Thursday, August 17, 2006

What ever happened to that Clerks 2 commentary?

Earlier this summer, we reported on the radio about Kevin Smith's brilliant idea to release a large MP3 on iTunes of his director's commentary to coincide with the film's release. The plan was for fans to download the commentary, upload it to their iPods or other MP3 playing devices, and listen along while watching the film in theaters. Not only was this a very cool bone to throw to all of us movie geeks, but from a marketing standpoint, it was genius. Think about it, after seeing the movie once without the commentary, hardcore Kevin Smith fans (for which there are many) would be inclined to pay and see the movie again so they could watch it while Smith blasted jokes and anecdotes through their earbuds.

Well, the movie came out nearly a month ago, and the commentary track was never released. I had thought it might come out later during the theatrical run, only to forget about it altogether. Fortunately the folks at JoBlo.com set the record straight.

No one at View Askew, iTunes, or the Weinstein Company had a problem with the planned commentary release. However, many theater owners (besides the AMC chain) expressed concerns that movie goers who didn't download the commentary would be distracted by those using electronic devices or laughing during a quiet scene because of a joke on the commentary. And so, this great idea that would have made movies a little more enjoyable for some was ultimately nixed.

This makes no sense to me. Theater owners have been scrambling and scrambling to get the audiences they are losing to home video. Mike Compton made an interesting point this morning that movie fans are simply leaving the theater, which is more of a social setting, in lieu of home theater because it is a more referential place to enjoy one's films. The purpose of the iPod commentary was to bring the reverence of DVD, HDVD, BlueRay, etc. and put it in theaters. It would have also created repeat business from many fans and resulted in no less an $1 million in added box office revenues. The movie has currently grossed $22,303,202 to date, and I seriously doubt that much of that came from people who were not already fans of Kevin Smith (a few Rosario Dawson lovers might have seeped in, but that's it).

While the rise of crystal clear 3D projection seems promising, it is becoming clear to me that there are many in the theatrical distribution world who simply do not want to make money.

What do you think?

7 Comments:

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