Lionsgate is quietly releasing the horror film "Nurse 3D" in theaters and on video-on-demand platforms Friday, marking the latest effort by studios to gain an audience in the home as well as the multiplex.
Industry executives said the move represents the first time a movie produced by a major studio has been premiered "day-and-date" -- a term for a release strategy in which the film opens in theaters and in the home on the same day.
Lionsgate has given day-and-date releases to several films it and partners have acquired at movie festivals. Among those have been Sundance Film Festival titles "Margin Call" and "Arbitrage."
But unlike those projects, "Nurse 3D" was made by Santa Monica-based Lionsgate. The Paz de la Huerta-starring picture, which cost Lionsgate less than $10 million to make, centers on a nurse who seduces lecherous men and then murders them.
A spokesman for Lionsgate confirmed "Nurse 3D" is the first film produced by the studio to receive a day-and-date release. The company declined further comment.
According to a source with knowledge of the matter, the movie will premiere at 10 theaters nationwide Friday. "Nurse 3D's" theatrical release is being handled by Film Arcade, an independent distributor with whom Lionsgate has previously partnered with to release other movies.
The early release of films into the home has been a hot-button issue for film exhibitors in recent years. Exhibitors have challenged the strategy, raising concerns that it could cannibalize theatrical revenue.
Nonetheless, Lionsgate's "Nurse 3D" strategy hasn't rankled the exhibition community because of the limited release of the film. For several years, smaller film companies such as Magnolia Pictures have employed the day-and-date release strategy.
No major studio has attempted a day-and-date release with a mainstream wide-release.
Starting Friday, "Nurse 3D" will be available on video-on-demand platforms such as iTunes, Amazon Instant Video and various cable operators' services.
The Times' review of "Nurse 3D" said the picture is "too self-satisfied with its wink-wink naughtiness to be either fun-dumb or scary-sexy."
Lionsgate is using social media and Internet promotion to draw viewers who could watch the film at home.
One of Lionsgate's Twitter accounts has tweeted risque images of De la Huerta, including one in which she appears nude and covered in blood. A website for the film also includes several animated GIFs with similarly ribald imagery.