[dropcap]I[/dropcap]t’s probably a safe bet that it won’t be setting next year’s Oscars alight, but new British indie film Pulp could be paving the way for great change.
The story centres around a down-on-his-luck comic book publisher who is hired by the police in order to help bring down an organised crime syndicate. So far, so what?
But on Monday, March 4th 2013 (remember the date for future pub quizzes), rather than being released through the traditional cinema and DVD route, Pulp became available to subscribers of Xbox 360 Live. Microsoft has already said it will be using this means of distribution more often in the future.
Of course from a consumer’s perspective, the market has changed dramatically over the last decade or so, which means that perhaps the news shouldn’t come as much of a shock. With the growth of piracy and downloading, franchises such as LOVEFiLM, plus the big supermarket chains grabbing a slice of the action, the local video shop has long been consigned to the dustbin.
All of this means that the opportunities for home-grown independent movies to reach audiences have been reduced. Pulp creator Adam Hamdy also cites a rise in marketing costs: “Theatrical distribution, nowadays, costs on average about £2million per movie for marketing, prints and advertising. For a film like Pulp, that doesn’t have bankable stars with a track record, it’s a challenge for any distributor to take that gamble.”
Meanwhile, the good people at Microsoft are understandably excited about the change that’s in the air. Xbox Live product manager, Pav Bhardwaj, said of Pulp: “It’s a great fit. The film is really well-aligned with our audience.” Mr Bhardwaj was also enthusiastic about this new platform for UK film in general, adding: “It’s great to support British talent.”
With around 77million Xbox 360 owners, Pulp should draw quite an audience and with it begin a new chapter in British cinema history.