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Friday, June 03, 2005

Another rock hurled at the window

So on June 17th, the Independent Film Channel is taking over the Waverly Theatre in the West Village, a three-screen complex that will soon be dubbed the IFC Center.

IFC doesn't just operate a cable channel, of course. It also produces movies ("Boys Don't Cry" and "Monsoon Wedding," among them). Now it'll be an exhibitor, too. And as one, they plan to start hurling rocks at the traditional release windows. A new movie might play the IFC Center, and be followed quickly by a DVD and a cable video-on-demand version. Key paragraph from today's Hollywood Reporter story:

"What everyone knows, but few want to admit on record, is that day-and-date delivery of movies through every platform -- with different pricing -- is inevitable. As Landmark Theatres marketing chief Ray Price puts it, `This is the year that the walls of Jericho could come tumbling down.'"

The IFC Center will, along with what's happening at Landmark Theatres, be an important bit of trumpet-blowing. (My big question: will the Sundance Channel's chain of theaters, now being assembled, follow suit? I'd say the odds are good.)

The IFC Center will also serve a similar purpose as does the giant Hershey's candy store in Times Square - burnish the brand, and build buzz among the NYC media elite. (It may also be handy around Oscar time for those special screenings for Academy members, too.)

And the advisory board ain't bad, either: it includes Kevin Smith, Steven Soderbergh, Richard Linklater, John Sayles, and Errol Morris, among others.

First flick to play the IFC Center: "Me and You and Everyone We Know," which I unfortunately missed at Sundance this year - and which just won four big awards at Cannes.


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