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Mel Gibson’s latest going to direct to… TV!?

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I look like a zombie. Feel like a zombie.

…But my iPhone insisted I write this one up myself.

Mel Gibson’s latest, “Get the Gringo” is bypassing theaters and will instead be offered for look-see’s on video on demand (cable TV).

Deadline says the film, formerly titled “How I Spent My Summer Vacation” (Moviehole exclusively reported the title change last month), will be available to purchase for just over ten bucks before mid-year.

Mel Gibson’s Icon Productions has made an innovative deal with 20th Century Fox Home Entertainment for a domestic direct-to-consumer release of Get The Gringo, a south-of-the-border gritty action film that Gibson stars in and financed. The film has been set for an exclusive premiere window May 1 on DirecTV, which will charge $10.99 per home viewing. A wider release on Blu-ray, VOD, and digital download will follow later in the year. DirecTV, which has almost 20 million subscribers, has the exclusive on the film for more than a month, and it moves to other VOD menus by early summer.

Sources inside the Gibson camp tell Deadline that Icon really want to get to know the VOD system and thought this would be a good one to get their feet wet on.

“they are a marketing powerhouse and are one of the most innovative VOD distributors,” said the sources. “We really wanted to lean into this, and they will do a very significant marketing campaign around it. It was a great way to launch this particular movie. A lot of those Sundance films going to VOD might not have a major star or be strong enough commercially to attract a wide audience. When we tested Get The Gringo, it tested 86% in the top two boxes, with all four quadrants.”

In a statement, Fox Home Entertainment president Mike Dunn said: “As digital distribution evolves, we are constantly looking at new ways to bring the consumer greater access than ever before to our movies. Reaching nearly 20 million households on the DirecTV premium platform offers us an opportunity to explore innovative approaches like this one for Get The Gringo.”

Some will probably be keen to slot Gibson alongside folks like Steven Seagal, Bruce Willis, Forest Whitaker and Wesley Snipes in that ‘fallen box-office giants who now do direct-to-DVD fare’ category, but that’s not exactly what’s going on here. Those other guys knew, going into those projects, that their respective efforts would be going direct-to-DVD (Yes, even Willis, who still thought donating his time to the 50 Cent produced actioners “Setup” and “Catch .44″ was a wise move). Gibson, on the other hand, simply chose to go the direct-to-VOD route with this one because – well, he probably knew the film wouldn’t make the kind of money it would’ve had it have been released in 1990, back when he was a bonafide megastar who could open any movie – he’s a bit of a rebel; as we saw with “Passion of the Christ”, the actor-director likes to sometimes experiment with different distribution models and mediums. In this case, he believes “Get the Gringo” might work well as a VOD release. And maybe he’s simply waking up to the fact that – as all of Hollywood will sooner rather than later – that’s the future, movies being available at the click of a button in your lounge room. “Tim and Eric’s Billion Dollar Movie”, which features the likes of Will Ferrell and John C.Reilly, has a similar release pattern (premiering on VOD last week), a few years back the Nicole Kidman-Nicolas Cage kidnap thriller “Trespass” had its premiere on TV, and last year’s Natalie Portman drama “The Other Woman” went VOD too. There doesn’t seem to be anything wrong with this model, and I think as soon as folks like Sly Stallone, Tom Cruise and Ben Stiller start using the VOD platform as part of their film’s release plan, it’ll be more widely accepted.

But for those Gibson devotees who demand seeing all of the man’s work on the big screen, there’s Harry Knowles Butt-Numb-A-Thon.

The annual film festival, held in Texas for the AICN founder’s birthday, this year presents a special screening and Q&A of the film. In addition, the movie will be beamed to select other cinemas that same night.

Knowles apparently loved the film and will have his review up on the website shortly.

As Deadline points out, Gibson’s not done with huge theatrically-released blockbusters; he’s got a Viking picture in the works, he’s got his controversial Judah Maccabee movie, and he’s producing – and is considering starring in – a new Fred Schepsi drama, set in Australia, called “The Drowners”, about a young English engineer and his wife who arrive in the Australian goldfields to pursue a new life and work.
Personally, I hold out hope for the new “Lethal Weapon” sequel Joel Silver so badly wants Gibson to do.

Here’s the new trailer :

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About Caffeinated Clint

The writer/publicist/producer who wears the editor hat on Moviehole. Favorite films include "Say Anything...", "The Hunt for Red October", "Jerry Maguire", "Almost Famous", "Die Hard", "The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo", "Young Guns", "American Psycho", "Back to the Future" and the "Star Wars" series.
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