Attempting a more aggressive form of digital distribution with a well-reviewed, big budget release, distributor Radius-TWC has made action film ‘Snowpiercer’ available for both purchase and rental on digital distribution platforms such as Amazon, iTunes, Google Play and Vudu. Released on a limited basis in the United States on June 27th, the film has earned over $80 million internationally and is averaging above 90 percent on review site Rotten Tomatoes. Detailed by the L.A. Times, the distributor believes that attempting an early digital distribution strategy will increase film buzz and potentially increase the number of exhibitors around the country.
The film stars Captain America’s Chris Evans as well as actress Tilda Swinton in a post-apocalyptic tale about a train that protects the last remnants of human life on the planet from a man-made ice age. While a class system has been set in place on the train, Evans leads a group that’s resistant to the ruling class and attempts to seize control.
Speaking in an interview to the Times, Radius-TWC co-president Tom Quinn said “The motto at Radius is ‘a screen is a screen is a screen.’ We’re screen-agnostic, and as consumer habits change, film audiences today are becoming screen-promiscuous. 85 million-plus consumers will have access to ‘Snowpiercer’ on VOD. The film will be more widely available than every other film on screen this weekend combined. One way or the other, we’re going to find you somewhere.”
Of course, the aggressive digital distribution strategy could also be attributed to the wide availability of the film in high definition format on torrent sites. As with many popular releases that see international distribution before the North American release, high quality digital copies of the film appear on the Internet due to the release schedule of physical discs in other countries. By allowing the movie to be distributed on accessible platforms like iTunes for rental fees as cheap as $6.99, it’s possible that the distributor can win back consumers that simply prefer to watch films in the comfort of their own home theater without having to download the film illegally.