New Website Tugg.com Hoping to Bring More Movies to More Towns
by Alex Billington
February 22, 2012
One complaint I hear time and time again is that many great indie films we talk about never show in cities where people live. They never come, or they show up randomly for two weeks then disappear again. So how can you actually get a movie to come to your town and play there? Well, there's a new site launching called Tugg that's aiming to solve this problem, or at least attempt to organize local groups. The site is just in pilot stage but can be accessed at Tugg.com. In web lingo, I'd call it Demand It (from Paranormal Activity) meets KickStarter, and if they've got all the right studio connections, this will work wonders for film fans all over.
Touted as "the Movies YOU Want at Your Local Theater", Tugg.com is a collective action web-platform that enables individuals to choose the films that play in their local theaters. They're working with exhibitors like Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, AMC Theatres, Bow Tie Cinemas, Cinemark Theatres, Goodrich Quality Cinemas, Rave Cinemas and Regal Cinemas. The exhibitors will provide theatrical venues for individually curated events showcasing Tugg's growing library of hundreds of studio and independent films. Tugg's partnerships will be announced prior to the official launch at South by Southwest in March. So this is a soft launch before SXSW, but you can see details on their website regarding how it works and the service.
Tugg will reserve the participating theater, handle ticketing and arrange delivery of the film. AMC Theatres' programming president said in a statement on this: "As we continue to evaluate the program though trials at our theaters, we've experienced its potential firsthand through successful results by not only putting the choice directly in our guests' hands, but also through the power of grassroots, guest-advocate marketing." Tugg will unveil its partnerships with distributors prior to the opening of the SXSW Film Festival in March.
The announcement has sparked up quite a discussion online about the potential of this service. Movies.com explains how it works in simpler terms: "Once a screening has enough people committed to attending, Tugg steps in and actually arranges the theater booking, ticketing and film delivery. Essentially, you prove the screening has an audience, and Tugg will make it happen." This sounds like a fantastic idea in theory, and essentially like Demand It all over again, but with individual location and film selection. Now it looks like Tugg is offering their "growing library", but will this include indies just being released by art house studios, or is this only archived classics? I'd love to see this work for smaller releases that are hard to get anyway.
"Every film speaks to a different person, and the most exciting thing about Tugg is that it allows for audiences to find their films and films to find their audiences. We are eager to offer a platform that enables studios, filmmakers and exhibitors to have unprecedented interaction with communities and influencers," said Tugg co-founders Nicolas Gonda and Pablo Gonzalez.
They only state that "Tugg's partnerships with distributors and independent filmmakers have helped build an extensive library of content for audiences to choose from," but no specifics on exact film selection. The partnerships with the theater chains are key for this work, and AMC, Drafthouse and a few others are fully on-board. "This was a brilliant, well-executed concept that could really change things for our business in a significant way," said Alamo Drafthouse CEO/Founder Tim League. Again, this sounds like such a great idea in concept and on paper, I just want to put it use and see it actually work well for a local group of film fans.
The Tugg team and its advisory board embody a strong collective of industry and media experience in the realms of production, development, marketing and distribution. Gonda, a producer on The Tree of Life, got his inspiration for Tugg while working all over the world with filmmakers Terrence Malick and Steven Soderbergh. Gonzalez, an experienced high-tech and marketing executive, leads Tugg's development and operations. In working towards this innovative new initiative, Tugg is privileged to have a board of advisors that includes writer/actor/director Ben Affleck, writer/director Richard Linklater and writer/director Terrence Malick. Tugg is currently inviting early participants to use the platform during its pilot stage, and will be open to the public in the coming months. Become an early participant here. Thoughts on Tugg?