Once filmmakers make the mental leap that Hollywood isn't going to offer them a $2 million minimum guarantee, they have plenty of other distribution options, from cable and self-distribution to the Internet. The problem lies in getting the word out to sufficient viewers to convince them to download, stream or pay-per-view the pic.
"We're in the transitional post-major studio pre-Internet era," says Emerging Pictures CEO Ira Deutchman. "Models will be clear in the future. We're still heading toward Web 2.0."
Filmmakers need to get past the romance of a theatrical release, says Cinetic Media's John Sloss. "People are so disproportionately preoccupied with getting their movies released in theaters that they're not interested in alternatives. You make more money and get more exposure and promotion on HBO."