In case it wasn't totally obvious, the ongoing pandemic is causing serious issues in the movie world. After all, this is an industry that is given life through people purchasing tickets to sit in crowded auditoriums, and that's not a terrific proposition at a time when everyone is calling for public gatherings to be avoided at all costs. As a result of this, people on the business side of things need to start getting creative, and a perfect example of this is now being executed by the folks behind the upcoming independent comedy Phoenix, Oregon.
The distributors of the film have come up with a novel way that potential audiences can both support their local theaters, and see the feature without any kind of risk. Announced via press release, the idea is that movie-goers can purchase tickets to see Phoenix, Oregon at the location where they would go under normal circumstances, and then with proof of purchase gain access to a digital screener that can be watched in the safety of one's own home.
It's a simple process. First you go to the film's official website and find a theater where the movie was originally scheduled to start playing on March 20th (even if it's not a theater in your location it doesn't matter). After purchasing your ticket, you then email a copy of your confirmation/receipt to firstname.lastname@example.org. Once the purchase has been verified, you will not only receive a one-time link for immediate viewing, but also will receive a free download once the movie becomes available for digital purchase this summer.
Written and directed by Gary Lundgren, Phoenix, Oregon tells the story of a pair of friends who, while experiencing a midlife crisis, decide to quit their respective jobs and open a bowling alley/pizzeria together. The cast of the film includes a number of recognizable character actors, including James Le Gros, Jess Borrego, Lisa Edelstein, Diedrich Bader, and Kevin Corrigan.
It's actually a really cool idea for a smaller film, as Phoenix, Oregon could very well wind up getting more exposure using this release method, and it's a way that both the film and theaters potentially win. It's a interesting approach, and one has to wonder if we could wind up seeing some bigger titles attempt similar methods.
For now we don't really know what's going to happen with the majority of major titles meant to come out in the next few months. Most, including No Time To Die, A Quiet Place: Part II, and F9 have totally shifted their release dates and will be released theatrically at later dates. Universal recently announced that they will be planning early digital purchase options for titles like The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and the upcoming Trolls World Tour. What happens to everything else remains a mystery.
We here at CinemaBlend are following all developments regarding the Coronavirus' impact on the film industry, so stay tuned here for all of the latest updates as they are reported in the coming weeks.
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Eric Eisenberg is the Assistant Managing Editor at CinemaBlend. After graduating Boston University and earning a bachelor’s degree in journalism, he took a part-time job as a staff writer for CinemaBlend, and after six months was offered the opportunity to move to Los Angeles and take on a newly created West Coast Editor position. Over a decade later, he's continuing to advance his interests and expertise. In addition to conducting filmmaker interviews and contributing to the news and feature content of the site, Eric also oversees the Movie Reviews section, writes the the weekend box office report (published Sundays), and is the site's resident Stephen King expert. He has two King-related columns.