Saturday, April 28, 2012

Why is The Cabin in the Woods Going Straight to DVD Here?

I wish I knew.

Yesterday, Roadshow announced that both The Cabin in the Woods and Chernobyl Diaries were to go straight to DVD in Australia and New Zealand. While I'm neither here nor there on the latter, The Cabin in the Woods is a film I've heard much chatter about from the blogosphere, and yet, after these few weeks I've been able to avoid spoilers. As far as I know, Cabin was a hit, despite the fact it stayed on the unreleased shelf for quite some time. Now, I know that I rant about how shit it is living in NZ and not getting movies at the same time as everyone else a lot. Bear with me. Here's a moment where I struggle to see the logic behind why they'd decide to not give Cabin a theatrical release.

Aussie and Kiwi actors in Cabin - not enough to secure a theatrical release
Let's start with reasons why it would be a good idea to release Cabin in cinemas in Australia and NZ:
-Because it would make, you know, money.
-It stars Anna Hutchison, who is a Kiwi actress, currently starring a Kiwi program that is on Kiwi TV's every Tuesday night.
-It stars Chris Hemsworth, an Australian actor, who has also made a name for himself being a beefcake who likes yelling at things and getting hit by Natalie Portman's car.
-It is written by Joss Whedon, who wrote and directed The Avengers. Just one of the biggest cinematic events of the year.
-And that movie broke opening day records in both Aussie and NZ.
-People generally like horror movies, even more so if you see them in a dark cinema.
-It went on wide release in the US. That's usually enough.
-Apparently, it is very good.
-In fact, it has become the surprise hit of the year.

But oh no, that's not enough. What could possibly make them turn against that? Here's the thinking that probably went behind this madness:
-Oh, never mind about New Zealand and Australia. All they do there is ride around on their Kiwi's and Kangaroo's to the supermarket.
-It came out in Iceland, Lithuania and Croatia. That's enough of an international audience.
-We release every other horror straight to DVD. Just coz this one is actually good doesn't mean it is an exception to the rule.
-And...that's all I have.

Just another horror movie made on a production line?
Okay, so I'm still gonna get to see it on DVD. To be honest, since I barely ever go to the cinemas, it doesn't really affect me. But it affects the outlook on the movie - when people are buying stock for their DVD stores (and they're usually the people who don't have a clue about films), they won't have a cinema release to look back on, and they're most likely to see it as just another straight-to-DVD horror. It is unlikely that people who live here have heard of the film, and thanks to not having a cinema release they're likely to pass it by. So what they're doing is digging themselves the exact same hole that somehow allows them to release shitty horror movies like they never happened...even when they get something that went wide, has quite a few fans and actually made money from a cinematic release, they have to go by the same rules. Sorry, Roadshow, it just doesn't add up. All you're going to achieve by releasing it straight-to-DVD is:
-Degrading it to the quality of all your other crap.
-Sending people to watch it online. You're practically demanding it.
-Losing money.
-Losing credibility.
-Did I mention, losing money?

You can try cover it up with your fake claims that you're going to release it on DVD next week. It still gives it that horrid 'straight-to-DVD' label. And this is from the writer/director of The Avengers, for God's sake.

This got a theatrical release in NZ, so what about Cabin?
To round out this rant, I'm going to outline some movies that got a theatrical release in the past 12 months that would have been better going straight-to-DVD, just so you realise how stupid this decision is:
-I Don't Know How She Does It
-Streetdance 2
-Ghost Rider: Spirit of Vengeance
-Man on a Ledge
-Shark Night
-The Darkest Hour
-The Beaver
-The Thing
-Something Borrowed
-Hoodwinked Too! Hood vs. Evil
-Country Strong
-Chalet Girl many more...

If those movies could have a theatrical release here, then why can't The Cabin in the Woods? I just don't understand it. At all. Do you?


