Normally, movies are first released to the masses via theaters, and no, this does not include the straight-to-DVD fare, either. This is especially true if the movie in question has any amount of buzz to it, something director/actor/writer Kevin Smith is accustomed to.
All of Smith's previous movies, save, perhaps his initial hit, Clerks, have been released to the theaters first, as is the standard Hollywood way. Now, however, thanks to the increasing quality of streaming video, releasing a first run title to the video-streaming audience first is a growing trend. Initially, the video on demand avenue has been reserved for foreign films that have built up some buzz in the United States. This includes movies like 13 Assassins, [REC] 2, and Monsters, to name a few.
Now, you can add Kevin Smith and his Red State movie to this list. Smith is, at least in terms of United States audiences, one of the most well-known, or at least infamous, movie makers to go the video on demand route. Red State is Smith's first foray into the horror genre--unless you consider Cop Out to be a horror movie--and the during the film's creation and subsequent rounds at various film festivals, Red State had to deal with some distribution issues.
As a result, Smith decided to self-distribute the movie, relying on word of mouth and the viral power of the web to help promote his latest film.
Part of this promotion includes the video on demand route, as Red State's VOD release was announced on the Red Statements blog. With that in mind, Red State is now available to U.S. audiences on sites like YouTube, iTunes, and Amazon.
Red State is also available for your Android device as well.
To get access to Smith's latest movie, would-be video on demand renters must pay $9.99, for which you are allowed access to the film for 48 hours. While the film has already had a limited engagement theatrical run--mainly to kick-start the word of mouth movement--the VOD release is considered a pre-theatrical release, something Amazon indicates, even in the title's URL:
Because the film was released to the VOD world today (September 1st), it has enjoyed something of a Twitter trend. By and large, the buzz appears to be good. Meanwhile, Smith also went on Twitter to notify the masses and answer a few questions about the non-standard release.
As indicated, reaction to Smith's newest movie has been largely positive, although, not all of it.
@ThatKevinSmith Just watched Red State. Speechless man! Take my money for the bluray - Best of the year!
That tweet was made after a theatrical screening.
RED STATE is worse than TRANSFORMERS 1, 2 & 3. Let that soak in.
And then there's this very astute nugget:
Say what you will about Kevin Smith, but the sheer amount of venues through which one can VOD Red State starting today is a coup!
Considering Smith's already-solid popularity and the fact that a lot of people are talking about it right now, don't be surprised if Red State sets some kind of VOD record. If you're unsure about whether or not to join in on the fun, start with the trailer first:
Can you foresee a day when VOD is the release method of choice? Will VOD replace the all-too-expensive theater experience anytime soon? Let us know what you think.