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Sunday, September 25, 2005

Do You Want That On DVD, Cable Or In The Theater?

Like death and taxes there is another certainty in life, technology and the hunger for it will never cease, ever. Recently, there is a lot of hub-bub over the simultaneous release of films theatrically and on DVD. Add cable to the mix like in the case of Steven Soderbergh's Bubble, his new experimental film under the Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner banner 2929 Productions, and you have a three-pronged approach that might produce some serious returns. Cuban and Wagner also own HDNet and Landmark Theaters. Soderbergh is signed to direct two more features for 2929. The argument is that the industry will eventually cannibalize itself by utilizing this business model. It has yet to be seen.

photo credit courtesy of Donald Weber for the New York Times

I got a glimpse of how this might play out by seeing a banner ad on IMDB recently for Carlito's Way:Rise To Power, the prequel to the Brian DePalma film starring Al Pacino. That DVD is to be released 9/27 with a theatrical release 9/30. That is an example of how a built in audience might actually go the extra mile and buy the DVD if they walk out of the theater satisfied. Take this one step further. I went to see A History of Violence on Friday night (more on that later) and Saturday my girlfriend and I started talking about the whole DVD distribution thing. Yeah, she's good like that. What if they offered the DVD in the theater? As an impulse buy, if you were that into that film would you buy the DVD on the way out? I think you would. If Lord of the Rings offered a DVD at the door after ever film do ya think fans would have walked out empty handed? I don't think so.

For some more thoughts on distribution check out CinemaTech and Blog Maverick and a New York Times article on Soderbergh's approach to Bubble.


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