Monday, February 14, 2011

Distribution once again

News reaches me of further Irish titles being released over the next couple of months. This seems to be following the pattern last year when a dozen or more Irish films were released in Spring.

On the blocks this year we have, so far -
Feb 18 A Shine of Rainbows
March 04 As If I Am Not There
March 18 Between the Canals
March 25 Wake Wood, Rewind
April 01 Killing Bono, Essential Killing

And Your Highness which filmed in Northern Ireland is out on April 15

Dates pending:
Snap (April)
One Hundred Mornings

I may be wrong but I suspect that the release of the 2009 Canada/Ireland co-production A Shine of Rainbows may have been slotted in in order to meet contractual commitments. [Update: A Shine of Rainbows is getting a single print release from UK company High Fliers Films at a cinema in Letterkenny, not too far from the film's shooting location in Inishowen. The same company is releasing it on DVD on March 14]

This is what happened last year with one or two Irish co-productions which received very little if any coverage in advance of their release and went on to take less than €500 at the box office.

It'll be a boon to headline writers but otherwise it's a bit unfortunate that Essential Killing and Killing Bono are both scheduled to be released on April Fool's Day.

Essential Killing has different distributors in Ireland (Element) and the UK (Artificial Eye) so I wonder if it's opening 'day and date' on both sides of the Irish Sea.

Given that there was no UK backer or producer involved in the film - whereas there was considerable Irish backing (€500k) through the IFB (plus Section 481 for post-production, I think) - it's surprising that the UK rights were sold off.

Other Irish co-productions due for release during the year have similarly split rights between Ireland the UK. The Guard and This Must Be the Place are both Element releases in Ireland and are being handled respectively by Optimum and Pathe in the UK.

Optimum and Element do have a working relationship but I wonder if it stretches to the Irish partner sharing equally or proportionately in the financial success in the UK of a title it has co-produced?

When it comes to This Must Be the Place or, say, the Soderbergh title Haywire, I wonder if the sizeable Irish contribution (IFB and Section 481) to the budgets of these films ought to be enough to determine that both the Irish AND UK rights are retained by the Irish co-producers as a potential source of return on the Irish investment in the films.

Meanwhile, the Irish co-production Triage has gone straight to DVD. Mind you, you won't find it on the shelves with that title... it's now known as Shell Shock.

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