Ben Wheatley comments on UK release strategy

Wheatley: I’d repeat simultaneous release

24 July, 2013 | By Michael Rosser

Ben Wheatley has said he would repeat the simultaneous release strategy that accompanied A Field in England following the results of its performance.

The psychedelic horror film was released in cinemas, on DVD, free TV and VoD on the same day [July 5] – the first time a feature had been released simultaneously across that number of platforms in the UK.

Speaking after a screening at the Phoenix Cinema in London last night, Wheatley said: “You need to look at the reality of what could have happened. What was the other version of this story. It would have got a release at the ICA and a couple of other screens before disappearing until we got some DVD reviews. Then it would have gone again before it came on Film4.

“As it was, half a million people saw it that weekend and we sold out nine cinemas for the Q&A. That side of it was ace.

“For a very difficult, arty film like this, it was the best we could have hoped for. We were really chuffed and the reaction was really positive. It shows there’s a hunger for stuff that’s more outré and not the norm.

“If we make another film like this we’ll definitely release it the same way.”

At a packed screening, Wheatley also talked about how the film may be perceived by international audiences.

“It has played in the Czech Republic at Karlovy Varywhere it won an award. That’s the home of miserablist, black and white, peasants in mud – so they kind of liked it,” he said.

“I think Europe will be okay-ish on a gentle release.”

The director of Kill List and Sightseers added that A Field In England is set to play at a few festivals in North America.

“The American audience has always been very warm to the movies I’ve made,” added Wheatley. “Down Terrace played gangbusters in the States but when we brought it back to England it had a cooler reception at some screenings. I think it’ll be alright.”