Gravitas Ventures has made a deal with Viva Pictures that will allow A Matador’s Mistress to finally see the light of day, only not in darkened movie theaters. It’s a straight to VOD play for the Menno Meyjes-directed drama stars Adrien Brody as Spanish bullfighter Manolete, in a film that covers his late life love affair with actress Lupe Sino before he was gored to death in the bull ring. Penelope Cruz plays Sino, whose left wing politics turned their affair into a scandal in the early 1940s. Gravitas Ventures’ CEO Nolan A. Gallagher said that the film will be released this June through cable, telco and online, making it available to a potentially sizable audience.
Even though the film stars two Oscar winners, it never found any takers for a theatrical run. It was actually shot in 2005, four years before Cruz won her Oscar for Vicky Cristina Barcelona. Back in the day when there was a vast number of small indie distributors, someone would have figured out a way to squeeze a buck out of theaters, but those days are gone. To Gravitas Ventures’ Gallagher, such opportunities now exist on VOD, with greater opportunities for titles with branded independent names like Brody and Cruz. “Film lovers will have the opportunity to appreciate the find performances of Adrien Brody and Penelope Cruz,” said Gallagher. “Video on Demand is increasingly allowing larger audiences the opportunity to enjoy wider access to well regarded independent films.”
Does a VOD model that makes films available to a wide pool of potential viewers but without the pre-awareness of a theatrical run with P&A mean much? It is hard to discern because most distributors don’t offer revenue figures as is the case with weekend box office. Gravitas Ventures is banking on it and has become an aggressive acquirer of festival films that aren’t drawing those theatrical distribution deals.
Here’s a teaser trailer for the film: