Go See Bubble

How is that for self promotion and being a shill ?

Selling is part of the job. Any job. If you want to get good results, you better believe in your product. I certainly believe in Steven Soderbergh. I believe in joanna and jason at HDNetFilims.

I believe in the management of Landmark Theaters. I believe in my partners at 2929, HDNet, Magnolia. the Mavs, I could go on and on.

When any of them is criticized, I am quick to try to learn from the critique, but also quick to defend. This blog has a long history of standing up for many of the above companies.

The point in all this is to emphasize my shock in reading EVERY SINGLE COMMENT about the day and date release strategy of Bubble and the many films we will release this way behind it.

Go through every article. Hollywood Producers, Directors, Theater owners from big chains and honchos from theater trade organizations.

NOT A SINGLE PERSON. NOT ONE stood up and said, “screw him, our product is great. We dont care what he does”. Not a single person said “It could hurt our business, but we will just have to work harder to bring people in to our theaters”. Not a single person said, “It will make us have to work harder and create a better value and experience for our customer”

THe overriding majority said the theater business needed protection. They needed windows.

No one even remotely associated with the industry even attempted to spin the situation. No one attempted to leverage the publicity (except for us of course) to their advantage. No one used it as a platform to say a single solitary positive word about theaters and the theater going experience.

They stood up and indirectly said….OUR PRODUCT SUCKS WE CANT SURVIVE WITHOUT HELP.

My goodness. Never in my 20 plus years of investing in and running businesses have i seen this happen. There always was someone who wouldtry to turnthe situation into positive press.

Not this time. I really believe this is a business first. The first time and industry basically admitted that a single step by content producers would, not could, would put them out of business.

Thats pretty damn stupid if you ask me. Every major movie studio head should be thinking to themselves….”Self, if i compress windows to nothing, they are going to give up. I can then walk in and buy those screens for pennies on the dollar. Its happened to them before, it will happen again. Then i can promote my own films in a way that maximizes our distribution and return. Heck, if i sell enough DVDs in the theaters, i can give away the popcorn !. Good thinking self”

Will the theater biz just give up ? Who knows.

Personally, as I wrote, we know that the theater going experience has to improve. Thats a problem for them. Tous at Landmark, thats an opportunity.

As in most industries, change is difficult to accept. So while some theaters wont be able to respond and will die, hopefully Landmark will continue to grow and take up the slack for them.

Landmark isnt perfect, but theater by theater, we are working to make it better. Its a challenge we are excited by. Slowly but surely you will see us add innovations that will improve the experience and value.

We have offered free soundtrack downloads to a movie. We are working on offering Ipod/speaker connectivity from each seat. There are more things behind that. Theaters can increase the value we offer customers considerably through digital offerings. We can make movie going a great experience, that is fun and fulfilling to movie fans. But we have to be innovative to do it. We have to know what business we are in.

If you are a film fan, hopefully you will go to a theater showing Bubble starting on friday (even if its a non landmark theater. And thank the manager of the theater for having the balls to go against the rest of the industry.) Its a film for people who love independent film.

The reviews have been all over the place, but Rotten Tomatoes has it 63pct fresh. Epert and Ropert called it a Masterpiece. A.O Scott and others wrote positively about it.

See it for yourself. Whereever you will have the most fun watching . Of course, i think its most fun at a theater, after a good dinner, with friends. However you see it, let me know what you think

137 thoughts on “Go See Bubble

  1. I saw this (“Bubble”) Saturday night at Landmark E-Street Cinema in Washington DC in auditorium 7. It was about half full (maybe 100 people). The audience, mostly young adults and some empty nesters who live in condos in DC now, seemed to find the film captivating. The film is in a wide screen 2.3 to 1 format (unusual for HD video but rendered by Panavision according to the credits) and the wide screen really helps here with the outdoor scenes and factory scenes. The resolution was excellent, as good as conventional film, maybe better. The quite acting style and simple conversation was captivating. The ending was, well, people surprise you, which is one of the writer’s points.

    I have a review at http://www.doaskdotell.com/movies/mbubble.htm

    I also recommend that Magnolia look at the film “Five Lines” a mystery on the DC Metro, from Brainbox. It is available in DVD only but it would make an excellent release for Landmark. (http://www.doaskdotell.com/movies/mlines.htm )

    I don’t think that simulatenous DVD release will hinder attendance at films that people really want to see. The problem is that Hollywood is numbers driven, and it needs big numbers from the Multiplex movies aimed at kids and families, sometimes with weak and copycat story ideas.

    (My new blog is http://billboushka.blogspot.com
    I may start a movie blog there soon.)

    Comment by John W Boushka -

  2. James:

    Would you be my friend?

    Comment by lauren -

  3. Coming back from NATPE last week, one message was clear. He who runs at the front of the pack will likely be he who wins the race. Without a doubt, things are ‘a changin’! Traditionalists who have thrived on making money in traditional media markets are out there trying to squeeze every last bit of juice out of the fruit. They just can’t get it in their minds that technology is opening up new doors. Theatres could surely provide a much richer experience and for pennies in the long run. Good work on ya for sticking to your guns and running at the front of the pack! Keep standing up and pushing that barrier!

    Comment by Joe -

  4. James:

    Seeing as how you’re resorting to personal attacks and vulgarity, our conversation is over. Shame on you for being so puerile and rude.

    Comment by John -

  5. Mark,
    My teenage son has often said he’d like to own a movie theater when he grows up. I told him two years ago that theaters would change as much in the next ten years as they have since they broadcast war news in the early 1900s.

    Embracing the branding and bundling will succeed, but I suspect it will leap faster and farther than mentioned. KTLA TV host Ray Gonzales says that TV is becoming a “magazine rack,” where each magazine has a narrow niche. Converting from one-size-fits-all to boutique will make many theaters look like a woman trying on a dress three sizes too small.

    As President of Child Life Books, I see the same in publishing, which many label as a bad business. Big houses line big shelves in big stores with big numbers of titles, all spine-out to sell themselves. Ironically, the biggest store, Wal-Mart, has hundreds, not tens of thousands, of titles and sells as much as the biggest booksellers, who have infinitely more books and bookshelf space. Strategic marketing works.

    So do strategic partnerships. I recommend partnering with co-promoters outside the industry to fill the theaters with their demographics. You have a stage for them.

    Our Manners I. Care children’s picture book partners with children’s charities nationwide, since author David Bruce is giving 100% of his after-tax royalties to those charities helping kids in need: ADHD, autism, abuse & neglect, etc. It’s launching Mother’s Day with KidsPeace as its National Launch Charity Partner, a 124-year-old children’s crisis national charity with 50 centers serving thousands of kids daily. Consider partnering with nonprofits.

    Our strategic partnerships include for-profit sponsors, who want to help kids in their communities, with social skills, manners curriculum and caring, sharing messages. Consider partnering with sponsors, who share your demographics and message.

    Licensing our Manners brand, as the NBA does, plans hundreds of ancillary products in our movable feast of a store thru affiliate programs, bundling products with some of them. We will soon link with content-driven websites with tens of millions of visitors. Consider partnering on the web, and consider turning your lobbies into stores of ancillary products like a Disney store.

    We’d enjoy discussing partnering with you. Very little is more fun than connecting with similar visions, except connecting with the people who share and benefit from those visions. The people who care.

    Bruce Clyde

    Comment by Bruce Clyde -

  6. Bubble isn’t really the first project to try theaters, TV and DVD in the same window. This is exactly what they did with the Bob Dylan documentary that Scorsese made. Viewers had a choice to see it digitally projected in the theaters, watch it on PBS or buy the DVD (with an extended cut) around the same time. I guess the big difference is that they didn’t Pay-Per-View their broadcast.

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  7. Congrats on the acad. noms!

    Comment by brett b. -

  8. congrats on the Oscar nods

    Comment by Amy -

  9. John:

    Sorry I couldn’t quite make out what you were saying with Mark Cuban’s penis in your mouth. You’ll have to write louder.

    Don’t criticize my spelling when the guy you are defending routinely mangles the English language in his blogs. I guess ignorance and hypocrisy go hand in hand.

    Do you honestly think Cuban gives a rat’s ass about you or me? Defending a billionaire makes about as much sense as marrying a prostitute. He’s losing no sleep over my comments and you’re only making a fool of yourself by defending him. Bottom line, if Cuban gave a damn about what I said, he’d have defended himself. Let it go.

    Comment by James King -

  10. Mark,
    Congrats on the nominations for Good Night, and Good Luck and for Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room. Will you be attending the Academy Awards? If one of your movies wins, how many Oscars are available for each movie (so will you be able to take one home:-))?
    Mavs Season Ticket Holder and Landmark Attendee

    Comment by Colleen A. McCarthy -

  11. ENRON:The Smartest Guys in the Room


    and Mark and Todd Wagner are listed as executive producers for Good Night and Good Luck, appears to me they are off to a good start, at least at this years Oscars.

    Comment by karl meisenbach -

  12. HDNet Films, the first day and date release, (theaters and HDNet Movie Channel) was nominated today for an Academy Award in the Documentary Feature Category.


    Now available on DVD

    Comment by karl meisenbach -

  13. Wow – $2200 per theatre…what a freakin’ disaster. Wait until you get the DVD returns from the major stores. I know that Best Buy will be returning at least 50% of their order unsold.

    Get out of the movie business, you’re over your head.

    Comment by Bob Bacall -

  14. Fantastic concept Mark and thank you from all of us who are parents of yound children and have to wait 18 months before we can discuss a movie with our single co-workers who have just seen the movie the previous weekend..Thank you thank you thank you

    Comment by Lord Bacchus -

  15. ‘BUBBLE’….The Saga Continues….

    ….Windows continued to collapse as the apocalyptic ‘Bubble’ was released….

    Frightened by uncertainty, and anticipating doom, theatre owners and moviemakers huddled together in disbelief….


    Director Tim Burton warned of disastrous consequences, “A day-and-date release strategy would spell certain death for ‘Corpse Bride Too’….And that would be tragic, catastrophic, and somewhat redundant….”

