The multiplatform pact inked Monday for SXSW docu “Conan O’Brien Can’t Stop” is a sign of the new direction of indie dealmaking as distribution methods evolve.
The docu, which premiered Sunday to an enthusiastic response in Austin, will be sneaked to subscribers of AT&T’s U-verse subscription TV service on the eve of its theatrical release through Richard Abramowitz’ Abramorama. U-verse, which has 3 million-plus subs, has not settled on a fee for the preview VOD slot.
Directed by Rodman Flender, the pic following O’Brien’s live concert tour following his hasty exit from “The Tonight Show” last year, has drawn strong buzz at SXSW where it preemed on Sunday. The darkly humorous docu includes performers from the tour such as Stephen Colbert, Jon Stewart, Jim Carrey and Jack White.
Specialty pickup deals are increasingly structured with a number of companies partnering for the acquisition to provide P&A funds and home entertainment platforms.
“For a film like ours, and with Conan at its center, it was imperative that we not follow typical business models in the release of this film,” the film’s producers Gavin Polone and Rachel Griffin said in a statement, “Last year, with no traditional advertising in place and just one Tweet, Conan nearly sold out his entire 42-show tour in a matter of hours, with about 130,000 people in attendance throughout the national tour.”
Magnolia Home Entertainment will show the film on VOD following the exclusive window on U-verse TV, and will then release the film on DVD and other digital platforms.
AT&T will also partner to provide the P&A component, and will provide exclusive content related to the film to their customers, both on U-verse TV and also on AT&T mobile devices. Abramorama, which released “Exit Through the Gift Shop” and “ANVIL! The Story of Anvil” will handle the theatrical component with special event screenings.
The deal was negotiated by Liesl Copland at WME Global on behalf of the filmmakers, with Brent Imai and Richard Wellerstein at AT&T, Richard Abramowitz for Abramorama, and Tom Quinn at Magnolia Home Entertainment.