Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Summit Entertainment Rant: The Brothers Bloom DVD Delay

First things first. I quite enjoyed...no, loved "The Brothers Bloom" this summer. I thought that it was criminally under-released and unviewed by the majority of the public, but I thought that the fault of that was the distributor to a large extent. And they are screwing over the movie for a second time with the DVD/Blu-Ray release. Now we come to the rub, Summit Entertainment. Otherwise known as the studio that can't make money unless it involves soap opera-ish, oversexed, whiny vampires. I understand the Twilight saga and why Summit clutches it closely like the cash cow that it is. I especially understand this since it is the only group of movies that is making the company any money at all. This is because nearly all of the other films in their repertoire are complete and utter crap: Knowing, one of the lowest reviewed movies of the year; Push, kind of a fun superhero film, but highly derivative and ultimately a bomb; Band Slam, seriously, do I even need to comment; Sorority Row, another slasher film, also a bomb and poorly reviewed; the list goes on. As you can see from the list, all of these films came out in wide release and then were slammed by the critics, public, and box office alike.

This is not to say that Summit only releases crap and Twilight. The two other films that they released this summer were "The Brothers Bloom" and "The Hurt Locker". "The Hurt Locker" has been recieving rave reviews for months before it came out, and is one of the most highly rated films of this entire year. Was it put into wide release where it could be successful? No. Was there even a strong marketing campaign for it? No. Having seen the film, there was absolutely no reason why the film would not have succeeded with a mainstream audience in wide release, yet for reasons only known to the movie gods, Summit decided to keep the film as a limited release only. Nearly the exact same thing happened to "The Brothers Bloom". First the film got delayed 6 months, then it was nearly uncermoniously dumped into an extremely limited release. Now, the film wasn't as highly praised as "The Hurt Locker", but recieved astronomically higher praise than the debacles listed above. Yet despite all of this, Summit leaves their two most highly praised films to wallow and starve, while releasing utter drivel for the masses to tear apart and then not see. What the hell?!?!?

For some reason, they only seem to substantially give any marketing and wide release strategies to their utterly worthless films...and Twilight, which is better than most of their crap, but still not fantastic. Now, normally I wouldn't even write this post as this is often the case with limited release films, but Summit didn't stop there...oh no, they decided to make history with the film. And the history that they decided to make was to release the film on DVD and Blu-Ray at the end of September '09 as a rental release ONLY! Well, technically they will still release it to own, but not until sometime in 2010. The rational of Summit Entertainment is that they are considering this as an extension of the theatrical campaign to build up buzz for the movie for its "real" retail release! Once again, "What the hell?!?!?" Studio exec Steve Nickerson states that using the rental channel will increase awareness of "The Brothers Bloom". "You need to look at ways to differentiate yourself with the consumer, and with the different channels," says Nickerson. He also is making it nearly impossible for any of the people who liked the film to get a copy. “We will work closely with the distributors that sell to the rental channel to make sure it’s for rental only,” Nickerson said.

My one question is this; what were they smoking, and where can I get some? Because this strategy makes no financial sense at all. First off Nickerson, yes, having the movie in video rental stores will increase awareness of the film, but why, oh why are you then limiting your profits by preventing the very fans that you are creating from giving YOU their money to buy the film. There is absolutely no reason why you couldn't have a small production of DVDs and Blu-Ray for retail, and then gradually increase that production to meet demand once the rental channels create more buzz for the film.

This move by Summit has royally pissed me off. The very fans who tried to get the movie support and wider release are now being punished by not being allowed to have their own copy of the film for the next several months (Summit hasn't even released the date at which the film will finally be available for retail in 2010). The studio hides their excellent films, displays their inane drivel for the world, then punishes the people who like the films that have merit. This is absolutely NO way to run a movie studio. To finish off this post, do not let Summit keep you from checking out two of the best films of this summer (certainly the only two good ones from Summit). "The Hurt Locker" and "The Brothers Bloom" are absolutely worth your time and are each fantastic films. If absence makes the heart grow fonder, then I'm going to be in a near frenzy of love for Bloom when it finally comes back into my waiting arms.

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