VERONICA MARS UltraViolet

Almost 100,000 fans spent over $5.7 million to back a movie sequel to the cult television series Veronica Mars. Backers who spent $35 were promised “a digital version of the movie within a few days of the movie’s theatrical debut” in addition to a t-shirt and some other extras. The movie was released both theatrically and on video on demand this weekend, but a percentage of the crowdfunded film’s backers were left dissatisfied with the movie’s digital download. Why? The Veronica Mars UltraViolet release frustrated a number of kickstarter backers.

Warner Bros Digital distributed the movie through Flixster, which is (among other things) an app front-end for the UltraViolet movie service. There were multiple reports of fans who found themselves frustrated, unable to access their digital copy of the film promised by the kickstarter. Warner Bros. will be issuing refunds to supporters who have been unable to access their copy of the film.

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Cloud-based “digital locker” UltraViolet got off to a rather underwhelming start last fall, but it’s now about to get a huge boost from one of the country’s biggest retailers. Walmart has just joined the industrywide initiative, and is now set to debut a new in-store service that will convert DVDs and Blu-rays to digital files at the rate of $2 a pop. Standard definition discs can also be upgraded to high definition, for $5 a title. The copies will then be accessible for streaming or downloading via Vudu, a Walmart-owned online content delivery service. More details after the jump.

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/Filmcast Ep. 175 – Chronicle

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This week, David, Devindra, and Adam chat about the perils of marathoning Mad Men, dissect the pleasures of marathoning Skins, lament the nonsense of Ultraviolet, and assess this year’s Super Bowl ads.

You can always e-mail us at slashfilmcast(AT)gmail(DOT)com, or call and leave a voicemail at 781-583-1993. Join us for our next live broadcast at 10 PM EST / 7 PM PST at slashfilm.com/live.

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Hey, remember the days when Netflix’s DVDs-by-mail service seemed like the height of convenience? Or when people who bragged about not owning a TV actually meant they didn’t watch TV, not that they just got all their content through Hulu? Those days are obviously over — nowadays, I get (mildly) annoyed whenever a film or show isn’t available for streaming instantaneously on the Web. I’m not saying I’m not spoiled, but… get with the times, people!

After the jump:

  • Sony thinks about launching an Internet TV service
  • Netflix offers a shinier way to stream movies on your iPad
  • Cloud-based digital locker UltraViolet gets off to a disappointing start.

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This week marked the launch of UltraViolet, a new digital locker system that would allow users to purchase content in one physical or digital format and access it across all platforms via a cloud-based system. The service came about through years of negotiation and collaboration between major studios, manufacturers, and retailers, but not everyone in the industry was on board — Apple and Disney were among the two biggest holdouts.

We’ve now learned why Apple declined to participate, and it’s pretty much the same reason Disney did. Apple has quietly been working on its own cloud service, expected to launch in late 2011 or early 2012, and has been working out deals with studios to allow videos purchased through iTunes to be streamed on any Apple device including iPhones, iPads, and Apple TV.

The good news for UltraViolet is that Apple is reportedly considering allowing UltraViolet users to access their libraries via apps on their Apple products. As the company accounts for a whopping 66% of digital movie sales and rentals — not to mention a sizable share of the market for both tablets and smartphones — this could be a big help to UltraViolet. However, in an effort to encourage customers to continue buying Apple electronics, iTunes purchases would only be playable on other Apple devices. [LA Times]

After the jump, read about a new deal between Netflix and The CW to bring all the Gossip Girl and Supernatural you could possibly want to your streaming account.

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The array of home video options generally strikes me as a good thing, but one annoying downside is the effort of sorting through all my movie collections in various formats. I can’t watch my DVDs when I travel unless I bring them with me; I can’t access my downloaded movies unless I’m at my computer; I own more than one copy of In Bruges because I simply forgot that I’d already downloaded it the first time.

In an effort to address just these kinds of minor but irritating issues, the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem (DECE) came up with the idea of a “digital locker” that would allow consumers to purchase content in one physical or digital format and access it across all platforms via a cloud-based system. That service, called UltraViolet, launched earlier this week with the release of Horrible Bosses on UltraViolet-enabled Blu-ray and DVD. More after the jump.

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Coming Soon had a chance to speak with producer Michael De Luca (21, Ghost Rider) and he passed along news that a Metal Gear Solid movie, based off the long-running hit espionage video game franchise, is once again going ahead. The project has been in the very early stages for sometime (see eerily similar Slashfilm post from Feb ’07), and faced a set back from the writer’s strike. Moreover, De Luca says that a meeting will take place in the “next few weeks” with writer/director Kurt Wimmer about adapting a screenplay for the film.

Though De Luca didn’t directly state it, this probably means that Wimmer is also up to direct the big budget affair, as his previous films, Equilibrium starring Christian Bale and Ultraviolet starring Millo Jovovich, were similar fanboy-intensive, kinetic action/genre flicks. Neither one of those films connected at the box office, however, so MGS would be the director’s closest shot at bagging a sure thing, the whole video game curse notwithstanding. Wimmer’s next screenplay to hit the big screen will be April’s LAPD thriller Street Kings with Keanu Reeves.

Video game synopsis: Metal Gear Solid follows Solid Snake, a retired soldier who infiltrates a nuclear weapons disposal facility to neutralize the terrorist threat from FOXHOUND, a renegade special forces unit.

Discuss: Do you guys want Wimmer to direct Metal Gear Solid? I’m okay with it if he tones down some of the signature slick flashiness. What matters most to a MGS film, I feel, is the actor playing Solid Snake. Any suggestions? Is this the video game-movie holy grail, and if not, what is?

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