Quibi Launches The Stranger At Drive-In Theaters

Quibi is taking The Stranger to drive-ins theaters as a way to test the waters outside of their app. The platform hosted an event outside at the Americana with Collider. The Hollywood Reporter writes that Veena Sud, the creator, was on-hand to address the crowd before the film. This is all emblematic of the larger changes coming down the road for the company. The short-form video app launched earlier this year to a relatively timid response. Streaming apps are now everywhere you look with offerings from Disney, Netflix, Hulu, Amazon, Apple, and WarnerMedia. Those contenders are joined by a legion of niche services as well. So, Quibi’s bite-sized content looks a little strange when taking into account how the rest of the options function. Maybe physical releases like this will end up being the way forward.

“This is the first time I’m seeing it on a big screen like this,” Sud said in front of the 100 cars parked at the venue. “The Stranger was made for your small screen, for your phone screen. We’ve strung the entire series together into a feature and each episode is divided by time cards so you’ll see that as you watch. Originally it would drop in your phone every day, consecutive days, for 13 days and 13 episodes.”

She continued, “The film was inspired by many things, but fittingly for tonight, I want you to know that this is very much a love letter to Los Angeles, to the city that we know and we love but we don’t see on screen that much — from the old abandoned subways hundreds of feet below downtown to speakeasies in Chinatown to the sounds of reggaeton and The Mamas & The Papas in ‘California Dreamin’.”

“The character is driven into a night of complete terror because Dane can track her anywhere she goes,” Sud added. “At one point, and we didn’t do it because we didn’t have the technology at the release date to do this, but there would be a point where the creepy ringtone that you heard from Dane’s phone that repeats itself over and over, we were going to drop each episode on consecutive days starting at 7 p.m., 8 p.m., 9 p.m., and every time an episode dropped into your phone you’d hear a creepy ringtone.”

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Back when Quibi launched, the app’s co-founder blamed the lackluster performance on the coronavirus pandemic. Jeffrey Katzenberg told The New York Times, “I attribute everything that has gone wrong to coronavirus. Everything. But we own it…Is it the avalanche of people that we wanted and were going for out of launch? The answer is no. It’s not up to what we wanted. It’s not close to what we wanted… If we knew on March 1, which is when we had to make the call, what we know today, you would say that is not a good idea. The answer is, it’s regrettable. But we are making enough gold out of hay here that I don’t regret it.”

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