    M. Night Shyamalan tapped his ‘Sixth Sense’ and predicted an equally ominous future, “Theatre chains will perish!….The ‘Signs’ are everywhere….’The Village 2′ is doomed! ….I see dead people!”

    Recalling the stock market ‘Bubble’ of not-so-long-ago, economists and politicians alike quickly jumped on the anti-‘Bubble’ bandwagon. The usually soft-spoken Howard Dean vowed to “Go after the cats responsible for this day-and-date release stragedy!”


    Dean passionately exclaimed, “These ‘Bubble’ cats must be stopped!”….”Not only are we going after these cats in New Hampshire, we’re going after these cats in South Carolina and Oklahoma and Arizona and North Dakota and New Mexico, and we’re going after these cats in California and Texas and New York!!….And we’re going after these cats in South Dakota and Oregon and Washington and Michigan!! And then we’re going after these cats in Washington, D.C !! ….Yeeeaaaahhh!!”

    Jim Parham
    Yuba City, CA

    Comment by StockMaverick -

  16. I can not wait to see it.

    The review will be up here:

    Comment by JLTX -

  17. Nice site! Strong rating! Good content! Real good!

    Comment by Rich -

  18. “Are you the spelling police?”

    Yes…yes I am.

    As for the article he referenced, I’m still not sure what you mean. It’s hardly a personal attack to take Shyamalan’s position to its logical extreme:

    “He should stop making movies then,” the controversial entrepreneur said via e-mail. “He should also remove his existing titles from DVD release. That should make him very, very happy.”

    That’s far from a personal attack. Now, if he had said, “Well, he shouldn’t be in the theaters anyway, being a no-talent hack with a one-time hit and a lucky streak” — now THAT would’ve been a personal attack. I think he was making a perfectly valid reductio ad absurdum argument.

    Comment by John -

  19. Of the 230 people at each theater that saw Bubble in each theater, how many picked up the DVD on their way out? And did you give them a discount for having bought a ticket when it came to buying the DVD? Or did they have to pay full price?

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  20. Man, you’ve got balls of steal! Keep doing your thing Mark Cuban…I love it!

    Comment by Kenneth Roundtree -

  21. Mark,

    great post, as usual. At some point in my life (when I got my Visa situaiton sorted out) I’d like to work for you or one of your companies.

    However, having been to one of your Landmark theaters a few times (http://www.landmarktheatres.com/market/SanFrancisco/LumiereTheatre.htm) I have to say that I prefer a Multiplex. For some reason – might be this particular theater only – it seems to attract a weird audience. One my wife and I don’t feel very comfortable with. I’d rather deal with kids on their cell-phones. Over the years I’ve learned to deal with them …

    Comment by Klaus -

  22. Mark,

    great post, as usual. At some point in my life (when I got my Visa situaiton sorted out) I’d like to work for you or one of your companies.

    However, having been to one of your Landmark theaters a few times (http://www.landmarktheatres.com/market/SanFrancisco/LumiereTheatre.htm) I have to say that I prefer a Multiplex. For some reason – might be this particular theater only – it seems to attract a weird audience. One my wife and I don’t feel very comfortable with. I’d rather deal with kids on their cell-phones. Over the years I’ve learned to deal with them …

    Comment by Klaus -

  23. James King….

    Damn, you just burst my ‘Bubble’….Oh well, a man’s gotta have a dream….

    Comment by StockMaverick -

  24. yo…James King

    If only you were the ‘real’ James King…


    You & me in ‘Sin City’…Know what I’m sayin’ cuz? I ain’t no Kid Rock, ain’t no Eminem…Be more like DJ Skittles…”Taste the rainbow, yo!”

    “Split your wig?”

    [DJ Paul]
    Glock, glock in my draws
    As I walk the mugga’ fuggin’ track
    Hit me wit some more, if you don’t hear me
    So I split your wig
    Glock, glock in my draws
    As I walk the mugga’ fuggin’ track
    Hit me with some more and hit me wit some more
    And hit me with some

    Jim Parham
    Yuba City, CA

    Comment by StockMaverick -

  25. I read somewhere that people looked forward to flying long ago, and that airlines made it an issue to make flying this unforgettable once-in-a-lifetime experience. The analogy is that theater-going may have gone from this infrequent treat to a mass-opiate kind of thing, where even people strapped for cash go to the movies on a regular basis.

    Everywhere else in society we have stratification of experience. If you’re poor and need a car – you’re looking at hyundais/ford focus, etc… if you’re doing well – you’re looking at hte german and japanese luxury vehicles. If you’re loaded, you’re probably driving and italian job. same with restaurants – from mcdonalds to nobu or whatever, there is social stratification. it makes sense because society divides along race, age, and class lines. not movies. going to the movies is still this herding activity that completely denies these classifications and natural social adherences.

    the fact that there is no stratification in the movie-going experience seems like an opportunity. In addition, you can charge a premium to offset the smaller audience.

    you could easily double the price for a moviegoing ticket in NYC if you offered the following:

    -dynamic seating. people can sit in groups around small tables – table to accomodate the additional amenities (food, drinks, appetizers, etc) that would be offered. you could structure it to maximize the number of seats in a given location, and also figure out a way to allow the configurations to change and still maintain a favorable number of seats to the bottom line.

