People are used to viewing verite-style content such as "The Office", "Parks & Recreation", "Curb Your Enthusiasm", and a ton of reality programming for free. Will people turn out en masse to see Cyrus in theaters when Toy Story 3 and Eclipse are also playing, and when Jonah Hill's also in an Apatow-produced movie (Get Him to the Greek) at the same time? My gut tells me it's doubtful, though I wish I lived in a world where lines wrapped around the block all over (beyond Sundance and SXSW) to see a film like Cyrus.
The Duplass Brothers are two talented, charismatic, and friendly dudes. They understand the human condition. They get realistic drama. They have a knack for comedy, and they know how to bring the best out of actors. The fact that their movies are heavily improvised is beyond impressive.
Cyrus isn't Ordinary People, either. The film often relies on laughs instead of really digging deep into why its characters are the way they are. I personally had no problem with this, and I don't think most of the viewing public would, either. The movie is entertaining, funny, and maintains a sense of realism throughout.
But where does this movie exist? It's not Step Brothers, though it's probably not an Academy Award winner, either. Which is fine. This is their first mainstream feature, and its wildly original and engaging. The Duplass brothers were also able to maintain their own aesthetic and be fluid enough to make it work on a $7 million+ budget with a studio backing them. That's balls, and Mark and Jay should be thrilled with what they were able to accomplish. Thing is, mainstream theatrical success is far from guaranteed for a still relatively small film like CYRUS.
I might take some flak for this...
But I think Cyrus would make a great TV movie. Hell, I think Cyrus could serve as a new blueprint for TV movies in 2010. The production costs are low. There are bankable stars. It's funny. It's dramatic. It's engaging. It's just solid. Wouldn't Volkswagen and IKEA be salivating over the idea of advertising during a movie like this on FOX or NBC during primetime?
I don't mean any of this as a knock on the content or on the Duplass brothers at all. If anything, I mean just the opposite. Creating an original, funny, low-budget film with the potential to appeal to the masses is a MAJOR accomplishment. I'm thinking about maximizing audience and how the Duplass brothers can continue to build their brand beyond the indie community they've already conquered.
Why not meet the mainstream public where they're watching aesthetically similar content already? The Cyrus ads are already all over television and on Hulu. Imagine if they were all driving to a July 4th TV/Hulu broadcast of the movie? CYRUS would be a worldwide trending topic on Twitter all day.
Anyway, just thoughts. I'd like to see the Duplass brothers reach as many people who'd be into their brand of entertainment as possible. That's really the core of this.
Check out Cyrus if it's playing at a theater near you and you're hungry to watch something original (that's not a sequel or a remake.)
(PS: I'd love to see the Duplass brothers team up with Ricky Gervais.)