Freeman leads cinema revolution with download after two weeks

Morgan Freeman does not seem the most obvious providential figure to deliver Hollywood into the internet age, but the 69-year-old actor is pushing the boundaries with his latest release, a comedy called 10 Items Or Less which reached US cinemas yesterday and will be available for digital download in just two weeks.

The mould-breaking concept was dreamt up by Mr Freeman and his production company, in conjunction with the chip-making giant Intel. Together, they formed a company called Clickstar which aims to deliver films to people's computers quickly and smoothly enough to allay Hollywood's fear of digital piracy.

Conventional wisdom in the film industry says that a film has to have a theatrical run of several weeks at least to maximise box-office revenues and prevent DVD, pay-per-view or other outlets from eating into a title's most prominent and prestigious revenue stream. Mr Freeman's philosophy views the problem from another angle - that many people live in places too remote to have access to the sorts of films they want to see, and offering them fast online delivery of new titles is actually a way of cultivating a wider audience.

He is following in the footsteps of Steven Soderbergh and the production company 2929 Entertainment, which made the decision earlier this year to release Mr Soderbergh's film Bubble simultaneously in cinemas, on DVD and on pay-per-view. The film, a low-budget neo-realist drama set in an Ohio doll factory, fared too poorly to be an indicator of how well the same strategy might work for other titles.

Mr Freeman's company considered offering 10 Items Or Less for download immediately, but backed off. Among other reasons, films shown exclusively in cinemas are eligible for awards. Titles categorised as straight-to-video are not.

The film, which was directed by Brad Silberling, is a comedy about an out-of-work actor and a check-out girl in a grocery store, played by Paz Vega.

If it represents a gentle toe-dipping for online distribution, next year's serial killer drama Lonely Hearts, starring John Travolta and James Gandolfini, will be more significant.

Clickstar's ambition is to use Mr Freeman's name and his Hollywood connections to secure permission for the online release of significant numbers of first-run films. The company's only serious competitor for the moment, Movielink.com, does offer high-profile recent films but has drawn complaints because the films have to be viewed within 24 hours. Amazon.com's Unbox service has suffered technical problems, while other companies such as Veoh and EZ Takes do not have a list of movies most people would find especially familiar.

Arts and Entertainment

Film Leonardo DiCaprio hunts Tom Hardy

Arts and Entertainment
And now for something completely different: the ‘Sin City’ episode of ‘Casualty’
TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
SPONSORED FEATURES

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Turkey-Kurdish conflict: Obama's deal with Ankara is a betrayal of Syrian Kurds and may not even weaken Isis

    US betrayal of old ally brings limited reward

    Since the accord, the Turks have only waged war on Kurds while no US bomber has used Incirlik airbase, says Patrick Cockburn
    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but doubts linger over security

    'A gift from Egypt to the rest of the world'

    VIPs gather for opening of second Suez Canal - but is it really needed?
    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Jeremy Corbyn dresses abysmally. That's a great thing because it's genuine

    Fashion editor, Alexander Fury, applauds a man who clearly has more important things on his mind
    The male menopause and intimations of mortality

    Aches, pains and an inkling of mortality

    So the male menopause is real, they say, but what would the Victorians, 'old' at 30, think of that, asks DJ Taylor
    Man Booker Prize 2015: Anna Smaill - How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?

    'How can I possibly be on the list with these writers I have idolised?'

    Man Booker Prize nominee Anna Smaill on the rise of Kiwi lit
    Bettany Hughes interview: The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems

    Bettany Hughes interview

    The historian on how Socrates would have solved Greece's problems
    Art of the state: Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China

    Art of the state

    Pyongyang propaganda posters to be exhibited in China
    Mildreds and Vanilla Black have given vegetarian food a makeover in new cookbooks

    Vegetarian food gets a makeover

    Long-time vegetarian Holly Williams tries to recreate some of the inventive recipes in Mildreds and Vanilla Black's new cookbooks
    The haunting of Shirley Jackson: Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?

    The haunting of Shirley Jackson

    Was the gothic author's life really as bleak as her fiction?
    Bill Granger recipes: Heading off on holiday? Try out our chef's seaside-inspired dishes...

    Bill Granger's seaside-inspired recipes

    These dishes are so easy to make, our chef is almost embarrassed to call them recipes
    Ashes 2015: Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    Tourists are limp, leaderless and distinctly UnAustralian

    A woefully out-of-form Michael Clarke embodies his team's fragile Ashes campaign, says Michael Calvin
    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza

    Andrew Grice: Inside Westminster

    Blairites be warned, this could be the moment Labour turns into Syriza
    HMS Victory: The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    The mystery of Britain's worst naval disaster is finally solved - 271 years later

    Exclusive: David Keys reveals the research that finally explains why HMS Victory went down with the loss of 1,100 lives
    Survivors of the Nagasaki atomic bomb attack: Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism

    'I saw people so injured you couldn't tell if they were dead or alive'

    Nagasaki survivors on why Japan must not abandon its post-war pacifism
    Jon Stewart: The voice of Democrats who felt Obama had failed to deliver on his 'Yes We Can' slogan, and the voter he tried hardest to keep onside

    The voter Obama tried hardest to keep onside

    Outgoing The Daily Show host, Jon Stewart, became the voice of Democrats who felt the President had failed to deliver on his ‘Yes We Can’ slogan. Tim Walker charts the ups and downs of their 10-year relationship on screen