The directorial debut from Diablo Cody, the Oscar-winning screenwriter of Juno and creator of The United States of Tara, ought to be a big deal. So why is it going to slink on to your TV screens next Thursday with seemingly no fanfare whatsoever? Cody herself broke the news via Twitter that her film Paradise is making its way to the decidedly small screen much, much sooner than we figured:

The DirecTV won't replace a traditional theatrical release, though, which Cody promises is still on schedule for October:

The movie, which was shot last year, has kept a bizarrely low profile since then, even though it includes among its cast Octavia Spencer, Nick Offerman, Russell Brand and Julianne Hough, who stars as an Evangelical Christian girl who survives a plane crash, denounces God, and travels to Las Vegas to commit all the sins she's avoided all these years. A piece in USA Today a few weeks ago revealed more details about the film, along with some first-look images, including this one which transforms Offerman into… well, you just ought to see it for yourself:

Paradise was looking a little odd and quirky, and despite the plum October 18 release date probably not a mega Oscar contender the way Juno was (and that's OK!) But this early DirecTV drop, especially with so little advance warning, has us concerned. Is the distributor trying to find a way to gauge early buzz from the audience without paying for screenings? Did they sign some kind of crazy rights deal with DirecTV and get stuck with this bizarre release pattern? Is this TV debut a prelude to them giving up on the film entirely? That sure seemed to be what they were doing with the first poster, which popped up online via Film Drunk and is a genuine horror show. Take a look:

Listen, it's no easy thing to win an Oscar for your first screenplay, and then to forge a pretty successful career despite hundreds of people who want to write you off as the hamburger phone girl. Cody's career since Juno has been varied and had its share of misses (sorry, Jennifer's Body), but it's also been careful and true to her own voice. We expected exactly the same from Paradise and we still might get it, no matter what wonky release plan eventually makes that possible. Hopefully this weird DirecTV arrangement is just part of what allowed Cody to make exactly the movie she wanted to make. That's the only bright side I can hunt out of this muddled release strategy. Well, that and the fact that some lucky satellite subscribers get to see the film super early. If you wind up being one of them, come back on August 8 and let us know how the movie is.

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