Jonathan Sehring (President of IFC Entertainment), Sarah Lash (Director of Acquisitions) and filmmakers Joe Berlinger and Bruce Sinofsky have announced the acquisition of Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster by IFC Films for US theatrical distribution. This unique partnership with the hard rock band is a part of a new distribution strategy that hopes integrate art-house audiences and mainstream fans, further expanding the audience for specialized films.
The Metallica-owned film was directed and produced by renowned documentarians Berlinger and Sinofsky (Brother's Keeper and Paradise Lost) and Executive Produced by Berlinger, Jon Kamen and Frank Scherma of @radical.media. The venture between Metallica, IFC, Paramount Home Video, and filmmakers Berlinger and Sinofsky will have an unusual distribution agreement for the release in that the filmmakers' Third Eye Motion Picture Company will have a significant role in the worldwide distribution effort. Managing the release will also have an unconventional tactic to it in which Metallica will oversee and pay for all of the marketing costs. IFC plans to partner in the endeavor by matching Metallica's Press & Advertising funds.
Berlinger and Paramount Home Entertainment and IFC's Sarah Lash have struck a deal for video distribution of the film. "We are excited to have secured home entertainment rights for Some Kind of Monster," said Thomas Lesinski, President, Paramount Pictures, Worldwide Home Entertainment. "The filmmakers and the band have created a terrific behind the scenes view of what it takes to make a hit record." Plans for theatrical releases in over a dozen foreign markets are also being negotiated. Those markets include Australia, Canada, the United Kingdom, France, Germany, Brazil, Denmark, Norway, Finland, Sweden, Germany, and Japan.
Berlinger and Sinofsky debuted Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster at the 2004 Sundance Film Festival. The duo are Sundance veterans, having taken the Audience Award home with them in 1992 for their film Brother's Keeper. Metallica: Some Kind Of Monster was met with high critical acclaim and a Q&A session (via satellite since the band was on tour in Australia) by Metallica for members of the press followed the film.
"Berlinger and Sinofsky are no strangers to distributing their own work," Cliff Burnstein, Metallicaís co-manager, told a representative from IFC. "Since they had marketing savvy from self-distributing their previous films, we felt that the band could have a higher level of input into how the film is marketed if we created this partnership. We have a terrific opportunity to bring this incredibly personal film to a rock audience as well as the art-house crowd, working with great minds from both worlds."
Sehring stated, "Itís not just distribution-by-numbers any more. There are ways in which to work with filmmakers and films that are unique and interesting to us. This is an exciting opportunity to embark upon a true partnership: a business and creative endeavor where success is in the best interest of all parties. We are all striving for the same goal and each have an investment in it being realized."
"Itís an almost unprecedented opportunity to bring together the resources of the worldís most successful hard rock band with savvy distribution partners such as IFC and Paramount," stated Berlinger. Sinofsky chimed in stating that, "Itís very exciting to know that we will have a direct impact on the success or failure of this movie."
"Metallica has always defied the rules in just about everything it does. Why should it be any different with this film?" said Metallicaís drummer Lars Ulrich.
By now those of you who have not seen the film may be asking what the deal is with it, what is it about? Well, Metallica was not alone when they were creating their Grammy-winnning album St. Anger. Belinger and Sinofsky were there right with them, every step of the way, documenting their every move, both personal and professional. They two had almost complete access to Metallica's creative process, business maneuvers as well as the arguments and debates. The most surprising thing may be the addition of a group therapist, Phil Towle. Towle was brought on to open the doors of communication between group members in hopes of making them more productive.
The band is seen in their most raw and vulnerable states. Subjects ranging from substance abuse to the band's crusade against Napster are all touched upon. Ever present throughout the whole film are James Hetfield (lead singer/guitarist), Lars Ulrich (drummer) and Kirk Hammett (lead guitarist) as well as other key players such as veteran producer Bob Rock and Robert Trujillo (he replaced longtime bassist Jason Newsted who left the band for personal reasons in 2001). 1,600 hours of footage were shot in which Berlinger and Sinofsky played witness to some of the most tumultuous times in the bands history. They were present for intense arguments between members, Hetfield's five month leave for rehab and the bittersweet process of replacing Newsted.
"This is one of the rawest films Iíve ever seen," stated Sehring. "Itís not just about Metallica as a band, but really how these men relate to each other. Thatís what makes it so interesting. The moments captured are utterly real. We have such respect for Joe and Bruce as filmmakers and specifically what theyíve accomplished in this film. We feel that directorial and creative freedom are essential. We have always believed this at IFC and weíre a perfect home for Joe and Bruce. The fact that they are also going to be directly involved in the marketing of the film further embodies that mandate."
The theatrical release of the film will coincide with Metallica's upcoming North American Tour. The film will arrive in many cities were theatrical documentary releases are a rare occurrence in hopes of uniting rock and art-house funs in the area.