TILT is on Netflix. But no, actually, it isn’t.
by Greg Maletic
Two years ago, after enough prospective viewers had inquired about it, Netflix decided to start carrying my documentary, TILT: The Battle to Save Pinball on DVD. They purchased two hundred (!) copies, and I was thrilled: not only was the film going to be available to a lot more people; it also meant that TILT was now a real movie, in some sense on par with all the other real movies you see on Netflix. Like Lawrence of Arabia. Gone With The Wind. I’m going a little overboard here, but you get my drift.
Weeks later, TILT appeared on Netflix. I proudly put it in my queue, and moved it to the bottom. (Because let’s be real here, the last thing I need is another copy of TILT to watch.) Emails trickled in from people who watched it for the first time via Netflix, and loved it. Between this and the film’s availability on iTunes, things were great.
Things looked even better a month or two later when I noticed that TILT—still in my queue—was listed as “Availability: Unknown.” They had two hundred TILT DVDs, and they couldn’t keep them in stock?! Unbelievable! I wrote back to my Netflix contact: “Need more?”
“Nope,” he said. “Not enough demand, so we won’t send them out.”
Which patently makes no sense.
I followed up with him and, for some reason, couldn’t get a straight answer to the seemingly obvious question of why they wouldn’t mail out DVDs they already had. All his responses were in the vein of, “don’t you get it, your movie isn’t popular enough?” Which, of course, I get. The only information I did glean is that if enough people put TILT in their queue, they’ll start sending them out again.
So I’m asking a favor: put TILT in your Netflix queue. (It won’t actually go into your queue, it’ll go into that “Saved” no-man’s land at the bottom, with all the films as-yet-unreleased on DVD.) If enough people do this, hopefully those two hundred TILT DVDs sitting in Netflix’s warehouses will see the light of day again.
And thanks for your support.
P.S.: If you haven’t seen TILT and would like to: well, it should be obvious, don’t wait for Netflix. You can buy it on DVD, or buy or rent it on iTunes. (One quick plug for purchasing the DVD: you’ll get the brimming-over-with-content Extras DVD, which a lot of people like better than the film itself. You’ll also get my brilliant and insightful director’s commentary. And the deep pride of ownership that comes with possession of a finely-crafted piece of art. Okay, going overboard again, but anyway, feel free to watch it any way you’d like, just watch it!)
UPDATE: I’m told that if you only have the Netflix streaming plan, you can’t add a DVD to your queue. So in that case, we’re out of luck. But I appreciate the thought anyway.