Can anyone explain this - better to not release a movie. Even straight to video??????????

A couple of years ago I read something about The Perfect Game and eagerly awaited its release.

Still waiting. Never been at the movies but why not release it straight to video. It’s not making anyone money at the moment.

What the hell is the studio’s logic?

I don’t know about “The Perfect Game” in particular–it sounds like it would have an audience–but the basic reason is that the studio thinks no-body is going to pay money for it. It costs a lot to release a film to theaters, and it even costs something to release it as direct-to-video. If the studio does not think those costs will be paid back, it won’t release it.

I imagine there could also be a rights issue, especially with is small production. Somebody during production figures “Hey, it doesn’t matter if that song is playing in the background when we film this sequence” only to be told later that yes, it matters a great deal.

I will note that the page you linked to seemed to indicate some people had seen it, which suggests that is was released at some level.

It looks like a fairly small production studio (“HighRoad Entertainment” - this was their first film). I would guess that they were unable to find a distributor for the movie.

ETA: According to the company’s page on IMDB, they distributed the movie themselves in Mexico, which is probably where some folks saw it.

I saw a trailer for that film in the theater, so a release was planned at one time.

They filmed a movie here in Columbia a few years ago with, I forget, people you’ve heard of - Jake Gylenhaal and Jessica Alba? Anyway, it sounded absolutely awful but it had ONE SCENE LEFT to film when the money ran out and they tabled it. Makes no sense to me - surely it’s better to try and get something back? (I know a movie isn’t done when it’s done filming, but they’d thrown a crapton of cash down the hole at this point.)

It was also released, though on a very limited basis, in theaters in the US. It made $1-1.1 million in the US and around $2.8 million in foreign markets. It looks like it hasn’t been released in the US on DVD, but Netflix does list it. Just as “DVD availability date unknown”. It obviously had a market, it didn’t do too bad for a very limited release, but the production budget was estimated at $12.5 million. I’m not sure why they wouldn’t try to release it on DVD, but I can imagine they thought they couldn’t make any more money from it or maybe they just can’t afford to try it.

Can you write off a film if it’s never released?

Let’s say for example you’re a large studio and you spend $100M of a film and it just sucks. I mean it really sucks. Can you write off that $100M if you call the project a failure? I don’t know if you can but I bet that would be an attractive alternative if you feel the write off is close to what you’d make, with the bonus that you don’t have the humiliation of being responsible for a stinker.

In Hollywood accounting, sure.

It took two years for The Stunt Man to be released because the studio didn’t think it was worth the trouble.

In addition to this, the studio might feel it’s better to sweep the whole thing under the carpet than release a movie they’re sure will flop. The money spent on actually making the movie may be gone, but some of the damage to the reputations or egos of the people involved might be averted by just never letting anyone see the thing.

Also, once you let it out on DVD or TV, you can’t really expect to release it theatrically. Sometimes they hope to release it later.

Then, there is the Day the Clown Cried. Better to just leave it in the can forever.

The quality may be so bad that it’s too much of an embarrassment to someone if they release it – the star, the director, the producer or the studio. Sometimes someone gets a movie deal just because they want to see what they can do, but circumstances ruin everything. The best example is the Fantastic 4. No, not that one, this one:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Fantastic_Four_(film)#Production

Essentially, a crap film made just to maintain the rights.

After reading the description of The Perfect Game, I want to see it now.

This is a sunk cost fallacy. That money has been spent and they’re not getting it back. Who cares about it? They have to spend $X more money to finish and release the flim to get $Y back in sales. If they expect Y to be less than X, they should scrap it; there’s no point in going any farther.

Why didn’t the ultra-low-budget independent film Anywhere but Here ever get released? (Note: There have been several films with this name. If you saw one of them, it wasn’t this one, since no one has seen it.) It was apparently made sometime in the early 1990’s, and possibly no one was ever paid for their work in the film (except for the soundtrack as noted below). The little that’s known about the film is that it’s probably a road film and was shot in Ohio. It’s interesting to me because a soundtrack was prepared for the film, and one of the songs on that soundtrack is sung by Eva Cassidy. The song is called “Baggage.” It’s actually a reasonably good song, and of course it’s a great performance of the song. The sources I’ve read on the film say that she also played a small role in the film. The filmmakers decided to cut that scene in the finished version, and then they decided to forget about releasing the film at all.

The song has been available online at times in a music video where it’s illustrated by some road scenes that clearly didn’t come from the film itself. It has in the past been available in a CD with all the songs from the film’s soundtrack and currently is available as an MP3. Why don’t the filmmakers put Eva’s scene back in the film and release the film at some film festivals and a few screenings in a few theaters? Eva Cassidy has enough fans that surely they can make enough money from this for it to be worth releasing the film.

In addition to production costs, there’s also marketing and distribution, which these days can make up a big part of a film’s final cost. If producers feel that a movie is going to flop, that’s an additional investment they’re not going to want to make, even if they’ve already dropped a lot of money on production.

The point is that, if they are almost finished (or worse have it finished). Y will almost never be less than X. Plus there’s almost always a way to finish a movie more cheaply.

The fallacy is in including W in their costs: the amount of money you’ve already spent is irrelevant, as it was already spent anyways. Who cares if you can’t make it back?