    -amenities. you could offer liquor in 21 and up establishments. gourmet coffee… appetizers, etc. light meals.

    -intermission. Urban environments are ideal for something like this – maybe an intermission should be reinstated. a more social movie-going experience… especially for films that provoke thought and rumination.

    Anyway, the theatergoing experience is primed for serious change.

    Comment by Lazyrus -

  26. John:

    Are you the spelling police?

    I was talking about the article referenced in the blog.

    Comment by James King -

  27. James King:

    I didn’t see where Mark made a comment about Shyamalan at all (and if he did, I’m sure he wouldn’t misspell the name…three times), whether in this or past posts on the subject. The only one to bring him up was Bob Lee in the second comment.

    Comment by John -

  28. In relationship to Movie industry and the companies that own it I have very little to say about them, but about the experences I have had in the theaters throughout my life I can only say that it is an experence that I have come to enjoy for last 53 years of my life. My father worked for the Union of Motion Picture Projectionist and My Grand Father in the early 1900 in Dallas worked at the Majestic, and the Palace in Down Town Dallas. My Dad worked in the same business till he died in 1979. The reason I bring this up is that I do not know if there is a time that this industry should take a back seat to other methods that might bring more satisbaction the viewer. But I have always enjoyed my experences in the theater and I have been as you might imagine going to movies on regular basis for Many years. But ownershipoe of the theaters took people like my father and Grand father out of play Many years ago. Now people who have very little knowledge of how to improve the experence and get paid less are in charge of making sure that the show goes on from the perspctive of what my family had done for many years which was in lot of ways very creative and special. In other words owners are not really cuaght up in the creative process. But that being said the experence I get when I see a great film in a theater verus on DVD or any other method of showing it I have not been that impressed with it in any manner that makes me want to not ever go to a theater again. I have not read all the blogs that have been written on this topic but here is my 2 cents from maybe a different direction.

    Comment by Jim Blaydes -

  29. To Jim Parham:

    I wish I had the “real” James King myself but I have to settle for the name, haha.

    Comment by James King -

  30. That was a classless thing you said regarding M. Night Shymalan. The guy disagrees with you and you make a personal attack against him? I notice you do stuff like that a lot, if someone disagrees with you, you attack them personally. I bet being a billionaire has spared you quite a few ass kickings. Funny, I thought you were cool, a regular “everyman,” but now it seems like you’re a regular asshole. Shymalan actually creates something, you just throw money at things and hope they stick. I wish Shymalan had the type of personality to call you out and split your wig. At the rate you’re going, it’ll happen soon enough.

    Comment by James King -

  31. Bubble only made about $2,200 per theater. Hopefully the DVD sales were better. I would really like to see this experiment work.

    Comment by Jason -

  32. As a knicks fan I rarely find myself agreeing with you. This time I do… If there is anything I can do to help change the entertainment industry I’m there. I had been in the music industry for almost 20 years then had to jump ship as it was rat infested and sinking. I now now do photography and film. I only do music for fun, hoping someday to launch a “free” music website. I believe that art has been lost to business and money. Anyway… If you get a chance check out – http://alteredegoist.blogspot.com/

    p.s. The Mavs are my 2nd favs!

    Comment by Adam -

  33. I was looking for something else when I found Bubble. My experience is here;
    can’t wait for The world’s fastest Indian

    Comment by alan herrell - the head lemur -

  34. To be honest, I preferred the original ‘Bubble’ over the remake….


    What ever happened to “Spacevision” … man?

    3-D in HD….”Yeah, that’s the ticket!” ….Moviegoers would Lovitz!

    Jim Parham
    Yuba City, CA

    Comment by StockMaverick -

  35. Mark I went to see three movies this week at Landmark Theaters in Denver (TransAmerica, The Squid and the Whale, and Capote), so I saw the trailer for Bubble three times. I may go see your movie because of this blog, but I would never go on the basis of that trailer.

    Comment by blitz boy -

  36. Speaking of self promotion, I finally saw the Dallas Mavs hub caps on a cab as I was riding down 75. I like it, who ever thought of that had a really unique. Keep up the good work.

    Comment by Crystal -

  37. I was looking on mavgear.com and I really want a Darrell Armstrong t-shirt. He’s my favorite player! HOOK ME UP!

    Comment by Rachel -

  38. Hey this is all great and exciting stuff, but I think a few things are missing from the conversation.

    First, outrageous ticket prices for movie theatres are solely dictated by the distributor, not the exibitor. Film prints cost a lot for a theatre to rent, so they have to charge accordingly.

    Which is the second point. Who are these distributors? In most cases, the studios themselves.

    Only one posted response to this blog mentioned the Paramount decree.

    The studios were forced out of monopolozing the system of producing-distributing-exhibiting the products (movies) because it was illegal and anti-thetical to the system of competition in America. They chose to divest from owning theatres, instead opting to stay in the biz of distributing.

