Veronica Mars is scheduled for release later this week both online and in theatres, and the film could forever change how studio executives and producers fund, distribute and release their films.
Might we be at an historic crossroads whereby the Dual-Distribution Movie method proves that the old studio-centric model of theatrical first is dead and gone? Might this be the movie industry's iPod moment when the music business was turned upside-down?
Here's the lowdown on Veronica Mars movie:
- Show creator and now movie producer/director, Rob Thomas, asked fans to contribute money via Kickstarter to produce the film, Veronica Mars.
- The Kickstarter crowdfund raised over $5.7 million from over 91,000 contributors.
- The tv series on which the film is based, went off the air about seven years ago.
- Kristen Bell, star of Showtime's House of Lies, is the lead in Veronica Mars.
- Warner Bros.'s Time Warner (TWX - Get Report)is distributing the film.
- Veronica Mars premiered at SXSW on March 8.
- Warner Bros. rented screens from AMC Entertainment (AMCX - Get Report) so they could carry out the dual release -- releasing the film in both theatres and on demand via Amazon and iTunes on the release date.
- In renting out the AMC screens, Warner Bros. will take in all the box office sales, replacing the usual way of theatres and studios splitting revenues from movie ticket sales.
- Movie theatres commonly have a 90-day or 3-month release window to stay clear of on-demand release of the same film so as not to take away from the theatre's revenues.
- Veronica Mars is set to release on March 14, 2014 in approximately 270 AMC theatres across the U.S. and a handful of independent theatres.
It used to be an absolute rule not releasing a movie for at-home-viewing - certainly not ever the same day --- but atleast 90 days after it showed in theatres. That has changed though, because of modern practices such as crowdfunding, social media use, Indy movie increased appreciation, and consumer demand to choose what they view, so that Veronica Mars and other movies are pushing that boundary further and further. If Veronica Mars doesn't break the dam, meaning change the way movies are distributed, some future movie likely will.What stocks are potential winners if Veronica Mars does really well? AMC Entertainment (AMCX - Get Report), Time Warner's (TWX - Get Report) namesake studio, Amazon (AMZN), Apple's (AAPL) iTunes. What companies will be watching with binoculars from the sidelines to see how Veronica Mars does?
- AMC's major competitors, such as Regal Entertainment (RGC), Cinemark Theatres (CNK), Carmike Cinemas, CKEC Cineplex.
- Warner Bros. competitors, such as Universal Pictures, a unit of Comcast (CMCSA), Sony/Columbia Pictures (SNE), Paramount, a unit of Viacom (VIA), Buena Vista, part of Disney, (DIS), 20th Century Fox (FOXA), Lionsgate (LGF).
- Amazon's and iTune's streaming video competitor Netflix (NFLX).
Disclaimer: I do not currently own a position in any of the stocks listed in this blog. I may enter into a position in Time Warner within the next 72 hours but do not know at this time what that position will be.