Last Monday’s premiere of Fullscreen Films’ “The Outfield” at AMC University CityWalk may have been one of only a handful of theatrical showings the film received before being released direct-to-digital exclusively on iTunes on Tuesday. But that’s no reason to feel sorry for the film’s producer/co-director/co-writer Michael Goldfine.
“Older people look at me and say to me… ‘That movie is awesome. It’s good enough to be in a theater,’” Goldfine told VideoInk. “And I have to explain to them, like, I don’t want it in a theater. I want it exactly where it is, and we’ve already won.”
Later in the week, Goldfine won some more when “The Outfield” became the best-selling drama in the iTunes Store two days after its release, besting box office blockbuster “Jurassic Park.”
VideoInk spoke with Goldfine, his co-director Eli Gonda and the film’s stars Nash Grier (12 million Vine followers) and Cameron Dallas (6 million Vine followers) at the film’s premiere on Monday and found out what it took to get two teenagers famous for their work in six-second comedic clips sufficiently prepped to carry a 90-minute drama.
It’s tough to gauge how “The Outfield” is performing economically based on its chart debut. iTunes doesn’t list dollar grosses or number of units sold, and Goldfine wouldn’t say what the film’s budget was. But digital influencer-driven, direct-to-digital features are designed to be low-risk bets, with budgets tiny by Hollywood standards and cheap social media campaigns in place of multi-million dollar print and TV ad blitzes.
Goldfine pioneered the model as the producer and co-writer of 2014’s “Camp Takota,” starring top YouTubers Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart and Hannah Hart, which, like “The Outfield,” was released direct-to-digital. In the less than two years since, there have been a slew of other influencer-driven features, some of which were released direct-to-digital (“Bad Night,” Jenn McAllister, and “The Chosen,” starring Kian Lawley), while others (“Expelled,” starring Dallas, and “Smosh: The Movie”) got limited theatrical releases, designed mostly to generate buzz.
Goldfine joined multi-channel network and multi-platform production company Fullscreen as its chief content officer in October 2014, but he resigned less than a year into his tenure in September of 2015. In addition to “The Outfield,” he also produced and directed Fullscreen’s feature length documentary “#O2LForever,” which premiered on Vimeo On Demand in June.
Goldfine came to Monday’s premiere of “The Outfield” directly from the set of his new film “Dirty Thirty,” toplined by his “Camp Takota” stars Grace Helbig, Mamrie Hart and Hannah Hart, which he’s producing under his new banner Michael Goldfine Productions, in partnership with Lionsgate.
Goldfine characterized his split with Fullscreen as amicable, and he appeared to be genuinely friendly with the company’s CEO George Strompolos on the green (not red) carpet at the premiere.
“They’re wonderful folks, I love them,” said Goldfine of Fullscreen, “but I’m much more of a creative producer, and I wanted to just make stuff full time.”