Random Factoid #455

26 10 2010

Purgatory – it’s real.  At least for movies.

It’s an industry term that got some press over the weekend from The Los Angeles Times, and apparently it has been somewhat of a secret.  Did you wonder why Bradley Cooper and Renee Zellweger look so young in “Case 39?”  (The real question is did anyone actually see “Case 39?”)  Here’s an explanation for why that may be:

“‘Case 39’ was stuck in a little discussed corner of the industry: movie purgatory, where films with marketable stars — not just Cooper but Matt Damon, John Cusack, Eddie Murphy and Mel Gibson — can linger for months, even years, trapped by marketing disagreements, creative clashes, executive shuffles, money shortfalls or the judgment that they are such surefire flops that it makes no sense to throw good money after bad and distribute them.”

The alternative to movie purgatory is, of course, direct-to-DVD release.  I won’t watch a direct-to-DVD movie on principle, simply because if it’s not good enough to hit theaters, it’s not worth watching.  However, “Slumdog Millionaire” was stuck in movie purgatory for a time, so we can’t say that all movies that are in such limbo are bad.  But as far as I’m concerned, movie purgatory as a whole lot better than a straight-to-DVD release.



2 responses

29 10 2010

Peacock was released straight-to-DVD, and it was pretty damn good.

The predecessor to purgatory is development hell. When all of the above is added to a pile of casting negotiations, financing, filming permits, and getting the damn script done.

31 10 2010

I remember The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford took forever to finally come out. Although it did technically get released in theaters, it was a very limited release and has made twice as much money from DVD sales as it did from the theaters.

Straight-to-DVDs aren’t always bad. It’s just a matter of a film finding a company willing to shell out the money for distribution.

“Toy Story 2” was initially planned to be straight-to-dvd, even after production was done. It wasn’t until it tested extremely well did it get sent to theaters. The fact that one of the greatest sequels of all-time was oh-so close to being straight-to-DVDs, combined with working at Blockbuster, has made me appreciate these movies more.

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