    They were not fools: time has borne out the fact that they make a greater fortune on this aspect than exhibition.

    The opposition posed by the NATO and others in the exhibition industry suggests a similar moment of monopoly is at hand. Their role in this game is already dead in the water.

    Funny that this should all be occurring on the turf of “independent” film: the Paramount decree was designed to level the playing field for independent, mostly local, exhibitors. Probably not multi-media conglomerates.

    As a filmmaker, I would prefer my films seen in a theatre. That is the experience that got me into this world, and that’s how the films are designed to be seen: in the otherworldliness of a large, darkened room. Not your living room. But realistically that doesn’t happen enough for makers at my level. We are independent filmmakers. Not Independent Filmmakers. You dig? We’d be more than happy with the “low budget” of any of Steven Soderbergh’s films!

    Comment by christian b -

  39. NOT pay per view, ‘Bubble’ avaiable to all HDNet subscribers on Directv, Dish Network, Time Warner Cable, Adelphia, Charter, etc…

    HDNet and HDNet Movies are part of an ‘HD Tier’ of channels, for example, on Directv, its $10 per month for HDNet, HDNet Movies, ESPN-HD, ESPN2 HD, DiscoveryHD,and Universal HD.

    Comment by karl meisenbach -

  40. I believe the movie on HDNet was a pay-per-view event. I could be wrong. If that was the case it would be very easy to track the numbers.

    Comment by Jason -

  41. If you want the Theaters to embrace this logic you should limit DVD sales to the lobby of the theaters for the first 2 weeks. Buy a ticket, see the movie, buy the DVD on the way out. Obviously there are costs associated with this, so as long as a portion of sales goes to the theaters this should not be a problem.

    After two weeks everything is free game.

    Comment by Tim Yates -

  42. How will one measure the numbers from those watching via HDNet?

    Comment by duanekeys -

  43. Great idea, great execution. Saw Bubble on DVD, as none of the theaters around Memphis bothered to book it. Isn’t it a bit odd that they’re causing me to do the very thing they say they don’t want me to do? Despite all the annoyances, I still much prefer to see a movie on the big screen. Theater owners here didn’t book Bubble, so they’ve caused me to bypass them and get the movie on disc instead… go figure.

    I like the idea of selling the movie you just saw at the concession stand. Joe Average doesn’t seem to care for extras, while us movie geeks do; perhaps the “in theater” DVD could be a no-frills, movie only disc, with a fully loaded Special Edition available months later?

    And Mark, if you’re looking to expand, a Landmark would go over great in Memphis. We have some fantastic theaters here (see malco.com), but even the indie friendly “Studio on the Square” is plagued by what I call living-room syndrome: talking, cell phones, etc. Bass Pro Shops is looking at the old Pyramid Arena downtown; if that deal falls thru, the Pyramid would make a helluva location for a theater…

    Comment by Chris -

  44. It is very hard to revolutionize the movie industry when theater distributers will not show your movie. It will be interesting to see which market (theater, DVD, HDNet) will make the most revenue from this venture. I am sure the numbers will be out shortly after January 31st when the DVD is released. Check out my blog for my thoughts on this whole process. (Just click on my name)

    Do not get me wrong…I am a huge fan of both Soderbergh and Cuban. One is a great artist and the other is a marketing genius, but for some reason Cuban has difficulty translating his marketing expertise to the movie industry. Hey Mark! Need a consultant?

    Comment by Jason -

  45. I also watched Bubble last night on HDNet. It was interesting, but I probably wouldn’t have stopped thought to watch except for the hubub it’s causing. I’ve got a decent home theater set up at home, so I always prefer to watch movies in the comfort of my home instead of sitting next to a bunch of teeny boppers. Thanks for giving folks like us the opportunity to not have to wait 6 months for the DVD.

    As for the “RIP Blockbuster” comment, I still prefer to rent than own, so I’ll still be a patraon at my local video rental store.

    Comment by duanekeys -

  46. I watched Bubble on HD Net last night. While I wasn’t blown away by it, the film is interesting and competently made. But I have already ordered the DVD from Amazon because I totally support this effort to redefine the strctured windows by which content is released. I applaud you and your business partners for your forward thinking.

    Comment by Christopher Boffoli -

  47. The idea of releasing a DVD for the movie at the same time as the release in the theatre scares executives. Why? Because of the limited budget that many families have in America (and Canada, where I’m from). Do people who go to see indie movies have this problem? Usually not. Indie fans tend to be younger, and don’t have kids. (that’s the norm, not the exception).

    However, if you were to release Finding Nemo 2 on DVD the same day it’s released in theatres, families that are on a limited budget would just buy the DVD, and save the $50 is costs for them all to buy tickets to the movie, plus the popcorn, plus the drinks. When it’s all said and done, to take a family of four to the movies, it costs approximately $55, but a DVD, which you’ll own for the rest of your life, will only cost you $20. I’m sorry, but if I’m tight for cash, but my kids really want a movie, I’m spending the $20 and buying the DVD.

