Just as it began to look like digital movie libraries and their streaming services would smash the movie theater industry altogether, a new model has come to town. Called Tugg, the company creates an interface between theaters and their patrons, allowing customers to program their own movie screenings.
The first step is to choose your movie from Tugg’s library, the second is to advertise via your social networks, and the rest depends on interest – you must have enough participants buy tickets to your event for it to go forward. Recent Tugg screenings include “Crazy Wisdom” in Austin, for members of the Shambhala Meditation Center; “One Day on Earth” at the Chinese 6 Theatres here in Los Angeles; and “The Pruitt-Igoe Myth,” for a group of architecture students at the University of Pennsylvania.
Will this be a small and passing trend, or will it help create a system in which films that typically fail to get distribution will finally get some coverage? Will this help the struggling movie theater industry? Would you be interested in planning your own movie event? Would you be brave enough to attend one if you hadn’t heard of the movie before?
Alex Ben Block, editor-at-large, Hollywood Reporter
Nicolas Gonda, CEO and co-founder, TUGG, a collective-action web platform that enables individuals to choose the films that play in their local theaters
Tim League, CEO/Founder, Alamo Drafthouse Cinema, theater chain Austin, Texas, currently looking for a location in L.A.