A little help?

Can anyone help solve a mystery here?

Every so often you hear about a film that gets a very limited release. For example, the 2006 film Zyzzyx Road was shown on one screen in one theatre for one weekend, where it officially took in $30 at the box office. Jessica Simpson’s Blonde Ambition was shown at 8 theatres in Texas, and grossed a grand total of $384.

Every time a movie is released like this, “union rules” are given as the reason the film was released at all. Why I wanna know is… what specific union rules are they talking about?

I have a good friend who was a film major and is an editor at TNT, and one drunken night he told me that the union rules require a film to be shown publicly before a member of the cast or crew can add it to their “official” resume, and this is important because their pension or retirement plans are based on how much work they get. But this doesn’t explain people who work on “direct to video” releases. Do they not get an “official credit” because the film was never officially released to theatres? It’s not that I don’t trust what my friend said, but there was so much beer involved that night that I might have misunderstood him, or maybe he didn’t quite explain it correctly.

What’s the scoop?

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