One of the hotter indie flicks of the summer, Steven Soderbergh’s The Girlfriend Experience, debuted on Amazon’s rental service this week, way before the movie opens in theaters May 22. At $9.99 for a three-day rental, the movie is also cheaper to rent than it will be to see at many theaters.
Soderbergh, the director famous for Sex Lies and Videotape, Traffic and way too many preening Ocean’s flicks, tried the tactic back in 2006 with Bubble, which opened on TV, in theaters and on DVD within the same week, as well as January with Che, which was available on cable on demand services as it played in limited release around the country.
The new movie stars porn star Sasha Grey as a high-class call girl.
Soderbergh shot the movie mostly with non-actors in 16 days during October 2008 on a $1.7 million budget. Jackson West of Newteevee.com says Soderbergh’s unorthodox production and distribution systems could be the future.
The minimal expense and maximal margins of digital distribution mean the film can take that chance. And the upside for the producers – among them Mark Cuban, who will also be airing it on his HDNet later this month – is potentially astounding. But even if it didn’t have a racy subject and a well-known porn starlet, or a big name director and cutting-edge cinematography, by releasing it online the film stands to take advantage of online promotion and marketing in a way that others can’t.
But is the hooker’s heart made of gold? And does Sasha go full frontal? You won’t have to wait until May 22 or leave your house to find the answers yourself.