Don’t Panic: ‘To the Wonder’ is Coming to VOD Right Away

When a company like Magnolia picks up your film, you know you’re in good hands. In a time when seeing quality films in theaters is becoming less and less possible, companies like that are making art house accessable, getting real works of cinema to a mass audience—even if the viewing experience isn’t quite the same. When a film like Melancholia was released on VOD, it opened up the visibility of the film hugely for those people in towns sans independent theaters that would never be screening a Lars von Trier movie. However, it did still have a 145 screen theatrical run and honesty, watching it from home was not comparable to viewing it in a theater—that final crescendo so loud and magnificent the theater seemed to shake.

And a few months ago, it was announced that Magnolia would also be putting out Lars von Trier’s highly anticipated Nymphomaniac on VOD for everyone to take pleasure in—which will surely cause a stir amongst a more conservative crowd. But now, it’s been announced that Terrence Malick’s last poem of images and emotions To the Wonder—set to premiere on April 12th in theaters—will also be given a VOD date as well with the release. And, of course, as this is a Malick picture, the film is a total cinematically beautiful visual delight. From the sweeping plains of Oklahoma to the neon-lit Sonic drive-thru, Malick’s latest meditation on the pain of love will now be open to a wider audience. It’s a shame for those who don’t have an enormous television and high-quality sound system, but imagine the joy of knowing you can still take part in viewing something amazing somewhere in which you otherwise wouldn’t have been able to—watching this on your home television is certainly better than not viewing it at all.

When I spoke to director Ti West back in September, we got to chatting about the VOD model, to which he said:

The hardest thing about accepting VOD as a filmmaker is that you spend a year of your life meticulously crafting these technical aspects of a movie to be seen on a big screen, in the dark, with loud sounds. So when someone’s like, “Oh, I’m watched it on my phone…” The ulcers that I got over the last year trying to do this right and spending all the time and money to do, and then you watch it on your phone? It’s just really defeating. But paying to watch it on VOD supports the movie and supports the company releasing the movie, which makes it seem like it’s important. If the movies seems like a good investment, then more movies like that will get made, which is great for me. But if you live somewhere with an indie scene, then yeah, you should probably go see it in the theater because that’s how it was meant to be seen. That opportunity is getting smaller and smaller by the minute so you should embrace that. 

So yes, see To the Wonder in a theater please—if you can. And if not, black your windows and nestle up with a cup of tea or whiskey and a good blanket.

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