David Cross’ Sundance 2014 premiere “Hits” will be released on February 13, 2015 as a pay-what-you-want BitTorrent Bundle, BitTorrent announced. Cross is still hoping for a theatrical release and has turned to Kickstarter to fund it. He is aiming to raise $100,000 towards self-distribution expenses.
Audiences will be able set their own pricing in theaters at pay-what-you-want screenings in theatrical markets throughout the U.S. and Canada and on VHX. This will coincide with a traditional theatrical release in New York and Los Angeles and on iTunes, Google Play, Vimeo and other platforms, according to Honora, which produced the film in association with Brooks Media.
“For me this is all about offering as many fans as possible the opportunity to see this film,” said Cross in a statement. “What we would do with the money we raise here is go out to a number of different cities, rent and pay for a theater, the staffing, marketing, and then fans can pay what they want to see the film. The more money we raise, the more cities we can go to.”
On the film’s Kickstarter page, Cross further explained:
“We went to Sundance and while we received offers from some great distributors, their plans with the film were a little lackluster… so we decided to release it ourselves in an unusual way, as an experiment! We’re launching it nationally in theaters and on BitTorrent as a Pay What You Want release! It will be on iTunes and other platforms but they will be more traditionally priced.
We want you to decide how much tickets cost and you pay artists directly, not distributors or studios. This is an experiment, a first of its kind to see if we can make it more sustainable for both fans, and filmmakers. In order to do this in theaters as widely as possible we need your help to raise $100K. We are distributing ourselves and there are costs associated with making all of this happen. In addition to theater rental fees, we need to cover our marketing and publicity efforts. We ideally want to be in 50 markets, but the more money we raise the more theaters we can be in, so if we go over $100k, we’ll just expand our plans, which would be great!”
Starring Meredith Hagner, Matt Walsh, Amy Sedaris, Michael Cera, Jason Ritter among others, the dark comedy explores the nature of fame in 21st Century America. The film received largely negative reviews out of Sundance, with Indiewire‘s critic calling it “a savage film of pungent humor forecasting a grim trajectory for the state of fame-addled American society.”
Since 2011, BitTorrent has collaborated with artists, inventors, studios, labels and distributors to build the new publishing platform. Partially to change its piracy-tinged reputation and also to demonstrate the possibilities of the BitTorrent protocol for content creators and publishers, BitTorrent has recently partnered with high-profile filmmakers and distributors of documentaries “The Act of Killing” and “The Crash Reel” on BitTorrent bundles. In both cases, the bundles provide background information on the film projects along with exclusive material (interviews, videos, photographs, etc.).