Lionsgate Digital Distribution announced the Pre DVD sneak of three-time Academy Awards® nominated ALBERT NOBBS on demand. The film stars Oscar® nominees Glenn Close and Janet McTeer. The sneak peek is available now, a month ahead of the film’s debut on Blu-ray Disc, DVD and Digital Download on May 15th.
On Demand Weekly discussed this VOD strategy for ALBERT NOBBS and past Lionsgate films (including RED STATE, EVERYTHING MUST GO and MARGIN CALL) with Thomas Hughes, SVP, Worldwide Digital Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution.
On Demand Weekly (ODW): Why did Lionsgate sneak peek ALBERT NOBBS on demand?
Thomas Hughes (TH): ALBERT NOBBS is a great movie that in limited release theatrically (in just 75 markets) got notoriety from award nominations. This got the attention of our cable / satellite partners. Because of the early window, our partners are willing to promote it in unique ways and give it premium placement.
Thomas Hughes, SVP, Worldwide Digital Worldwide Television & Digital Distribution
ODW: Has Lionsgate sneaked movies on demand before?
TH: We did with ABDUCTION with Taylor Lautner early on December 22, 2011, before the holidays, in a limited release window until January 4, 2012. The DVD did not come out until January 17, 2012.
ABDUCTION (courtesy of Lionsgate)
It was a huge success. We saw an incremental lift over a similar genre movie.
Movies Lionsgate has sneaked before a particular window:
RED STATE: Kevin Smith (Pre Theatrical)
MARGIN CALL: Kevin Spacey, Zacahary Quinto (Day & Date)
EVERYTHING MUST GO: Will Ferrell (Pre DVD)
TRESPASS: Nicholas Cage, Nicole Kidman (Day & Date)
ABDUCTION: Taylor Lautner (Pre DVD)
ALBERT NOBBS: Glenn Close (Pre DVD)
MARGIN CALL (courtesy of Lionsgate)
ODW: How does Lionsgate decide what movies will do well on demand?
TH: It's a little bit of the Wild Wild West. We are willing to experiment. Lionsgate's entrepreneurial spirit allows us to experiment where others may not be able to.
ODW: Does Lionsgate make extras and behind the scenes available on demand as they do on DVD?
TH: In some cases we do. It's not always ready when we go out early and if the platform can take. Not every platform can. The digital partners seem to be well positioned. Everybody is familiar with iTunes extras.
I think you are going to see a movement
where everybody will want to be positioned to offer extras.
ODW: When is the release strategy of a movie determined, before or after production?
TH: At this time, it is directly after production. And some of these films are acquired. There is a check list a distributor has to have to create the best opportunity for success for our films to go out early that I can't reveal. It's a bit of secret sauce.
ODW Is there any truth to VOD titles doing better based on where their title is alphabetically and how might this pertain to movies like ABDUCTION and ALBERT NOBBS?
TH: You're right. Statistically films higher in the alphabet tend to due better than films on the bottom. It's complete luck of the draw ABDUCTION and ALBERT NOBBS begin with the letter "A." If it were up to us, we'd have every film begin with an "A," (laughter). Fortunately or unfortunately, filmmakers don't agree and they like their films to be named on their merit.
ODW: Has a title ever been renamed?
TH: Not by Lionsgate.
ODW: There was a lot of turmoil from theaters over the announcement by Comcast & Universal to release TOWER HEIST a few weeks after its theatrical premiere in 2011. This was around the same time MARGIN CALL was releasesed Day & Date in Theaters and On Demand. Has Lionsgate received any heat from distributors with your on demand strategy?
TH: Not to my knowledge.
ODW: What about ALBERT NOBBS makes it a good fit for the movie on demand fan?
ALBERT NOBBS (courtesy of Lionsgate)
TH: Glenn Close and Janet McTeer in Oscar® nominated roles. It's a film that deserves its audience. It makes us feel good when we can take a film in limited release with this level of performance and we can breathe new life into it with our (on demand) partners.
Look for the upcoming Lionsgate Movies On Demand:
ONE FOR THE MONEY- 5/15
TYLER PERRY’S GOOD DEEDS- 6/12
Britt is the Editor-in-Chief and Co-founder of On Demand Weekly. He is the former head of Affiliate Marketing and VOD for Sundance Channel. Prior to Sundance Chanel, Britt worked for Miramax Films and BMI. He also on the Advisory Board of the Palo Alto Intl Film Festival.