Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Studio 4ºC's TEKKON KINKREET Limited LA and NY Run Starts This Friday (7/13)!

Michael Arias' delirious anime TEKKON KINKREET is finally getting a limited run in the US after playing select North American film festivals over the last several months. Come September, it will be unceremoniously dumped to DVD by SONY and will from here on out collect digital dust, neglected like the the little orphans in the movie, Shiro and Kuro.

For shame.

But YOU can save it (and them) by watching it in its limited run-- provided that you live in either LA or NYC. Keep in mind that this film was, after all, designed for the big screen.

New York
The Quad
34 W. 13th St. NY, NY. 10111
(212) 255-8800

Los Angeles
The Landmark
10850 W. Pico Blvd. L.A., CA. 90064
(310) 470-0492

Read the first part of my Studio 4ºC report here. And read a PingMag interview from last November (when the film was originally released) with Michael Arias here.


logboy said...

i would fly over... but. erm. not going to.

Nicholas Rucka said...

It's not coming to the UK then? Seems like if they've got the English subs on it then it could travel...

Anyway, for what it's worth, the Quad Cinema in NYC is really small... (The Landmark theater in LA, though, is brand spanking new and huge!)

Anonymous said...

rarely does any such thing come to the UK...
downside to DVDs is things do sometimes unpredictably appear in obscure late night londong festivals - but it's no good to most of us.


Jason Gray said...

Hi Nick,

The (very) limited runs movies such as this, Paprika, Innocence or other Japanese animated features get in the US seem to irk fans. Is it because people want what they love to get wider recognition, or do they believe the films have more potential to earn money than the distributors are willing to gamble P&A costs on?

What kind of release do you think Tekkon should've gotten?

Box Office Mojo has an interesting box office chart for US release of Japanese animation (if a subscription splash page comes up, just try the link again).

Nicholas Rucka said...

Hey Jason,

Really good questions and the Box Office Mojo link was very illuminating.

Here's the thing about North America, it's pretty damn big. So the ability to secure an equal distro throughout the country is quite tough. But one of the difficulties of marketing is just creating a brand recognition and an expectation in the general population. If you can pique their interests then you can lure them in and get them (to pay) to see your film. Following the logic, you can open the film in more theaters and have people attend if you've done good advertising. (But is true in reality??)

That said, there's still a large stigma around anime in general, notwithstanding the progress it's made in the teenage girl age-set. Your average Jane and Joe are NOT going to go see TEKKON KINREET on their own. It's an R rated film (in the US) with a poster depicting two little kids jumping down from the blue sky with goofy smiles on their faces-- AND it's got a tongue-twister of a non sequitur title. You can't win!

So SONY dumping it in two theaters in the US can only viewed as fulfilling a contractual obligation coupled with getting some dvd-box quotes. (And DVD-- and home video in general-- is where these films have lives. The penetration is wider and deeper.) But can they be faulted for this? It seems like a shame, but at least it is getting some release abroad.

Of note, TEKKON KINREET was premiered at MOMA NYC last Spring. It then had its LA premier at the mammoth ANIME AMERICA convention in Long Beach, CA. Total attendance at this years con? 60,000! (Though I don't know the number of people at the premier, I'm betting it was a packed house.) So it got art world and fan coverage in the right places.

At any rate, this is a jumble of info that I'm trying to collate into a response that's something like this:

Fans and fanboys, in particular, are always unhappy with the treatment that their beloved films get. But these wiley folks also get on the hate wagon when something they love becomes huge, saying that they were into it before everyone else blah, blah, blah. So the fact that the fans are irked by the distro of these films is unavoidable and to be expected.

The fact is, I'm bettin' that many of them probably DON'T show up for these films when they play in the theaters because they already had illegal copies of it. (This isn't limited to anime, you know. The US release of THE HOST was a prime example of the distributor sitting on the film forever and losing their window of opportunity.) Perhaps one way to get asses in seats, would be to do same day and date releasing of bigger anime (or foreign) titles? But this would be a coordination nightmare and next to impossible to do if you're a small company try to get into a foreign market-- specifically foreign theaters. Now if you're talking about digital distro over the internet, that's another story...

Anyway, I don't have an answer, but it'd be interesting to keep a discussion going here about this.

For what it's worth, I've been working on a big follow-up post about TEKKON KINREET and Studio 4ºC (the Part 2) where I talk about seeing it in LA and then talk about the future of anime. However, I've been slammed with work this week and haven't been able to wrap it up, so look for it sometime tomorrow or, most likely, over the weekend.