  1. Great post - and it does baffle me that it's being released just on DVD on Aus and NZ. I'm from the UK, and as you know, we have had a theatrical release. Thing is, horror films do not do amazingly well generally, especially not franchise films. Cabin In The Woods is an incredible film, but it is not a film for the 'general mass cinema audience'. Unfortunately the film industry must be bearing this in mind. I have no doubt in my mind that the film would have definitely turned a profit in Aus and NZ, because as you said, the credentials are there, but sadly, if it isn't going to turn AS MUCH as a profit as franchises and 'guaranteed successes' (i.e. films with Johnny Depp in), then it might be considered a 'risk' not worth taking. Joss Whedon is renowned for greatness (Buffy), and is as you say going to be the mastermind behind Avengers, but apparently it isn't enough to go against the fact that horror really doesn't do very well unless it is a franchise (there may be some exceptions, but CITW is not going to be one of them no matter where it's released). Sorry for the essay!

    1. Aha, I see where you're coming from there. I must say, though, ideas about the 'general mass cinema audience' have become increasingly strange through the years!

  2. To be honest I'm a bit over the hype for the film, but even so this decision strikes me as weird, for pretty much all of the reasons you describe. I can only assume someone at Roadshow noticed the fact that the film was made in 2009 and not released until now, and decided it must be shit (even though the delays in release had nothing to do with the film's quality). Also that it's horror, therefore it's shit.

    1. I think that's the way Roadshow thinks about everything. They used to try and charge us $70 per DVD back in 2008 because they hated Blockbuster. Now we don't deal with them as much. They like digging themselves into holes, obviously.

  3. The people that release movies must hate movies. That's all I got.

  4. It's absolutely ridiculous! Do they not keep up with the love this movie has been getting? I hope somebody reads this that has the power to change it. In fact I think you should write Roadshow a strongly worded letter of complaint! I'd be severely pissed if I hadn't have got to see this in cinemas. And as a resident of Australia for 7 yrs, I feel all you Kiwis' and Aussies' pain!

    1. If only they would change their mind, I simply don't understand it!

  5. Great post. You've obviously been thinking about it. Well written.

    1. Thanks! I have been mulling it over a little bit, actually!

  6. Well you can't deny the power and emotion that "Street Dance " had on the public, a sequel was bound to have a theatrical release(I have no idea what it was called here in The U.S.) I guess maybe They worried because "Cabin In The Woods" was not the big hit like everyone thought. It was a horror movie for people who love movies, but not everyone loves movies as much as we do.

    1. It did? It passed by in NZ, I think it only played for one week at the local cinemas.

  7. It seems that we won't get The Cabin in the Woods on big screen either. I'm not a horror fan, but man, this film already has a 8.0 rating on IMDb, which is quite intriguing.

    Like many said on their film wish lists, "just release films on one day everywhere". I guess we should create some kind of global committee that will do its best to provide the worldwide film-going community with all movies equally lol

    1. Yes, that's why I want to see it.

      That's what we should do!

  8. 'To be honest, since I barely ever go to the cinemas, it doesn't really affect me.' Tell me about it. I may live in the city with ready access to both a big cinema chain and various arthouse theatres, but it's so expensive.

    Although I probably wouldn't have had the chance to see 'The Cabin in the Woods' at the cinemas, the fact that it will be released straight to DVD in Aussie and NZ fills my head full of fuck. In fact, I'd say my bewilderment is actually fuelled a little by anger.

    I mean, really.

    1. I have a long drive to the cinemas, and if it weren't for the free passes I get every year, I'd be totally off the idea of going. So expensive.

      It filled my head full of fuck, too. I really can't understand it!

  9. This is all freaking weird, Stevee. Horror is one of these genres that will always sell - hardcore fans, teenage audiance, dates...whatever - it always gets distrubuted because people will see it. On the other hand I'm kinda envious - TCITW is one of those movies that befeitg from DVD medium - there are many moments you want to freeze frame, because of the tiny details. Regardless, I hope u will see it soon and like it!

  10. For those of us that have been waiting eagerly since 2009 to finally see this film, we have started a campaign at and a petition at
    We desperately don't want to be deprived of this cinematic experience and would love your help!

  11. even though we wont be seeing it in nz theatres im frustrated at the fact no one knows when it is exactly coming out on dvd which means im constantly looking for a dvd quality download of the movie to acquire illegally and find that it is a justifiable download because if they are saying fuck u nz then im saying well fuck u 2

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You mustn't be afraid to dream a little bigger, darling.


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