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in Filmmaking
on Dec 2, 2006

Gotham Tribute recipients Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban (the latter a no-show at the Gothams the other night) may have created the most buzz in the blogosphere with their multi-platform release of Soderbergh’s Bubble, but another company with equally deep pockets is conducting a window-busting experiment this weekend. Clickstar, a joint venture between chip-maker Intel and actor Morgan Freeman’s Revelations Entertainment, has partnered with THINKfilm to release Brad Silberling’s 10 Items or Less in theaters; in two weeks, on December 15, the movie will be available for digital download.

Over at the Cinematech blog, Scott Kirsner tells you what to watch for to gauge the program’s success :

1. First, the reviews. So far, they ain’t bad.

2. Second, the per-screen averages. 10 Items won’t be a box office champ this weekend, but it’ll be interesting to see how full those Landmark auditoriums are.

3. Whether Morgan Freeman or Paz Vega do much promotion for the movie (i.e., talk shows), and when they do, whether they mention the Internet availability or not. (So far, the newspaper ads I’ve seen don’t mention it.)

4. Whether ClickStar, the new company that will be handling the digital download, starts getting more buzz in the next two weeks. The site still seems unbuilt, and I think to cultivate the support of the blogosphere, it’d be a smart idea to put up lots of free content on the site — an extended five or ten-minute segment of the film, some behind-the-scenes footage, an interview with one of the stars — that bloggers can either link to or embed in their sites.

And here’s Freeman in an L.A. Times piece by John Horn on the venture:

Freeman doesn’t expect ClickStar to replace the multiplex, which he says isn’t going anywhere — “it’s like church,” he says. Still, he adds, smaller, more personal movies such as 10 Items or Less are increasingly difficult to get made and, more important, seen. Even if these labors of love somehow get a theatrical release, Freeman says, “a lot of movies this size don’t stay around in theaters very long.”

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