    That’s why this system will not work, though it sounds great. Sorry to “burst your bubble”

    Comment by Darryl Williams -

  48. Just back a few hours ago. It was a helluva lot of fun to be part of history in the making! 🙂

    I’ve blogged a bit more about it here:


    Thanks Mark and all of the people at 2929, HDNet and everywhere else who made this happen.


    Comment by Jon Bischke -

  49. Well people are still going to drive in movies and moonlight cinema down here in Melbourne Australia.

    Comment by http://www.honewatson.com -

  50. The concept (straight to DVD will work),,,the focus however should be that the consumer now has a choice whenever going to the movie and faced with the dreaded decision what do i want to see…”do i view let’s say King Kong or Munich?”

    now….he can do both 😉

    RIP blockbuster.


    Comment by MoneyMade -

  51. I think the straight-to-DVD move is something that has been a long time coming.

    What I’d really like to see is a move toward larger theaters, not smaller ones- check out the Arlington in Santa Barbara to see what I’m talking about. It seats over 2,000 and it’s the only place I’ve ever felt the “movie magic” (as opposed to being stuffed into a small box). It’s not all about picture quality!

    Comment by Chris -

  52. I like the idea of selling the movie you just saw at the concession stand. Joe Average doesn’t seem to care for extras, while us movie geeks do; perhaps the “in theater” DVD could be a no-frills, movie only disc, with a fully loaded Special Edition available months later?

    Comment by runescape money -

  53. I bet being a billionaire has spared you quite a few ass kickings. Funny, I thought you were cool, a regular “everyman,” but now it seems like you’re a regular asshole. Shymalan actually creates something, you just throw money at things and hope they stick. I wish Shymalan had the type of personality to call you out and split your wig. At the rate you’re going, it’ll happen soon enough.

    Comment by wow powerleveling -

  54. I saw Bubble, great film. Brillant piece of work from the director who refuses to be pigeon-holed about the numbing boredom of factory work.

    Comment by Jimmy -

  55. d

    Comment by valerie -

  56. I saw The Puffy Chair today (reviewed on my site, above), and it is another platformed release (like Bubble was), this time in partnership with Netflix.

    Roadside Attractions is the theatrical distributor, and I saw it at Landmark’s E Street Theater today. But it was a matinee and I was the only person in the auditorium.

    This is a funny film and a great personality study of “masculine psyche” (Josh Sagers as a character, played by Mark Duprass, who also wrote the script).

    This site may want to encourage as many visitors as possible to see this film in a theater, and support it.

    I think that “Book of Love” (one of Gregory Smith’s films) was a similar kind of release.

    Comment by John W Boushka -

  57. They are starting to look around and ask where is our audience and what happened (the consumers are not doing what we tell them to do anymore (GASP)- How dare they? We control the media and the distrubution.) With movie theatres sucking wind, ROI on traditional advertising sliding, the media companies are realizing that the price of not changing is too great.

    Comment by cnfalv -

  58. What about services like Netflix?

    Comment by whales -

  59. “USA Today” on movies being released simultaneously in theatres and on DVD– http://news.yahoo.com/s/usatoday/whatmoviesworry The article cites “Bubble.”

    Comment by JohnD -

  60. In general is better to twist the profit-making films to show about 1-2 months at cinemas as thus they will collect most of all money! So was at us with film ” Day time patrol “. And here after that time it have started to let out on DVD. So let Hollywood let thinks as it is better to present people the films. In fact is better to look world prime-ministers at modern cinemas – in now modern equipment and a modern sound!

    Comment by whales -

  61. Dude first thing is, you guys who get on here to hate on MC need to find something better to do. Second thing, REGION FREE CODING ON DVDS LETS DO IT MC!

    Comment by Cameron -

  62. Fear of the unkown and the desire to maintain the status quo is exactly what has ailed the media and marketing business. The desire to maintain a one to many distribution and the legal structures that were written twenty and thirty years ago to support these media monopolies behind their “walled gardens”, render them, their insulated people and their models obsolete unless they come out to play in the real world more often. They are starting to look around and ask where is our audience and what happened (the consumers are not doing what we tell them to do anymore (GASP)- How dare they? We control the media and the distrubution.) With movie theatres sucking wind, ROI on traditional advertising sliding, the media companies are realizing that the price of not changing is too great. Two fascinating books on the changing media and marketing landscape are “Darknet” by J.D. Lasica and “Life after the 30-second spot” by Jopesph Jaffe.

    Comment by Gary -

  63. Brilliant! Not only will Theaters and movie studios make more money by having the movie available for sale right as you walk out, but the word of mouth buzz (FREE MARKETING!) increases exponentially. I wish we could do it with sports–make a DVD of the game you just saw available for a few dollars, so you don’t have to worry if TiVo got it. You could easily offer it as an add-on purchase when you buy your tickets online.
    BTW, The Landmark theater in Royal Oak, MI is one of my favorites. Tell me it will survive amongst the condominiums!

    Comment by Ron W -

  64. Has anyone seen Bubble? It was TEDIOUS and BORING.

    Cool trailer. Nifty biz model. Boring, slow, low energy, predictable, waste of time movie.

    Comment by Jeff Winkler -

  65. Kim,
    I see that you have the inability to respond to the point that was made and then you go on a tangent. Poor Poor Person.

    I will once again enlighten you to a small fact, here it goes.
    “The information that you posted is a week gross sales.”
    Research! Research! Research! The first week of each movie you posted and learn to add. Compare the first week of each movie.

    The information that you say “Sorry, but your free information is worth what it cost.” is because you have an inability to learn.

    Definition that you need to know

    Respond: “To make a reply; answer.”

    Learning:” The act, process, or experience of gaining knowledge or skill.”

    Research: “To study (something) thoroughly so as to present in a detailed, accurate manner”

    If there is anything that you do not understand please let me know

    Comment by Robert -

  66. Kim:

    Your view is still flawed. Bubble would still be an “art house” movie showed in smaller theatres, not huge multiplexes. Multiplexes can off-set lower numbers by certain releases with NEW RELEASES while art house show only a couple of movies. But what happens when your movies is a dog to begin with (as Bubble’s 70K over THIRTY-TWO theatres as a NEW RELEASE suggests)? That’s right, the movie is TAKEN OFF THE SCREENS. Do you think ANY theatre wants to do 2K for a NEW RELEASE? Your point is largely semantical, that’s why you are being called on it. The bottom line is you are mixing apples and oranges.

    As for Cuban’s intent, he isn’t trying to help exhibitors, he’s trying to PUT THEM OUT OF BUSINESS! He removed one of my posts that outlined his strategy. But if you want to keep believing he’s being an altruist, go right ahead.

    Comment by James King -

  67. I like your comment about “selling” I guess just about everything you do in life you are “selling” in some form or another.

    Comment by Raymond Brookside -

  68. Hey also congrats on the Smartest guys in the room, nomination I only wish I could be in the audience to cheer your team on
    -T- in Sicily

    Comment by terry armistead -

  69. Congrats on your Oscar nomination, if I am right you will be up for one with goodnight and good luck. I think movies like that are important and extremely relavant for the times. Keep up the great producing work. It’s about time that someone who actually would watch the movies they produce, is in fact, producing films. Even though you have more money than God, you actually seem like a real thinking being. And remember it’s not what you have but what you do with it that matters
    -T- in Sicily

    Comment by terry armistead -

  70. Robert –

    What research have you done on the exhibitor industry? I have learned, buddy, about doing research. I showed numbers, along with the math behind them, that the exhibitor that showed Bubble took in more per screen than the exhibitor that showed Narnia.

    Now, if you want to show some research that shows that it cost less to rent a copy of Narnia than it did to rent Bubble, do it.

    Of course the studios make the biggest chunk of the dough. That is the problem that this lack of release window is trying to fix. How many people go rushing out to buy a movie that hasn’t been in a theater? Well, pretty much no one. Direct to DVD isn’t the way a producer/studio wants to have their film distributed. Showing a film in a theater makes it a movie. Therefore, the movie theater owners add value to the studio’s product. And unless I am missing something, your brilliance hasn’t dazzled anyone with a system to compensate the movie theater owners for this service.

    He might be the biggest jerk in the world. I don’t know, as I have stated previously, I don’t know the guy. But Mark is the only one that seems to want to compensate the theater owners for adding value to the film, and instead of trying to applaud this, everyone is jumping on the Hollywood bandwagon and ripping him a new one. Sorry, but your free information is worth what it cost.

    Oh, and James, you should take a bit of your own advice. You are right in that my little formula doesn’t take into account a lot of things, but what you don’t seem to understand is that the studio would be going broke with 70k in a weekend, not the theater. Depending on rent, markup on concessions, other costs, the same income could kill a theater or keep it thriving. The numbers don’t differentiate different ticket prices either, so I would venture the opinion (Yes, I did say “Opinion”) that the Narnia money was at a higher price point than the boutique theaters that showed Bubble. (Another reason to abandon box office dollars and go by ticket sales)

    My point, which seems lost by now, is that the theater owner with a screen dedicated to Narnia or Last Holiday took in less than if they had shown Bubble. The spin of “your math is questionable” or “you are not taking into account all of the variables” doesn’t alter this.

    Oh, and James, yes, we do agree that there should be enhanced venues and newer actors.

    Comment by Kim Henderson -

  71. Kim Henderson
    As stated by you “The Hollywood hype machine would have you crying over the poor theater owners that showed this movie. Sounds like they are not getting that bad a deal.”

    Please satisfy this request: If you want to talk about the exhibitor industry REASEARCH THE INFORMATION. Do not just skim information and make assumption.
    Look up the income statements of the studios compared to the exhibitors. Now tell me, who really make the money off of the movies?

    I “assume” that this information will help in the future. Since you did not learn this at any stage in your life, now you are enlightened. Yes, you are welcome no thanks needed. Now take this free information and prosper.
    Please note the pun.

    Comment by Robert -

  72. Kim:

    I also stated in another post that Hollywood can rebound easily by lowering costs (such as giving newer, lower-paid actors more opportunities) and creating venues that ENHANCE the movie going experience (IMAX being an example). So I don’t disagree with you in that respect.

