A funny thing happened in the preparation of a theatrical vehicle for a self-promoting media celebrity, another star might have been born instead, but more importantly a budding distribution model bears a closer examination.
If you are over 18-years old, then Matthew Espinosa is likely to be something of an unknown quantity to you. The short of it is, he made himself a media celebrity by posting short videos and GIFS to vine.com … really, not to be judgmental, but is that all it takes these days to become “famous?”
Now, if you happen to live in that world — cell phones, snap-chats, twitter and YouTube videos — the perfect promotional partner would be Studio71, an entertainment company that pretty much works 24/7 trying out new “branded content” promotions by using various platforms that transcend traditional media. It could be the future ... at least for some content consumers.
Think about it, you shoot a movie — and there are quite a few talented independent filmmakers capable of delivering quality content on a micro budget these days — bypass all the traditional platforms (theatrical, direct-to-video, etc.) and use “social media” to get the word out.
It could work the same for big studio productions. There would be no big advertising and PR budgets to fret over (no $20 to $30 million launch campaigns for a $150 million film), no prints, no distribution costs, no physical inventories of products (Blu-ray, DVD, etc.) … you just get the word out, pocket revenues from your various download partners and suddenly theatres, cable channels and TV networks are all suddenly obsolete.
Maybe “stars” like Matthew Espinosa and twitter entertainment feeds are the future. You could talk about that for hours — visceral versus digital versus physical media; sampling and on and on.
Since we are not here to do that, but to talk about new product announcements, it brings us full-circle back to Paramount Home Media and the news this week that Matthew Espinosa theatrical debut, Be Somebody, will be available on DVD on Oct. 25.
Studio71 tried a “virtual” theatrical launch for the film — on a day/date with VOD back on June 10 — and the results were, at best mixed. The ARR for the Oct. 25 DVD release date of Be Somebody works out to 137 days.
The film is directed by Joshua Caldwell — who has paid his dues in the indie world with such films as Layover and Negative — and the script is from TV-series producer Lamar Damon. Be Somebody is slick, well-produced and the cinematography from Eve Cohen (can’t quite figure out how she got the “look” of the film to be so nicely presented) is A-list in quality.
Those are all pluses, which is important if you are going to “introduce” a media darling to feature films. It has to be done right and Matthew Espinosa gets a nice showcase here … he’s a natural on screen (compared over and over and over again to Justin Bieber) and plays his role perfectly; he is, however, no James Dean (Espinosa has yet to put in the work to get that far).
He plays a teen singing sensation (“Bieber-ish”), who decides to take a day off from his “sold-out” tour and play hooky. This is where we have he has a “meet-cute” moment with a pizza delivery girl named Emily (Sarah Jeffery), who rescues him from screaming teenage girls (think: teenage screaming zombies) and takes him home; literally, takes him home to her parents.
The star here is, however, not Matthew Espinosa, but Sarah Jeffery, who has done mainly TV series work thus far in her career — Shades of Blue, Wayward Pines, Rogue, etc. She absolutely shines in a Cinderella-like role — going from scruffy pizza delivery girl to artist with an intellect. The on-screen chemistry is good and she carries the newbie over the rough spots … a total pro; expect to see her in bigger films in the future.
Bonus features include a gag reel and a behind-the-scenes featurette.