YouTube viewers can see Wang for five more weeks

princess-nebraskaNormally, I wouldn’t be posting an article about a non-theatrical release, but this one based on a story from Variety deserves a look, and it’s not just because of the director’s last name.

Director Wayne Wang (The Joy Luck Club, Maid in Manhattan) has a film called The Princess of Nebraska which made its limited U.S. debut this past weekend, but it didn’t make a single dime in a movie theater. Instead, Magnolia Pictures released the entire film onto YouTube (content locked to non-U.S. users) in return for a share of the ad revenue. According to the article, by Monday morning, it had 160,000 views, and as of right now, 191,000 people have seen the movie. This marks the first time a major film has been premiered on the Internet without the accompaniment of DVD sales.

Nebraska is the tale of a Chinese exchange student (played by Ling Li) who gets pregnant during her stay in the U.S. and her quest to seek an abortion in San Francisco. The narrative is interspersed with mini-films made by Li’s character on her cell phone, probably a first for film as well (smallest moving image camera to record scenes for a major motion picture release).

My esteemed colleague has made points for both sides of the theatrical release versus home video release argument before, but I’m going to go beyond him and say that with more and more people eschewing those “traditional” forms of movie enjoyment for the Internet and all its pirated and/or free high quality content, we could have the start of a theatrical film revolution as well as a legitimate reason to feel empathic towards the SAG and AFTRA actors who are hoping to get a larger slice of the “new media” pie.

Posted on October 24, 2008 at 06:04 by Trisha Lynn · Permalink
In: News