On Friday March 11, Girl Walks Into a Bar, the first feature length movie specifically made for the Internet made its debut on the YouTube Screening Room. By Sunday night more than 260,000 people had viewed the 90 minute comedy.
According to the press release issued Monday by Shangri-La Entertainment the film’s online audience translates into $2.6 Million worth of ticket sales in its opening weekend. Of course, there were no tickets to sell, the movie was free to watch and the costs to stream it to viewers on YouTube were underwritten by Lexus.
Girl Walks Into a Bar produced by Sebastian Gutierrez and produced by Gato Negor Films and Shangri-La Entertainment is a comedy starring Rosario Dawson, Danny DeVito, Josh Harnett, Carla Gugino, Zachary Quinto and Emmanuelle Chriqui. The movie follows a group of seemingly unrelated people around Los Angeles during one night through lounges, bars, strip clubs and even the occasional nudist ping pong club.
Producer Sebastian said of the movie:
“This signals a new era in independent film distribution and leaves no doubt that audiences are willing to watch long form content online,” said Sebastian Gutierrez. “I’m so proud of the cast of this movie and fascinated by the direct interaction between them and the actual viewers, who have responded in numbers beyond our expectations.”
Unfortunately Girl Walks Into a Bar is blocked outside of the US. I, myself was forced to use… ahem, alternative methods in order to view the movie. The movie itself is fine, but seems to be trying way too hard to be clever. However it contains a few great scenes that anyone who watches will surely recall, including a robbery at a nudist ping pong club.
Is a web-only, brand-sponsored distribution model the way of the future? While this is a one-off experiment, I think that it’s inevitable that we’ll be seeing more of these web-premieres taking place as movie theatre attendance continues to decline and people get more accustomed to streaming movies through Netflix or iTunes.