Vulture's Matt Zoller Seitz says "Louis C.K. is done." His distributor, The Orchard, canceled last night's scheduled premier of his new film, I Love You, Daddy. Shades of erasing Kevin Spacey from a film he's appeared in, maybe not releasing his new flick, etc.
Louis C.K. maintains a direct commercial connection with his fans. I've purchased a couple of his comedy specials via direct download from his web site. Not from Amazon. Not from Netflix. From Louis C.K. When he's got something new coming (a comedy special, a tour, whatever), he sends email to a whole lot of people, including me, explaining what it is and how to get it.
Here's an excerpt from the email I got the other day about I Love You, Daddy:
A lot of you might remember that about two years ago, I created a series called Horace and Pete (still available at louisck.net). I paid for that show myself. When I did it, I told myself that I was parting with the money forever. It wasn’t an investment. It was a 4.5 million dollar grant to the "Make whatever the fuck I want" Foundation.
By that approach, I was able to make and roll out the show exactly the way I saw it, the way I wanted the audience (you) to see it, without any concern for commerce or profit.
In the end, the show made all the money back and more (with zero advertising) through website sales, and through licensing it to HULU, I was able to actually make a sizable profit for me and the actors and some of the crew, who own a piece of the show. That was a pretty good result.
So this year, I decided, I got the money back, I can throw it away again. This time to the "Make a Black and White Movie about a Shitty Father foundation."
All that to say, that I want to really thank all of you who bought Horace and Pete because you gave me the freedom to make this movie.
Did he make more money by licensing Horace and Pete to Hulu than just by selling it direct, and might that be a possibility that's disappeared with all the masturbation talk? Sure.
But The Orchard is just the distributor he got together with to put the movie in theaters. He produced the movie on his own dime and if The Orchard doesn't want to make money putting asses in theater seats to watch it, Louis C.K. is presumably still free to make money selling it directly to those of us who want to see it.
While I'm not interested in watching Louis C.K. masturbate (that's just not my thing), I'm very interested in seeing this movie. I was thinking of popping for a theater ticket to see it (something I don't do very often at all), and I'll certainly pop for a download if he wants to do it that way.
Because he's taken the time to connect directly with his fans and push his creations directly to them instead of working through intermediaries every time, there's a degree to which he has the freedom to say "well, fuck you then" to those intermediaries without it being a career ender. Here's the trailer for I Love You, Daddy: