdown” was a success on the festival circuit and also circulated theatrically. Match Factory accepted the Netflix deal for “Belgica” and Weber has lamented that this hotly anticipated film did not get much visibility.

How many Eurimages-supported films to you think have ended up in a Netflix black hole?

That’s a tough question: To tell you the truth, I don’t know. But I would say probably a dozen.

What else can be done to try and come to terms with this problem?

I’ve never talked to Netflix but I don’t think they realise that, especially with their festivals policy, they are limiting the visibility of an art movie made by an obscure director. Reviews and word-of-mouth are key in this process. The European film industry has to have a dialogue with Netflix so that they understand that for art films going to as many festivals as possible is beneficial to everyone.

I looked up Felix van Groeningen's Belgica, which is mentioned in this article, at IMDB (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt3544218/) and it seems pretty clear by the ratio of reviews there that being acquired by Netflix essentially killed it: "critic" reviews: 54 (many of whom undoubtedly saw it at festivals; others during it's domestic theatrical release); user reviews: 4. And it's not the first title I've stumbled across there with such a ratio. I'm sure it's a movie with a limited audience outside of Belgium or Europe, but it sounds like something I'd watch at least once, especially after reading some generally positive professional reviews, but since I don't have Netflix, and they don't promote it anyway, well . . .

Last edited by Brian T; 08-04-17 at 01:49 PM.
Brian T is offline  

Thread Tools
Search this Thread

Archive Advertising Cookie Policy Privacy Statement Terms of Service

Copyright © 2018 MH Sub I, LLC dba Internet Brands. All rights reserved. Use of this site indicates your consent to the Terms of Use.