Last weekend marked a dubious footnote in movie history. After nearly a year’s worth of delays, Feast, a.k.a. “The Project Greenlight movie,” was finally released in theaters. Not that you heard about it. The movie was barely advertised, with much of the heavy lifting done by niche media and the internet; it was booked onto a handful of screens, predominantly in small art-house theaters in major cities. If hadn’t been charting its release myself, odds are the film would have come and gone without my realizing it.
In an industry climate where $60 million productions are left for dead by their distributors after a disappointing Friday opening, there’s nothing surprising about an inexpensive movie with questionable financial upside like Feast getting less than first-class treatment. But this is no ordinary act of disrespect. Feast was’t just dumped, it was buried—given a two week release, playing just two days of the week (Friday and Saturday) for one show per day (the latest one theater owners would allow).
Granted, each year hundreds of features—a great many better than Feast—are never even projected in front of a paying audience. Films that five years ago might have gotten snatched up for theatrical distribution after a decent debut at Sundance or Toronto limp along unnoticed before collapsing onto a shelf at Blockbuster. This article won’t address whether the treatment of Feast by its distributor was fair, but whether Feast—or for that matter, any film produced under the microscope of television cameras—has a chance at any sort of success, critical or financial.