By LAURI NEFF
NEW YORK–Eli Roth says one of the best things about his new movie “Aftershock” is that it creates a “real, new business model” that could help independent films hold their own against studio blockbusters.
Roth co-wrote, produced and stars in the horror film opening Friday about a group of people who are in a Chilean nightclub when a massive earthquake strikes, resulting in deadly chaos. It is inspired by real events that occurred after the South American country was hit by a magnitude 8.8 quake in 2010.
Roth has directed, produced and appeared in his share of big-budget films including “The Man with the Iron Fists,” “Inglourious Basterds” and his “Hostel” series, but in an interview Wednesday, he said he and co-writer/director Nicolas Lopez set out to make “Aftershock” in a different manner. Roth said they decided, “instead of doing a $40 million movie, let’s do this as a $2 million movie and see what we can do.”
They opted not to film in Hollywood but rather in Chile, where not many big movies are shot. “So they’re not thinking about how to do stuff. They’re figuring it out. They don’t know that you need 10 people to do this job, so two people do it,” Roth said.
“Aftershock” was filmed with inexpensive SLR cameras fitted with very good lenses. Roth said the result was footage that looks just like what you see in a “Spider-Man” movie and that audiences couldn’t tell the difference. “You just need to know how to light, you need to know how to shoot, but the future is here and you don’t need all the bells and whistles that Hollywood thinks they need,” he said.
Roth noted that even the biggest blockbusters are in theaters for only weeks before they’re released on video. “So instead of spending $40 million in advertising, hoping it makes 80 million,” “Aftershock” is being released in theaters, iTunes and Video On Demand on the same day with minimal advertising, he said.
He predicted that if this “everywhere release” works with “Aftershock,” others will follow, allowing them to get their films out to a targeted audience without the backing or the budget of a big studio and still turning a profit.