IFC Entertainment, Blockbuster ink rental deal

MUMBAI: In a move designed to make independent films available to a wider audience, IFC Entertainment, a subsidiary of Rainbow Media Holdings LLC, and Blockbuster Inc. have inked a two-year agreement that gives Blockbuster the exclusive US rental rights for IFC Entertainment’s titles.

The agreement enables IFC Entertainment to reach a broader audience for its films through Blockbuster’s stores, by-mail subscription services and digital downloading service, Movielink.com.

Under the terms of the agreement, IFC and Blockbuster will share rental revenues from IFC titles. Blockbuster will have an exclusive 60-day rental window, including both the physical and digital rental distribution channels, for each title as it becomes available. During this period no title will be available on a retail basis in any format. After the 60-day period, the IFC titles will be available on a non-exclusive basis both for retail and digital distribution. However, Blockbuster will retain the exclusive physical rental distribution rights for IFC titles for three years after each street date.

In addition to carrying IFC titles in its stores nationwide, Blockbuster has installed special independent film sections in approximately 1,000 of its locations, which will include not only IFC titles but also independent movies from a variety of distributors. Blockbuster also plans to highlight IFC titles on blockbuster.com and on Movielink.

"We’re delighted to join with Blockbuster as we continue our mission of making independent film available to the widest possible audience. Blockbuster’s national store network combined with its by-mail and downloading services, made this a particularly appealing agreement for us because it gives millions of customers increased access to our movies," said IFC senior vice president of sales and business development Lisa Schwartz.

"This agreement with IFC is a great opportunity for Blockbuster to provide our customers with convenient access to the best of independent film. Whether it’s through our stores, through the mail or through digital downloading, our customers will have access to some of the most exciting, thought-provoking films the indie filmmaking world has to offer. We look forward to working with IFC to dramatically expand our selection of independent titles and to being the exclusive rental outlet for films that otherwise might not have gotten exposure to such a broad audience," said Blockbuster Inc director, film product Keith Leopard.

Titles to be exclusively available for rental at Blockbuster include: Gus Van Sant’s Paranoid Park, which opens theatrically on 7 March and was recently nominated for three Independent Spirit Awards including best picture and best director and won the Piaget Producers Award, which went to producer Neil Kopp; Tom Kalin’s Savage Grace, which stars Julianne Moore and was screened at this year’s Sundance Film Festival; Hannah Takes the Stairs, a critically-acclaimed film by Joe Swanberg that emerged as part of the Mumblecore movement; and Dans Paris, a French language film directed by Christophe Honore.