Mel Gibson was in Austin Wednesday night for the premiere of his new move Get the Gringo at the Alamo Drafthouse. Mel rushed through the red carpet rather quickly and into the theater. Perhaps he didn’t want to risk some pesky reporter asking him about his recent TMZ-worthy dust up with director Joe Eszterhas.
Don’t hold your breath waiting around for this flick to come to a theater near you. It’s not ever coming to a theater near you. Break out the microwave popcorn because this one is going straight to the boob tube.
Get the Gringo is skipping the typical theatrical run and will go straight to video-on-demand television. It’ll be available to DirectTV customers on May 1. It’ll be released on DVD and Blu-ray on July 17.
It’s a bold business move, but then again Gibson is a “bold moves” kind of guy. He financed the flick on his own and betting the farm on VOD.
“Many people just like to see things in their homes. It’s just another way to do it and a better way to do it. I think it’s the future,” Gibson told reporters i a Q&A session after the private screening.
Get the Gringo is set in the dangerous fictional world of El Pueblito. Gibson’s character, referred to only as “Driver,” must navigate the realities of this harsh Mexican prison. El Pueblito is a thriving community of crime and business, where prisoners live with their wives and children and are armed to the teeth.
The dark comedy has plenty of action and reminded me of the Mel Gibson I grew up with: affable, charming and funny. Director Adrian Grunberg’s cinematic style was influenced by Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez, and the latter was at the premiere to show his support.
A true highlight of the movie was angry ten-year-old “Kid” played by Kevin Hernandez. Forced to remain in the prison even after his father’s death, “Kid” develops the skills and street smarts needed to stay alive. The bond between Driver and Kid provide tender moments of genuine friendship in an otherwise grim world.
Gibson hasn’t had much success at the box office lately. His last two movies, The Beaver and Edge of Darkness, were box office bombs. The Beaver didn’t even gross $1 million. Ouch.
But Gibson has circumvented mainstream Hollywood distribution before with the Passion of the Christ. Passion cost $35 million to make and ended up grossing half-a-billion dollars. Mel got a 1749% return on his investment for a the movie that no one in Hollywood wanted to make (until the cash started rolling in).
So, will Mel’s latest gamble VOD payoff? We’ll have to wait and see on May 1.