Google has begun experimenting with allowing independent filmmakers to post their entire movies to YouTube. The new deal will allow films to be posted for a small charge and ads will be placed within the movies, with revenue split between YouTube and the producer. Variety has more details.

Struggling retailer Sears is working with MTV on a back-to-schol movie dubbed The American Mall. Locations and clothes are all – or at least mostly – from Sears and the actors will appear in Sears commercials later this year, with the finished movie set for a debut on MTV this August.

This is the first “There are just too many independent movies in theaters and that’s why none of them are connecting with audiences” article I’ve seen in a while but it hits many of the same notes as previous such pieces. There’s a legitimate issue to discuss here about quality vs. quantity, but as long as everything has to be funneled through the narrow theatrical pipeline this is going to continue to be a problem.

Cinemark is working with RealID to significantly expand the reach of its 3D screens, an expansion that’s going to come in handy as more films are released – either in whole or in part – in this format. The rise of 3D, particularly in IMAX theaters and other large-screen venues, is also explored in Businessweek.

Mark Caro at The Trib discusses the dwindling instances of big-screen special screenings of old movies like WarGames, something that is caused by the “always” available culture of DVDs and such. But he also points to how companies like National CineMedia are able to offer titles for return visits more easily due to the advent of digital download to theaters.

Screenvision will be distributing a documentary on marathons to theaters with digital installations, about 170 in all, through its HD digital network. Screenvision has done this sort of thing before and I think the idea of niche films being available on this kind of basis could be a great thing for those movies that just aren’t right for mass distribution models. That’s especially true if its’ arranged by local interest groups of some sort who want to see a specific film.

Unfortunately the threat posed by digital downloads of movies and TV shows has caused a Lehman Brothers analyst to downgrade the stocks of five major entertainment companies on fears their reliance on existing business models will not be conducive to the new realities.