Following his various personal scandals, former A-lister Mel Gibson struggled to find Hollywood players willing to bet on him or his work. It seemed his only friend was actress/director Jodie Foster, who stuck by him while promoting their collaboration The Beaver. The drama, which starred Gibson as a furious man who tries to channel his rage with the help of a furry hand puppet, drew mostly positive reviews from critics, but failed to win audiences over, pulling in less than $1 million domestically.
Thus Gibson bankrolled his next feature Get the Gringo (formerly How I Spent My Summer Vacation) himself under the banner of his production company, Icon Productions. The action-drama throws Gibson back into the kind of roles he played in his heyday, meaning a smug but charismatic action-star. Here he plays a career criminal who unexpectedly bonds with a young boy (Kevin Hernandez) after being busted in Mexico.
Embed courtesy of The Film Stage.
With Gibson's celebrity status still in question, it's little wonder that Get the Gringo hasn't scored a traditional theatrical distribution deal domestically. While Icon is pursuing international distribution for the action-drama, Deadline reports that Stateside Get the Gringo is destined for home viewing distribution.
Gibson has made an exclusive deal with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment, which will release Get the Gringo via DirecTV on May 1st, with a charge of $10.99 per home viewing. The film's premiere will be trumpeted with a national marketing campaign that boasts one-night-only streaming event, hosted by Ain’t It Cool News founder Harry Knowles, who'll interview Gibson, along with his co-star Hernandez, and director Adrian Grunberg following the screening. Afterwards, the title will be available to more than 20 million DirecTV subscribers for a month, with a Blu-ray, and digital download release slated to follow eventually.
While some—myself included--think this bodes badly for Get the Gringo and Gibson, Knowles argues that the stubborn filmmaker is simply pursuing a new distribution method with an eye to the future:
"Mel has an uncanny ability to predict audience demand for movies distributed through innovative models to the highest levels of success, most notably with The Passion Of The Christ and Apocalypto. Here he once again challenges the status quo by bringing this authentic Peckinpah-ian pulpy tale directly to fans."
VOD distribution does allow Icon a unique opportunity to cut down on press and advertising dollars, while the unconventional nature of the release itself is sure to draw Get the Gringo plenty of free press. Plus, patrons that might otherwise shy away from Gibson's possibly hackneyed last gasp at movie stardom may be drawn in by the comparatively low "ticket" price, and/or easy accessibility, and give Get the Gringo a shot they wouldn't have in theaters. Simply put, the coming months will show if Gibson's move here is shrewd or desperate.