Longtime Hollywood employee/columnist Anne Thompson (with the aid of Tom Brueggemann prints Harvey Weinstein's rationale for the release of Bong Joon-Ho's SNOWPIERCER (probably the best movie you haven't seen or made time to see this summer) as Gospel:
SNOWPIERCER isn't quirky/cute like Wes Anderson's GRAND BUDAPEST HOTEL, but it had enough commercial potential (even in its current Harvey-disdained version)--plus the currently-hot Chris Evans playing the lead--to warrant a maximum1000-screen theatrical release a la Fox Searchlight.
Instead, SNOWPIERCER director Bong Joon-Ho was punished by The Weinstein Company for not delivering a shorter cut of the film. Thus, a limited theatrical release followed two weeks later by a "leaked" Video On Demand release from the TWC-Radius partnership.
Contrast this with something that occurred a year ago: Wong Kar-Wai's martial-arts epic THE GRANDMASTER was trimmed down from its original version and received a fairly wide TWC theatrical release without being dumped or going directly to VOD.
Ladies and gentlemen, welcome (again) to Hollywood.
[UPDATE: The above blog entry was inspired by reading THOMPSON ON HOLLYWOOD on Facebook. I made the following comment there: I don't think this should be spun as a positive. Essentially, Harvey dumped a movie to show up its director who didn't want it cut.
Anne Thompson's reply:
I'd put it another way--obviously Harvey is putting his best spin on things-- but he took the chance of sacrificing potential theatrical upside and market share bragging rights--in order to experiment on this commercial VOD model. And he lacked confidence in the theatrical potential based on real market factors. He may have underestimated the theatrical potential of the movie, but the differential isn't that great, given the marketing spend for theatrical.