Cancel Those Tower Heist Beer Parties

Forget Univeral’s plan to offer Tower Heist to VOD customers in Atlanta and Portland on 11.25, or three weeks after its theatrical release date of 11.4.11. Too many exhibitors howled and threatened Armageddon and Universal caved under duress.

From a rough draft of the release: “Universal Pictures today announced that in response to theatere-owners turning purple-faced with fury and completely freaking out and spitting saliva and throwing tantrums and slamming their fists through the plaster walls and threatening to go to the mattresses Luca Brasi and Clemenza-style a request from theatre owners it has decided to delay its planned premium home video on demand (PVOD) experiment.

“Universal continues to believe that the theater experience and a PVOD window are business models that can coincide and thrive and we look forward to working with our partners in exhibition to find a way to experiment in this area in the future.

In response a rough draft from the National Association Of Theater Owners and its CEO John Fithian allegedly says the following: “NATO would like to thank Universal for responding to various theater owners’ concerns and cancelling the PVOD test it was contemplating. They have been engaged with individual exhibitors on this test blah blah, and while it was something that many theater owners could not ultimately support blah blah, the open and collaborative nature of the dialogue is appreciated blah blah screw these bastards. NATO recognizes that those miserable prick studio fucks need to find new models and opportunities in the home market, and looks forward to distributors and exhibitors working together for their mutual benefit.”

16 thoughts on “Cancel Those Tower Heist Beer Parties

  1. JLC on said:

    Translation: “3 weeks and $60 was a little too close for comfort. Next time, we’ll try 4 weeks and $50 and see if they blink.”

  2. Can’t remember who brought this up, but the whole Tower Heist VOD idea was pretty much a riff on what they did with Pirates of Penzance way back in the day, which has forever tainted that theatrical film as some low-rent made for HBO type shit. (Actually, has that movie EVER been heard from again?)

    All this VOD nonsense does is destroy the magic of movies, some big bigscreen movie reduced to some bullshit pay-per-view “event,” like there’s really any crew of random dumb-asses who sit around en masse in someone’s game room WATCHING MOVIES TOGETHER, which is the lamest thing ever.

    On a DZ note, TOWER HEIST is either going to be some massive, HUUUUUGE 4-quadrant week-after-week steamroller mega-smash…. or it’s gonna open to some so-so 20-25m and drop fast, leaving everyone wondering how something so bioengineered to slay at the box office ended up doing just okay.

    I think it’s the former, though. Sony really should’ve moved JACK AND JILL out of its way. That trailer got heckled when it ran in front of fucking BUCKY LARSON, of all likeminded things.

  3. What a shame….I was so looking forward to the

    “Occupy the “Tower Heist” VOD Customers” demonstrations and marches……

  4. It might have been an interesting experiment, but I suspect only parents with kids would fork out $60 to see a new release at home, and “Tower Heist” doesn’t look like a family film.

  5. A VOD release that early would have seen the film hit illegal torrent sites the same week, with obvious repercussions. Perhaps some theater owner told Universal, guys, you might want to release this movie internationally and make some actual money off it before giving the fucking thing away for free? HOBO WITH A SHOTGUN premiered on VOD and was out and about as a freebie download days after that.

  6. Lex, that Jack and Jill trailer would probably get heckled in front of anything. Bet Sandler’s character in Funny People would have even turned up his nose at that thing. You actually paid to see Bucky Larson? Man, you’re committed.

  7. Wondering what the exhibitor reaction would have been if Universal had proposed a delayed VOD program (with a less draconian pricetag) for its Focus Features releases.

  8. “A VOD release that early would have seen the film hit illegal torrent sites the same week, with obvious repercussions.”

    ?? Movies are available on torrent sites pretty much day-and-date with their theatrical release, VOD or no. This is presumed to be because part of the deliverables that a production company gives to the distributor is a clean digital copy for DVD use.

  9. Bobby, movies are definitely not available on torrent sites without a VOD or DVD release, other than shitty theatre cammed versions of it, which most people don’t bother with. The only exceptions being if the movie was circulated on screeners before its release, such as for film festivals or during awards season.

    That said, if a nerd ever decided to spend $60 just to put fucking Tower Heist on the internet for free, he would have to be a HUGE asshole. That’s not to say it wouldn’t happen, though.

  10. Then you’re not going to the right torrent sites. The idea that a major theatrical release is not usually available for torrent prior to being released on DVD is simply false. Screeners are a smokescreen, with the ‘Hurt Locker’ example (or Howard Stern’s copy of ‘Get Low’) being used because, first, they don’t want to admit the holes in their own system, and second, because anything they can do to discourage small movies from promoting themselves for awards, they see as ultimately beneficial. And theatre-camming hasn’t been a serious issue in a long time, because the bootleggers found easier ways to circumvent the system that put them at less specific risk of being caught and arrested.

  11. Just as an example, I checked thepiratebay for ‘Rise of the Planet of the Apes’, an example chosen because it’s known that the movie was worked on until the last minute and didn’t have advance screeners simply because there wasn’t time. Theatrically released on 8/5, the first torrent shows up on 8-7. I didn’t download it (I don’t torrent movies, but I especially wouldn’t torrent anything like that because they monitor it), but the reactions posted praised the video, so I tend to doubt it was a theatre-cam job.

  12. Lex: It could make money. But then that remake of Dick and Jane was a disappointment, and that was with Jim Carrey at the peak of his box office appeal. Plus, Tower Heist lacks hot chick power. Do not buy for a second that Eddie Murphy would hook up with Sidibe. And it’ll probably be canceled out by Harold and Kumar 3, which does have hot chicks. Not to mention it’ll be competing with Anonymous and In Time’s second weekends. But if they can cash in on OWS somehow, I could imagine Tower Heist doing better than expected.

  13. “Not to mention it’ll be competing with Anonymous and In Time’s second weekends.”

    ‘Tower Heist’ really has to worry about ‘Anonymous’ flopping so hard that people are scared to go near a movie theater in case they accidentally see it.

  14. All this VOD nonsense does is destroy the magic of movies, some big bigscreen movie reduced to some bullshit pay-per-view “event,” like there’s really any crew of random dumb-asses who sit around en masse in someone’s game room WATCHING MOVIES TOGETHER, which is the lamest thing ever.

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