Posted at 4:05 PM on January 18, 2006
by Euan Kerr
I interviewed Mark Cuban, co-owner of the Landmark Theater chain today. He is also one of the forces behind the so-called "day and date" release of Steven Soderbergh's new movie "Bubble." The film is a murder mystery featuring amateur actors.
But what's really attracting attention is how "Bubble" will be released in theaters, and on cable on the same day, January 27th. The DVD will be available just a couple of days later. There is a chance some theaters will have the DVD for sale in the lobby even as it's screening inside. This is the first of what Cuban says is now a seven movie deal with the maker of "sex, lies, and videotape," "Ocean's 11," and "Traffic." (It was originally six, but Cuban says they just added another.)
Cuban sees day and date releasing as a boon for the movie-goer who will have the choice of how to enjoy a new movie. He also dismisses theater owners' contention that this is a huge, maybe even the largest, threat to the viability of the movie industry today. Box office takings are already beseiged by DVD and cable sales, and this seems to them to just compound the problem.
It's an intriguing debate, and I am working on a story on the possible local impact of "day and date" releasing. I'm interested as to what ordinary film fans think about this.
If you have any thoughts you'd like to share, please use the comment link below to jot them down and post them. I may use some of them in the story.
(And before anyone asks: yes, I know he owns the Mavericks, and, no, I didn't ask him how he rates the Timberwolves.)
How could this not be anything but bad for movie theaters? It costs $16 for two tickets to a late show at the Uptown Theater and for less than that price you can OWN the movie? Oh sure, there will be a small, small minority that will savor the theater-going experience over the obvious benefits of owning the movie and watching it in your free time. One way to think about it might be a symphony. It's nice to get see the Minnesota Orchestra perform Beethoven's 9th, but it's also nice to just buy a great performance of it on CD and listen to it at home for 1/4 the price. If the ownership or 2 hours in a theater are the options, then theaters will go the way of orcchestras and opera.