Joss Whedon just surprised fans at the Tribeca Film Festival by pulling a Beyoncé and releasing his new movie online, with no prior warning.
Paranormal love story In Your Eyes premiered at Tribeca and as a $5 Vimeo rental at the same time, meaning that many of the film’s first reviews came from Internet commenters rather than professional movie critics. Available with subtitles in Japanese, Spanish, French, German, and Portuguese, the aim seems to be to make the movie as easy to watch as possible. As in, you don’t even have to get out of bed.
Starring Zoe Kazan and Michael Stahl-David, In Your Eyes is a romance between two people who share a telepathic bond from childhood onwards.
Compared to Whedon’s 2012 smash hit The Avengers, this is a pretty tiny indie project. But then, Whedon is no Michael Bay. After working on things like Dr Horrible’s Singalong Blog and Much Ado About Nothing (which he famously filmed at his own house) during the gaps between more high-profile ventures like the Avengers franchise, it’s clear that he still has time for more experimental work.
In fact, In Your Eyes seems to take some inspiration from both of those projects, particularly with regards to cutting out the middleman and distributing the movie directly to its audience. Whedon originally set up his production company so he could get Much Ado made in the narrow time window he had available while filming Avengers, and this movie’s Vimeo-based distribution plan was surely influenced by the huge success of Dr Horrible, which was posted in installments online.
This distribution model probably wouldn’t work for your average indie romance movie, but for Whedon, it’s perfect. Not only has he spent the past 15 years amassing a colossal fan following who will eagerly watch everything he ever makes, but most of them are constantly plugged into social media, making this the perfect scenario for a cheap, word-of-mouth publicity campaign.
Screencap via Vimeo