I’ve been locked away most of the last 3 weeks finishing post-production on PLATOON OF THE DEAD, which is being released on June 16 by my Tempe DVD shingle. It’s the first new release for 2009, but there may not be too many more in the near future. Here’s why.
PLATOON is a flick I executive produced, which basically means I found a filmmaker to make it for me and footed the bill. In this case, the title PLATOON OF THE DEAD had been floating around in my head for years, so I threw it out to EVILMAKER director John Bowker and he made the flick as a work-for-hire. This is basically how my older flicks like ROBOT NINJA got made… in that case, another producer tossed out the title and I turned it into something that probably wasn’t what he had in mind when he uttered those words.
I’ve actually been sitting on PLATOON OF THE DEAD for awhile now… it was shot in the fall of 2007 and there were some technical problems with the initial post-production (it was shot in HDV and the capture was formatted wrong, so that held things up for awhile while it got sorted out), then I let John spend months building the sound mix in his spare time since the DVD market sucked so bad in 2008. I think he finally delivered his mix back in September, where it sat idle until a few weeks ago.
Now, the reasons for these delays has less to do with the movie itself than it does with the DVD market. As I’ve blogged about in this space before, more and more folks are getting their entertainment from places like Netflix, where in recent years they might have been more willing to plunk down hard cash and actually buy a copy. The problem with renting is that the distributor sees far less cash than from selling a copy (as Hollywood is quickly discovering). For instance, Netflix typically buys less than 100 discs at a flat rate. That money doesn’t recoup the cost of the movie, let alone manufacturing the discs in the first place! (To be fair, the more people who have the movie in their queues, the more likely they’ll order more discs… but the reality for the last couple years has been X number of units and that’s it. And of course, we deal with other outlets besides just Netflix…)
So, I let PLATOON gather a bit of dust while I decided how to approach the future of DVD distribution. Part of that was acknowledging that Tempe would be a part-time business moving forward. By its very nature, that would cut down the release schedule for 2009 as I try to focus on fewer (and hopefully better) movies. Thankfully, I’ve always run Tempe as a pretty lean outfit to begin with, and as such I’ve been able to weather the economic changes better than my so-called competitors, who run with higher overhead and costs.
I finally decided it was time to put PLATOON on the schedule, so I dove into what John had delivered almost 6 months ago with gusto. As I beefed up the sound mix and tightened up the edit a bit, my old friend David Lange came up with the artwork you see above, which has started to attract a lot of attention. With my post work done, I dove into cutting a trailer for the flick which would live up to the slick artwork:
All that said, in many ways I’m viewing PLATOON OF THE DEAD as a signal of what direction the future may hold. While the movie itself will certainly have good and bad reviews as every movie does, I’ll be eyeing the numbers a little more closely than normal this time around. That’s not to say that Tempe will go out of business if PLATOON doesn’t sell X number of copies… I’ll continue to run it as a side business and freelance for food money.
But if you dig these flicks and want to see more, one way or another, give PLATOON OF THE DEAD a look this June (or hit the link to preorder your advance copy next month), and let me know what you think!