Martin Scorsese is bringing another gritty, New York-set gangster tale to the big screen, this time as executive producer of "Revenge of the Green Dragons" — but before it hits the multiplex, it'll be playing on an HDTV near you.
"Dragons" has been acquired by indie distributor A24 and satellite TV provider DirecTV, the companies announced Wednesday. And in the latest example of distributors looking outside indie-film's traditional day-and-date strategy, DirecTV will immediately follow the film's world premiere at the Toronto International Film Festival with an exclusive 30-day VOD window on DirecTV beginning Sept. 11, before A24 releases the film to theaters.
Co-directed by Andrew Lau — whose "Infernal Affairs" Scorsese remade as "The Departed," winning an Oscar in the process — and Andrew Loo, "Revenge of the Green Dragons" explores the underworld of Asian American gang life in 1980s and '90s New York City. (Watch the first trailer, released today, above).
Lau and Loo's film will be the third released under A24 and DirecTV's partnership, following Denis Villeneuve's drama "Enemy," which hit theaters in March, and Jeff Baena's "Life After Beth," which opens Friday. Both were available in a 30-day exclusive window before their theatrical release.
Unlike "Enemy" and "Beth," however, "Green Dragons" will be available on demand immediately after its festival debut; usually there's a gap of at least a few weeks (often longer) to allow marketing and word-of-mouth to work their magic.
"Green Dragons" thus comes as the latest example of distributors experimenting with multiplatform release strategies; others include Joss Whedon's "In Your Eyes" and Radius-TWC's "Snowpiercer." With this latest permutation, and the involvement of a filmmaker of Scorsese's stature, it's an experiment worth keeping tabs on.