You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Warner Bros. Kicks Off Test in Startup Reelhouse’s Enhanced Digital Storefront

Studio invested in seed-funding round in online-video startup

Warner Bros. has launched a three-month electronic sell-through test of five titles on Reelhouse, a startup the studio has invested in that caters to fans who want more than just a digital copy of a movie.

The studio on Thursday began offering “The Great Gatsby,” “Man of Steel,” “Argo,” the “Dark Knight” trilogy and “Pacific Rim” for rental or purchase on the Reelhouse website. The titles are presented on customized pages, which can include news and blog posts, images, free and bundled extras, interactive games, photos and both physical and digital merchandise.

Reelhouse launched a year ago, initially positioned as a platform for indie filmmakers seeking to reach ardent fans. Warner Bros. got involved through Turner/Warner Bros.’ Media Camp startup accelerator program, which participated as a minority investor in a $1.3 million seed round of funding earlier this year.

Debra Baker, senior VP of global business development for Warner Bros. Home Entertainment Group, said the studio is interested in seeing whether the enhanced content and user interface on Reelhouse results in higher purchase rates. Warners has a history of being more experimental with homevideo distribution than other majors.

“We think there can be some interesting learnings about the path consumers take in a digital experience,” she said. “Consumers who are engaged with our brands tend to spend more — that’s our hypothesis.” She added that the titles on Reelhouse will include some but not all of the bonus content available on Blu-ray releases.

Reelhouse CEO Bill Mainguy said his company’s mission is to let filmmakers and studios establish a more robust online presence in contrast to the one-size-fits-all digital storefronts that already exist. (Read: the shopping-cart metaphor of Amazon.com.)

“There are a lot of ways you can get your video file on the cloud,” he said. “But we said, ‘There needs to be a community.'”

Mainguy, a former videogame producer for Electronic Arts, founded Reelhouse in 2011. Along with Warner Bros., another major investor in the company is Generate Media, which specializes in 2D-to-3D conversion. The seven-employee company is based in Vancouver, with an office in L.A.

For indie producers, Reelhouse takes a 6% cut of revenue, which is far more generous than the typical 30% share that traditional digital distributors take. With large studios, he said, the arrangement is different given that they have additional technical requirements such as the need for digital-rights management protections.

Mainguy said Reelhouse offers users the option of purchasing an “all access” pass — rather than inviting them to “buy” a title. The concept is that it’s “more than simply repeat watching for people who purchase the film,” he said. “In the digital space, owning it isn’t as valuable as receiving more access or a different experience. Films have been getting commoditized… There’s so much more for fans of a film to get lost in.”

Baker noted that Warner Bros. engages in multiple tests with different distributors. But, she said, Reelhouse’s approach promises to provide insights into what leads consumers to open their wallets for digital content.

“We aren’t going to make dramatic changes based on data from one partner, but it will be valuable data,” she said.

More Film

  • '2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live

    Film Review: ‘2019 Oscar Nominated Short Films: Live Action’

    The Academy skewed dark in its choice of live-action shorts this year, selecting four films to slit your wrists by — each one featuring child endangerment in a different form — and a fifth, about a diabetic on her death bed, that finds a glimmer of uplift at the other end of life. If that [...]

  • How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes

    How the 'Rich Eisen Show' Mixes Sports and Showbiz in an Entertaining Mix

    Walking through the El Segundo studio where veteran sportscaster Rich Eisen tapes his daily “Rich Eisen Show,” the sheer density of sports memorabilia is overwhelming — everything from game balls to jerseys, gear, autographs and uncountable photos are crammed onto every inch of wall and desk space. But step into Eisen’s dressing room, and the [...]

  • Yorgos Lanthimos

    Film News Roundup: 'The Favourite' Director Yorgos Lanthimos Boards Crime Drama

    In today’s film news roundup, Yorgos Lanthimos has set up a crime drama, “Here Lies Daniel Tate” is being adapted, and Donna Langley becomes a member of the USC film school board. DIRECTOR HIRED “The Favourite” producer-director Yorgos Lanthimos has signed on to write and direct crime drama “Pop. 1280,” an adaptation of Jim Thompson’s [...]

  • Brody Stevens Dead

    Comedian Brody Stevens Dies at 48

    Prominent Los Angeles comedian Brody Stevens died Friday in Los Angeles, Variety has confirmed. He was 48. “Brody was an inspiring voice who was a friend to many in the comedy community,” Stevens’ reps said in a statement. “He pushed creative boundaries and his passion for his work and his love of baseball were contagious. [...]

  • Contract Placeholder Business

    Hollywood Agents Blast Writers Guild Over New Proposals

    The war between the Writers Guild of America and Hollywood agents has escalated as the two sides battle over the rules on how writers are represented. The latest volley emerged Friday from Karen Stuart, executive director of the Association of Talent Agents, who accused WGA leaders of misleading its members and asserted that the guild [...]

  • Xavier Legrand Custody

    Cesar Awards: Xavier Legrand’s ‘Custody’ Wins Best Film

    Xavier Legrand’s feature debut “Custody,” a tense portrait of a family torn by domestic violence, won best film, actress (for Lea Drucker), and original screenplay at the 44th Cesar Awards, which took place at the Salle Pleyel in Paris. The awards are France’s highest film honors. “Custody,” which marks Legrand’s follow up to his Oscar-nominated [...]

  • Editorial use only. No book cover

    'Crazy Rich Asians,' 'Late Show With Stephen Colbert' Win Publicity Campaign Awards

    Hollywood publicists have selected “Crazy Rich Asians” as the top movie publicity campaign for 2018 and “The Late Show With Stephen Colbert” as the best television campaign. Warner Bros.’ “Crazy Rich Asians” topped the campaigns for Disney’s “Black Panther,” Fox’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” Paramount’s “A Quiet Place,” Sony’s “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” and Universal’s “Halloween” for [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content