Bach To The Future
Friday August 16 marked another momentous occasion as Lionsgate, along with partner Icon, launched Bachelorette on the same day in cinemas and across a wide variety of video on demand and download to own channels.
It was what the duo claim to be the widest and biggest day and date digital and theatrical release thus far.
And for Lionsgate and Icon it represented not so much dipping their toes in the water as diving into the pool gleefully.
Some might argue there have already been equally important simultaneous vod and theatrical bows; Revolver was the first to do it, while Artificial Eye has a credible case for claiming A Late Quartet, which took £500,000 on its release as well as coming out via home distribution channels such as its own Curzon Home Cinema operation, was equally if not bigger. It was certainly a successful platform, but while some may say Lionsgate and Icon’s claim is bold, there’s no doubting either its intentions or its boldness.
Bachelorette certainly stakes its claim for being the most commercial film released this way, as well as the most mainstream.
As Lionsgate’s Nicola Pearcey says: “Bachelorette is the first multiplatform release of this size and scale for Icon Distribution and Lionsgate, and we’ve never had such a short window for a major release. It’s very exciting to be able to offer the film to our consumers in a way which is so accessible and flexible to their preferences – in cinemas, or in the comfort of their own homes.”
The film boasts some big, commercial names involved in the proceedings: Kirsten Dunst, Isla Fisher and Rebel Wilson. And few need reminding about the commercial success of Bridesmaids, the closest comparable with this tale of a bride heading off for a hen party blowout in New York City.
It comes weighted with some strong reviews. The New York Times said: “These ‘viciously funny’ bridesmaids have got bite – and this hilarious, sharp comedy will have you roaring!” Reveal magazine furthered those Bridesmaids comparisons: “It walks all over Bridesmaids! The feistiest, funniest female comedy ever!”
As Lionsgate’s Pearcey says: “Not only did Bachelorette perform well in the US, but it has also received great reviews thus far in the UK. As an outrageously funny female targeted film, we believe it has the opportunity to perform very well in the digital space across EST and premium VOD alongside the theatrical release.
It’s the genre and nature of the film that led Icon and Lionsgate to their decision to release the film simultaneously.
“We have found that Female genre films – and particularly rom-com titles – perform really well on vod and est,” says Pearcey. “This release strategy delivers optimal revenue opportunity – and allows us to simultaneously combine marketing expenditure between both theatrical and digital P and Ls. This way, we can afford a broader campaign with messaging that applies to both cinema-goers and those who see this as a girls’ night in proposition.”
There are plenty of opportunities for those having a girls’ night in to watch the film, with an impressive line of partners, taking in Sky Store, Virgin Movies, Xbox Video, Film Four, BT Vision, Google Play, Vdio, HTC Watch, Blinkbox, Knowhow Movies, Sainsbury’s Entertainment, Dominos, Everything Everywhere (EE) and PlayStation Store to name but a few.
“The digital partners are extremely excited about the release strategy and we are very excited to have all of them on board for the launch,” says Pearcey. “We have worked very closely with our partners to ensure the film is setup for release both operationally and also with a sizeable marketing campaign planned. The marketing reflects In Cinema and Digital messaging in all circumstances.”
Lionsgate is keen to stress that the physical home entertainment release is not being forgotten. It has already mentioned the shortened window in its opening gambit (see above) and home entertainment md Nicola Pearcey again hammers home its importance and the fact it has got a far shorter gap between the theatrical to physical release than normal: “The DVD and Blu-ray is of equal importance and we have selected a date to optimise sales through the Q4 period, while benefiting from shortened window between the theatrical/digital release and the DVD/BD release. The DVD/BD release date will fall on October 5, five weeks after the day and date release.”
Obviously, the industry is keenly observing this release and you can guess that both Lionsgate and Icon as well as their contemporaries will be looking at the next step in this shift in release strategies for forthcoming titles.
So where next for Lionsgate then? “We have seen great performances from titles with similar release strategies in the US,” concludes Nicola Pearcey, “and hope that this will prove an effective release pattern for future releases.”
In the meantime, you can watch the trailer here:
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