Donald Clarke

Whingeing about cinema and real life since 2009

A Field in England tests the release paradigm

Ben Wheatley’s new film will appear in a multitude of formats on its opening day.

Thu, Jun 27, 2013, 16:27


As we mentioned last week, the distributors of Ben Wheatley’s A Field in England have decided to do something a little experimental with that English Civil War shocker. We have seen the odd film released simultaneously on video and in cinemas. Recently a few movies — Michael Winterbottom’s Everyday and the documentary Venus and Serena — were released in longer versions after being broadcast on television. This is, however, the first time that a British film will be simultaneously available in cinemas, on DVD, free TV and video-on-demand. It emerges in all these formats next week. Sue Bruce-Smith, Film4’s head of commercial and brand strategy, explained: ”We’re lucky to have found in Picturehouse Entertainment, 4DVD, the Film4 channel and BFI partners who share our vision to disrupt the status quo and experiment with new distribution patterns, to create this exciting event style release.”

It’s hard to know quite what to make of this. Wheatley’s films have, to date, all received excellent reviews and have gathered cult followings, but none has been a breakout hit in the cinema. You may love Kill List and Sightseers (good for you). But the chap sitting next to you has probably heard of neither. If it does work then pressure will grow to do away with the supposed four-month window that exists between exhibition and DVD release. It does seem a little restrictive for cinema owners to dictate when a video can be unleashed. But those of us who believe film belongs on the big screen do have some sympathy with their position.

At any rate, you will be able to see and own A Field in England from July 5th. Until then you are invited to enjoy this awesome, trippy new trailer. Now this really is something.