Are You Here is coming home for Christmas early this year: Lionsgate has announced that it will release the comedy drama, starring Owen Wilson, on UK VOD on Christmas Day before it hits cinemas in January.
The bold move makes Are You Here one of only a handful of films to have been released online before their theatrical release. While day-and-date releases are common for smaller titles, “ultra VOD” releases (when something hits VOD before a cinema) have so far tended towards titles screening at festivals before a later, wider release. (In Bloom, for example, was screened by Artifical Eye at the Birds Eye View Film Festival in April and premiered on VOD on the same day – before being taken down ahead of a theatrical release shortly after.)
Nicola Pearcey, Managing Director Home Entertainment & New Media, Lionsgate UK, says: “We are thrilled to be pushing boundaries with our unique release strategy for Are You Here. Available digitally from Christmas Day, our audience will be able to purchase or rent Are You Here across digital platforms one week before it hits cinemas. We firmly believe this film and its release strategy timed around the festive season will deliver one of our biggest premium releases to date.”
Indeed, Christmas is a popular time for streaming. With the weather cold outside and TVs increasingly hooked up to the internet, renting a title online to watch with the family is a convenient way to spend Christmas (or Boxing) Day.
Lionsgate have picked a suitable film for December 25th. Are You Here is written and directed by Mad Men’s Matthew Weiner, a name that will perk many people’s interests, while the subject is heavily family-oriented.
The film stars Owen Wilson as Steve, a womanising local weatherman, who hears that his off-the-grid best friend, Ben (Zach Galifianakis), has lost his estranged father. And so the two return to Ben’s childhood home to discover Ben has inherited the family fortune leaving the ill-equipped duo to battle Ben’s formidable sister (Amy Poehler) and deal with his father’s gorgeous 25-year-old widow (Laura Ramsey).
The movie will be available to rent and download to own from Thursday 25th December 2014 and released in cinemas on Friday 2nd January 2015.
Here’s the poster: