“We’re starting over. It’s not just about making the movie, it’s about releasing the movie. True independence is not about handing your work over to some jackass,” Kevin Smith proclaimed to a room full of distributors last year at the Sundance Film Festival, following the contentious premiere of "Red State." With grand plans to do it on his own and damn the man, Smith relented on his grandiose talk of shaking up the system when later in the same year, he inked a deal with those jackasses at Lionsgate to handle digital distribution of the film. And it looks like the filmmaker, who has already said he'll accept studio money to make his hockey epic "Hit Somebody," is done forging his own path and is handing the reins to somebody else.
The filmmaker behind the SModcast Pictures shingle has signed a distribution deal with Phase 4 Films, who will take his roadshow experience and use it a business model. With the deal said to encompass up to twelve movies a years (that's pretty ambitious), with a plan to do at least a four or five city roadshow with each movie. The premise here being that people will fork out road show prices on a consistent basis, with Smith himself conducting Q&As with the filmmakers and more. Yes, the dude has a massive fanbase but we'd suspect even they'd get an overload of Smith at some point. Either that, or we're seriously undervaluing his brand power.
Anyway, it still remains to be seen what kind of movies will be unveiled from this new venture. The idea of Smith turning from filmmaker to acquisitions guy is intriguing/frightening and the model is certainly one that live or die on getting people out to pay premium prices to see an independent movie. Interesting times ahead, indeed. [Deadline]