England Expects

Friday, May 10 2013
England Expects

The phrase game-changer is bandied an awful lot around our business, particularly when it comes to feature film releases. It’s got to a stage where we at The Raygun will no longer use it to describe any release that way, just to avoid the continued over-egging of the pudding. A game-changer, we noted a while back, is something you use when you want to eject whatever you’re playing on your PS3 and stick something else on instead.

And yet… when we read a senior film executive describing the groundbreaking release strategy for the forthcoming Ben Wheatley film A Field In England as “game-changing” we found ourselves nodding our heads in agreement.

With many people still playing around with windows – and yet being ultra-sensitive at the same time – this is the boldest move ever in terms of shrinking the windows between different types of release. Whereas others are tiptoeing around the subject – recent and forthcoming releases boasting different strategies are spoken about in whispers – 4DVD and its partners in the release, Film4, the Film4 Channel and Picturehouse Entertainment, have confidently come out with their plans. It’s the first film from Film4’s new Film4.0 arm, which perhaps offers the opportunity to think imaginatively when it comes to how it brings titles to market.

July 5 will see the eagerly-awaited film (not least by us at The Raygun) coming out across pretty much every different platform at the same time. The simultaneous release will take in 4DVD’s DVD and Blu-ray, nationwide theatrical, free TV and video on demand.

Each format will offer different benefits to the consumer. The physical home entertainment release will come complete with a raft of extras, the theatrical on the day will have a Q&A with Wheatley beamed in to cinemas via satellite, the Film4 channel version will have an introduction from the director, whose previous outings have included the likes of Down Terrace, Kill List and Sightseers, a hugely impressive track record. And of course the vod version gives the viewers freedom to watch whenever and however they want.

The assorted partners will be joining forces to market the title, with the opportunity for solus activity – 4DVD will have its own solus print and online campaign.

4DVD’s Lucy Bulmer says: “We are so excited about A Field in England. It’s unlike any other release of its time, and it’s definitely causing a stir in the industry so it’s amazing to be a part of it. Ben Wheatley has been hotly tipped as one of the UK most innovative directors and A Field in England will not disappoint his fans! The DVD and Blu-ray will be packed with exclusive extras including Behind the Scenes an interview with Ben Wheatley and lots more.”

Ben Wheatley adds: “It’s great to team up with Film4 to make this film and to work with new partners such as Picturehouse and 4DVD. We have tried to innovate with this film, in production and distribution. I’m very proud of the results and look forward to sharing the film with the audience.”

Over at Film4.0, commissioning editor Anna Higgs says: “From the word go, A Field in England was a hugely original idea – you’d expect no less from Ben and Amy – so we wanted to build the project with the team in a way that was true to that. The film is a really exciting next step in the progression of Ben’s work as a director and will be something the likes of which a whole generation of audiences won’t have ever seen. I’m incredibly pleased we’ve formed this innovative partnership to take this brilliant film out to them in a truly ground-breaking way.”

Film4’s Head of Commercial and Brand Strategy, Sue Bruce-Smith, adds: “Ben is undoubtedly one of our boldest, brightest and most audience savvy filmmakers and so it made complete sense to look to develop a project with him that would lend itself to this kind of daring and innovative release. We’re lucky to have found in Picturehouse Entertainment, 4DVD, the Film4 channel and BFI partners who share our vision to disrupt the status quo and experiment with new distribution patterns, to create this exciting event style release.”

“We’re proud to have an intimate understanding of our audience, as are Film4, which is what makes this collaboration so exciting,” concludes Clare Binns, director of programming and acquisitions at Picturehouse. “Our eagerness to explore and experiment with new platforms of distribution in an evolving film landscape makes us all the more thrilled to be able to get this innovative film out there to the audience it so readily deserves. Ben Wheatley is a genuinely unique British talent and we could not be happier to be working with him on this film.”

More on this in the weeks to come, including, in a week or so, a first look at the trailer for the film…

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