Ed Burns, the actor, writer, director, and now comic book author, considers his best film to be a small, talky, comedy/drama that has “absolutely no audience” theatrically but just might find its home elsewhere — on iTunes.
“We got a couple of half-assed theatrical offers,” said Burns, who was interviewed by Premium Hollywood about the film “Purple Violets.” With his last few movies Burns took the theatrical route and was disappointed that they were shown in cities such as New York, Los Angeles, Chicago, and San Francisco but not elsewhere.
With “Purple Violets”, Burns is showing the movie at film festivals but releasing it “theatrically” through iTunes.
“So, we’re gambling,” Burns said, who is best known as an actor in “Saving Private Ryan”, “Confidence”, and “Life or Something Like It” and as a writer-director in “The Brothers McMullen.”
Burns believes his film will be the first released exclusively through the iTunes Music Store, but it’s not. Even so, movies that shun theatrical release for Internet distribution through iTunes or Amazon’s Unbox are still rare.
“Purple Violets” (review) will be available Oct. 9 exclusively at iTunes for four weeks. Burns expects iTunes will promote the film just like a normal theatrical release.
“I think it’ll be the way I would go in the future for small movies like this,” Burns said.
Burns believes the movie industry is changing “so dramatically” due to technology that anything can happen. “I mean, just two years ago none of us were talking about YouTube,” he said. “Now it’s a part of everybody’s daily life.”
“[Technology] is going to revolutionize the way we think about watching films,” he said. “You know, the idea that people watch a movie on an iPod for someone my age, that’s insane, yet I recognize if you’ve grown up watching small images on your laptop or you’ve been downloading to your phone, an iPod is a pretty good invention. So, I think it’s changing and you have to embrace it.”
Burns used the analogy of change in the music industry to make his point. “You know, you have to embrace the change because I know, like, our parents did not buy albums, they only listened to the radio,” he said. “And then in the ‘60s, albums came out and people were obsessed with the LP. And then when CDs came out, all the purists were like ‘What the fuck is this? I’m never going to listen to a CD.’ CDs are over now. Nobody buys full length albums when they download music digitally anymore.”
And one day you may not go to a theater to watch a new movie release. You may order it through pay-per-view to watch on your home theater system. Or you may download it to your TV through iTunes, Unbox, or some future direct download service from the studio itself.
“So it’s that thing that happened in 70 years of music that I think is happening now for us in movies,” Burns said. “We’ll just have to see where it goes.”