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Chris Evans on the VOD Release of ‘Snowpiercer’: ‘I Absolutely Think the Movie Should Be Seen on the Big Screen’

Chris Evans on the VOD Release of 'Snowpiercer': 'I Absolutely Think the Movie Should Be Seen on the Big Screen'

Chris Evans and “Snowpiercer” are a perfect fit. Not only in that the steel-eyed American oozes the ideal blend of rebellious survivor and reluctant leader for Bong Joon-ho’s indie epic, but because the two actually reflect the best parts of one another. “Snowpiercer” is an ambitious indie in need of an talented, title-topping actor to boost its awareness, and Evans is both the man they need and someone who wants to make more movies just like this one.

Evans, who has stated he plans to leave acting behind in favor of directing as soon as he fulfills his Marvel contract, described “Snowpiercer” as a “learning” process. In modern independent filmmaking, that means knowing not only the technical artistry of direction, but the sometimes complicated business strategies of selling your film.

READ MORE: ‘Snowpiercer’ is Coming to VOD Early. Here’s Why.

“You know, I’m just learning about [VOD releases],” Evans told a small room of reporters at the Hard Rock Hotel in San Diego, where he was in town for Comic Con to support a number of films. “I mean, the movie has done phenomenally well, but this is all pretty new to me. Being an actor for ‘x’ number of years, I certainly don’t concern myself with, you know, how things are released or when.”
Perhaps it’s time he did consider release strategies. Evans recently directed “Before We Go,” a $3 million indie starring himself and Alice Eve as a woman who gets lost in New York City after missing her train to Boston. The film will make its world premiere in a few months at the Toronto International Film Festival where Evans will most likely get offers from a number of distribution companies with various plans to optimize the film’s grosses. Some, if not all of those plans will include a form of VOD rollout, and Evans will have to decide what strategy is best for his first feature behind the camera.

Movies aren’t as easy to market when you’re not wearing a superhero costume, and “Snowpiercer” provided Evans a unique insider angle on the movie business and where it’s heading, especially considering the film’s unprecedented VOD release just two weeks after its theatrical premiere. It was a much quicker than average turnaround, and perhaps a precedent-setting move given the film’s financial successes (depending on who you talk to).

“I just directed [for the first time] last year,” Evans said. “There are so many elements of post-production and how a film is handled that I’m still learning. [“Snowpiercer”] seems like this is a pretty pioneering film in how VOD has kind of been accepted in the market. It sounds like this is doing pretty well, but it’s stuff [like this] that make you kind of realize how green you are. I’m learning with everybody else.”

When pressed about his personal preferences regarding watching the film at home or in the theater, the smooth-talking thespian has a clear choice.

“I absolutely think the movie should be seen on the big screen,” Evans said. “But I read something from Radius [TWC, the film’s distributor] that said a screen is a screen is a screen. You know? There’s a couple different ways to interpret that. Personally, I like going to movies. I like buying my ticket and sitting in the theater. And I guess that’s still available. It would be a shame if we lost that opportunity, so hopefully it doesn’t tip the scales too much.”

So far, it’s unclear the impact “Snowpiercer” will have on other indies’ release schedules. Considering the film’s visual style, massive scope, and impressive action, its quick entry into the world of at-home viewing is even more telling than if a dialogue-driven, lower-budget indie had made the same transition. It feels like a movie meant to be seen in theaters, just as Evans prefers.

“But by the same token,” Evans said, “I’ve had a lot of people contact me who’ve seen the movie not in a theater but still had positive things to say. So it’s a gray area in terms of what’s the best way to do this.”

Indeed it is, with various outlets reporting the film as a successful, groundbreaking distribution model and others worrying about what Evans’ mentioned briefly: that the film “tips the scales too much” in favor of at-home viewing when it was an ideal indie to be seen in theaters. If a film like “Snowpiercer” — meaning one with an A-list name attached, plenty of marketable aspects, and thrilling, grand action pieces — is going to head to people’s homes early and profit, why would any other film risk a costly theatrical run? 

It may be some time before we understand the cultural impact of Radius-TWC’s decision. Perhaps by then, Evans will have made a few similar decisions of his own.

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Comments

Anna Petrick

Totally late to the party on this, but I just watched the movie for the first time.
I watched it at home, in my room, on Netflix, in the dark, and I cannot imagine it having the same intimate gut-punching mind-breaking quality if i watched it on a giant screen in a room full of people.
It was an entirely absorbing experience even on a 17 inch screen with bad headphone speakers.

Terry W

I completely agree with Chris E. on this one. "Snowpiercer" has done phenomenally all over the world, box-office-wise and critically. The only reason it wasn’t widely released in cinemas here in the States is because Harvey Weinstein (distributor) lost his little battle to cut the film by 20 minutes and voice-over all the stuff he felt Middle America wasn’t intelligent enough to get it. "Snowpiercer" is every bit as good an action film as other US wide releases, PLUS it has grit and substance to it most US action films don’t. And as has been stated here, straight-to-VOD titles gain a negative connotation, that the film somehow isn’t worth taking that cinema risk. Honestly, Weinstein made a bad marketing move. And I’ll word-of-mouth this film all I can.

jake sil

I was skeptical about snowpiercer because it had not been in theaters. Strait to VOD titles have a negative connotation- think transmorphers. I took a chance because I like Evans and was blown away how good it was. It did change by perception about strait to VOD titles; that said I would love to see it in a big theater.

Magie

Saw "Snowpiercer" it was great. I didn’t expect anything like this from Chris Evans. It was a greatly executed indie with a surprise attached to it. I was lucky enough to see it on big screen in Mongolia months ago when it premiered. Lucky for me Mongolia buys movies from Korea therefore i had this opportunity. From "Celluler" then "Fantastic four" and "Capt America" to see Chris Evans in "Snowpiercer", even after "Puncture" and "London" was a surprise in every good way of the word. Thank you for the good work and not being what everybody expect you to be. In my understanding, this is what makes an actor and actor ;)

Lynn Fall

I wanted to see this so badly on the big screen and waited patiently for the release. The closes theater to me is San Francisco, a two hour drive from my home. At a time when money is very tight I cannot afford to go two hours to a movie no matter how badly I want to see it. My kids gave me a gift card on my birthday and that allowed me to get the film on VOD. I’m grateful just to have been able to get it. I hope someday it will play on a big screen close by, as I would love to experience it that way. Great film, everyone should see it.

Arabrabbra

Im very sad I cant see Snowpiercer in theatres. I save my money for the big budget special effects movies and rent cartoon and rom com type movies on Redbox. Like Edge of Tmw was Amazing on the big screen. I missed Gravity in IMAX and will forever be upset.

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