NPR had a story about something new I've been hearing about which I think is pretty genius if you ask me.
The story is about how concert venues are allowing bands to have a "residency." Basicly, the relatively unknown bands are given the opportunity to have free concerts with no cover charge multi-weeks in a row, usually on Monday (an unpopular night for concerts). The idea is that the venue would be foolish to pay out for a big name and have a low crowd, and with a free concert they can potentially make up their losses in the drinks at the concerts.
The benefit for the bands is pretty clear -- they are given the opportunity to not only gain experience, but develop a following. There's definitely a word of mouth opportunity, and a little word of mouth combined with "free" can go a long way.
Could This Trend Work For Films Too?
This newer concept has made me wonder if the same could be transitioned to film. What if films had "residencies" with multiple Monday's in a row where a small low-budget film would show for free at the multiplexes. If it's good, you tell other people and maybe they'll go for free the next week (why not, what do they have to loose) and if the film gets enough buzz, maybe then it picks up legitimate distribution or expands at a standard costs.
Mondays at movie theaters can be pretty dull too - and maybe if the film was free you might be more willing to shell out the dough for a $6 popcorn, and the theater could benefit too.