Mel’s new flick Get the Gringo will not be released in movie theaters, according Deadline. Icon Productions made a deal with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment to release the film via satellite television provider DirecTV around May 1st and will be charged $10.99 per home viewing. Later in the year, it will be available on Blu-ray, Video-On-Demand (VOD) and digital download.
Deadline writer Mike Fleming says this is an innovative deal. I say it’s discouraging. First DirecTV took Friday Night Lights (TV series) away from me and now they’re taking Mel!
Fox and DirecTV and Icon will do a national marketing campaign for the movie, which will start with a premiere screening event in Austin hosted by Ain’t It Cool News founder Harry Knowles. Knowles will preside over a post-screening Q&A with Gibson, Grunberg and Kevin Hernandez, who plays the kid in the film. Screenings will be held that night in at least 10 markets, with the post-premiere discussion streamed to those audiences. That will be the only theater penetration in the U.S. for the film. Icon is handling overseas, and some territories, including Australia and Russia, will do a traditional theatrical release.
“Mel has an uncanny ability to predict audience demand for movies distributed through innovative models to the highest levels of success, most notably with The Passion Of The Christ and Apocalypto,” Knowles said in a statement. “Here he once again challenges the status quo by bringing this authentic Peckinpah-ian pulpy tale directly to fans.”
Sources inside Icon said that Gibson sparked to the chance to road-test a new distribution model for domestic, which has a more mature VOD delivery system than offshore at this point. They went exclusively with DirecTV because, aside from its nearly 20 million subscribers, “they are a marketing powerhouse and are one of the most innovative VOD distributors,” said the sources. “We really wanted to lean into this, and they will do a very significant marketing campaign around it. It was a great way to launch this particular movie. A lot of those Sundance films going to VOD might not have a major star or be strong enough commercially to attract a wide audience. When we tested Get The Gringo, it tested 86% in the top two boxes, with all four quadrants.”
Since on-demand is becoming increasingly popular with services like VOD, Hulu, Netflix and EpixHD, perhaps this the new way to go. While Get the Gringo will have plenty of DirecTV customers to appeal to, it’s unfortunate that it leaves the rest of us non-subscribers out of the loop for awhile.
Deadline also got a small update on the Judah Maccabee and Viking films Mel has been working on:
His Icon label is developing an epic period Viking film that Gibson will direct, and which his Braveheart writer Randall Wallace has just turned in a second script draft. And Gibson and Joe Eszterhas are writing for Warner Bros an epic drama about Jewish warrior Judah Maccabee, who teamed with his father and four brothers to lead the Jewish revolt against the Greek-Syrian armies that had conquered Judea in the second century B.C. Gibson will likely direct that film as well, which is also being produced through Icon.
Do you think this is a good idea? Do you think Mel’s recent troubles are a factor in this decision? Are you booking a flight to Austin right now like I am?