For reasons I will never understand Brian Bertino did not have a smooth road leading to the unceremonious dumping of MOCKINGBIRD on VOD and eventually a Wal-Mart only DVD release. THE STRANGERS was released in 2008 and since then it has been a pretty well regarded home invasion horror flick. Why studios weren’t throwing money at this guy to do something else I will never know. Low and behold Blumhouse and Universal stepped in to put out Bertino’s latest which wrapped production in 2012. The newly formed BH Tilt describes itself as a VOD arm of Blumhouse giving small genre films a chance to fly in the On Demand marketplace. As far as I can tell though it’s just an excuse to dump movies they have no idea how to market at an inflated price. MOCKINGBIRD dropped with at least three other films from BH Tilt to iTunes in early October at $20 a pop with absolutely no option to rent. It wasn’t until October 21st that the option to rent became available at a discounted price.
To put that into perspective before I get into my thoughts on MOCKINGBIRD, this release strategy mimics what larger studios currently practice with wide releases- but BH Tilt is doing so without the benefit of a theatrical release beforehand. Big Hollywood releases generally spend time in theaters for a certain amount of time before appearing as a digital purchase option a few weeks ahead of their DVD/Blu-ray release. Fans usually know if they are willing to buy that advanced digital release because they had a chance to see the film in theaters and were probably planning to buy the movie on DVD or Blu-ray regardless. So apparently BH Tilt’s plan bypasses the theatrical release in favor of an immediate digital purchase. It might not sound as dumb as I think it is, but I call it like I see it- most people do not like to BUY movies before renting them. Sure people pay upwards of $20 to see movies in theaters (generally 3D), but on a VOD platform your consumers are not watching on a massive screen with top of the line sound systems. It certainly does not seem that BH Tilt ironed out all their wrinkles before walking into the room, and the severe lack of press for the titles released so far equally fails to impress.