July 9, 2013

Watch CollegeHumor's 'Coffee Town,' the Latest Feature to Go Direct-to-Digital

Coffee Town PosterOpportunities for indie filmmakers to get their work out through non-traditional channels are amassing more and more every day. VOD platforms are especially growing more popular, with films like Some Girl(s) being released on Vimeo On Demand day-and-date with its theatrical released. CollegeHumor, popular for its comedic shorts and articles, has become the latest in a number of feature films to opt for the VOD option. Today they release their first ever feature film, Coffee Town, direct-to-digital. To find out where you can watch it, hit the jump.

According to an article in the LA TimesCollegeHumor has accrued 11 Webby Awards and 4.7 million subscribers in 14 years. But they've never released a feature film, something that will change with the release of Coffee Town, a comedy made for less than a cool million, starring Glenn Howerton of It's Always Sunny in Philadelphia, and written and directed by Brad Copeland, of Arrested Development fame.

Since 2006, media mogul Barry Diller's IAC has owned a majority stake in CollegeHumor. The both of them decided on the distribution strategy of Coffee Town -- to take advantage of CollegeHumor's built-in web-savvy audience by releasing it on VOD and marketing it exclusively through the site's social media outlets. Says co-founder of College Humor, Ricky Van Veen, "We think that there are some movies that need to buy a lot of TV ads and be in 3,000 theaters to be successful, but something like Coffee Town we believe can find an audience without those bells and whistles."

Comedians like Louis C.K., who released a comedy special directly through his website for $5 and netted over $1 million and won an Emmy, have shown that a successful release of this sort is very possible, especially if you already have a following.

Coffee Town releases today (July 9th) across several VOD platforms, including Amazon Instant Video and iTunes. Check out the trailer below:

What do you think? As an indie filmmaker, do you think this is the future of indie film distribution? If you've seen the movie, tell us what you thought about it in the comments!

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Your Comment

7 Comments

The trailer is funny ... I'd have gone theatrical.

July 9, 2013 at 10:03AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

The problem with launching a new film on Amazon/iTunes is that potential customers see user reviews on the same page they purchase. So right now, there is one review, by esteemed Amazon consumer Rottenbawlz whose 3-star review is: "guess what... FIRST!!! BITCHEZ suck it. first, hey I'm first, who's first, THIS GUY!!! but srsly mvie suhhhhxxxxxxx eat it..."

A three star review is not an endorsement, and unless you bother to click through to see how much of an idiot this person apparently is, all you would know is that this is a mediocre film. I wouldn't spend $15 on a mediocre film. That one review is probably costing this film hundreds if not thousands of dollars, but the lack of momentum will be even worse.

July 9, 2013 at 12:12PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Ed Z.

This really is the viable future for indie filmmakers. They have built a solid fan base and they are reaching out to where their fan base watches their stuff. Unless you are a studio backed film, the chances of turning a profit theatrically are very slim, these guys have the right idea and I think the film will do very well for them.

July 9, 2013 at 1:41PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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I agree with you Ed Z. but if it was a good movie I don't think they'd have a problem. 3 stars or not. You get the same problems with all websites, there is always a rating componant to warn potential viewers whether their time will be wasted. In most cases either simply having this up on the college board website or seeing the guy from "Always Sunny" will be enough to sell this movie to their potential audience.

Which I gues would be my addition to your comment, you're right. This could be damaging for a film with little or no marketing that is trying to build momentum. By doing their homework a filmmaker has a better shot of pushing his film to his select demographic from start to finish. In this case using the guy from Always Sunny in Phil. is a good way to push it, I'm sure he will be promoting the movie on his twitter and what not as a matter of self interest. VOD is still the way to distribute. I'm interested in seeing other effective ways to promote and market your film without breaking the bank. Going Viral is like catching lightning in a bottle, I'm still working on learning the best ways to catch an audiences attention. Other then "Earn Mad Money$$ NOW!" or any other gimmicks.

July 9, 2013 at 1:52PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Pete

It's $15 to download, $7 to "rent for 3 days". "Rent" will probably be enough for most people but if they average about $10 per subscriber, they'll need 100,000+ views to break even. If they went theatrical, they may have been able to get away with a 25% distribution fees on the little or no advertising budget a la a true small budget independent. That may have meant close to 25% of the gross to the film's producers (and only the primary advertisers). Considering the paucity of decent comedies, a decent release can make quite a bit even without substantial advertising - Kevin Hart stand up is nearing $20M after less than a week out, Internship hit $40M, "Pain and Gain" $50M. On Rotten Tomatoes' 0-100 scale, Kevin Hart's got a 70% rating, the Internship 36%, "Pain and Gain" 34%. In other words, you don't have to be real good to make some money in comedy (granted, the above flicks had considerable marketing muscle behind them but a horrible word of mouth).

July 9, 2013 at 3:55PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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DLD

I love that it's on iTunes and Amazon, but it's too expensive for me. I'm a bit thrifty and I wait for it to come out on Red Box. If it was a buck or two I could see purchasing it.

July 9, 2013 at 9:45PM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Bill

I shall purchase this on Bit Torrent.

July 13, 2013 at 12:26AM, Edited September 4, 11:21AM

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Bobby Boucher