    Comment by James King -

  73. Kim:

    I called it “questionable math” because your equation doesn’t even begin to address the myriad of costs associated with a movie. And, even if your equation came within the general ballpark of accuracy re: complete cost (which it doesn’t), a theatre would GO BROKE bringing in 70K for a new release. Your comparison just doesn’t paint a full picture which, in truth, is ridiculously bleak as it concerns Bubble.

    “If I had a nice home theater, you betcha I’d consider seeing the movie first week at home. With better food than the theaters, and no pesky kids getting in the way, it would be a better experience for a lot of movies.”

    I posted in another of Cuban’s self-serving blogs that the vast improvements in price and quality of home theatre equipment is a bigger threat to movie theatres than piracy so I don’t disagree with you there (mainly because people will just WAIT for a release to DVD. This is more an issue with the QUALITY of Hollywood movies than the release situation). Cuban knows that a simultaneous release of movies into all major distribution channels would harm major studios and help his fledgling outfit. Sure, the strategy MIGHT help other independent film makers but how many have his connections and access to cable and DVD distribution channels? Very, very, VERY few. He’s feeding the public snake oil under the guise of “challenging the establishment.” It’s all B.S.

    Comment by James King -

  74. James, et al,

    Did I say it was a blockbuster? No. You inferred it from my commentary.

    Questionable math? The equation is right there. Dollars taken in divided by screens shown equals dollars per screen. Now, if you start to question wheter he will be making any money off of this, or his production company, I don’t see anything in my original comment on this. Once again, you are inferring.

    Last weekend, if I was a movie house, had one theater, and showed Narnia, I would have taken in less money than if I had shown Bubble. Which means less tickets, which means less candy counter sales. Overall, less dollars over the weekend taken in.

    Granted, I am not talking about huge differences here, but if the movie is good (Don’t know when I might see it, since I don’t care for Soderbergh’s work), then more will go and see it. Look at Napoleon Dynamite. It’s box office went up for weeks after it hit a small run of theaters, and more and more theaters carried it.

    Or, it could light the DVD world on fire. I don’t know anyone who saw Office Space in theaters, but everyone I know has the DVD.

    And if it isn’t good? Well, Mark can learn a lesson there as well. Unless you have huge amounts of corporate tie-ins and promotional campaigns, like a free Bubble doll with a BK value meal, a crappy movie won’t make it at the box office.

    I don’t know Mark, I never met the guy, I hate basketball. I just think this is the future of movie exhibition. I’m not married, don’t have kids, but I love going to movies. In the L.A. area, I end up seeing first runs at the Arclight, because the rest of the theaters are full of screaming kids, even at night, and people taking cell phone calls, and no one seems to have any respect for the movie going experience. Oh, and did I mention the dozens of commercials on the screen before the movie starts? Who the hell said that was ok? I didn’t see my ticket price go down for that, and calling it “pre-show entertainment” is a crock. Arclight charges a bit more, but the only trailers are the ones attached at the studio, the butter is real on the popcorn, plenty of staff, they bar young kids (obviously with their parents) from R movies, and they have a coctail lounge. Like Mark said, they offer a better experience. IMAX is the same. Since no one wants to have their commercials up-res’d to 70mm, the local IMAX theater at Citywalk just shows the film. Maybe a trailer for another IMAX movie, but trailers aren’t necessarily evil.

    If I had a nice home theater, you betcha I’d consider seeing the movie first week at home. With better food than the theaters, and no pesky kids getting in the way, it would be a better experience for a lot of movies.

    Comment by Kim Henderson -

  75. Mark,

    As I am typing this I am finishing up the movie “Bubble” on dvd. I did not purchase this dvd, nor did I pay money to rent it outright. Through Netflix I was sent this movie and watched it.

    I am glad I did not spend money to see this movie. It was cheap looking, with mediocre acting and a lackluster story. I do not think that movies like “Bubble” will solve the movie-viewing business, as the only thing that can save it is quality of movies.

    Hollywood is too quick to devote tons of money towards big budget movies that are unoriginal, feature outlandish stunts and boring stories. If they are to succeed they will need to refocus their efforts on stories and attempt to keep costs down. This will result in more profitable movies for them, and a better product for the viewers.

    No blockbuster will ever make money if it is released simultaneously on DVD. This fad may work with low budget snoozefests like “Bubble”, but there is no way that you can make more money with a movie like “Kong” by releasing the full movie on DVD when the movie is showing in theaters. Do the math, Kong might sell more DVD’s initially but cannibalize theater ticket sales. Kong will sell well on DVD regardless of when it is released so there is no problem. You can’t say that someone renting a movie for $4 and showing it to 6-8 people will make more money in the long run for movie studios.

    I go to Indiana University and have some of the same teachers you had in the past, and I think that you usually have a great outlook on most business ideas, but I think you are off some here. I must congratulate you on one thing though, keeping “Bubble” to only 1 hr 12 minutes. I can’t tell you how glad I was when it ended.


    Comment by Jon Schneider -

  76. I’m tired of the theater experience with the $5 popcorn, the idiots yelling in the back row and the 30 people in the refreshment line because the theater can’t afford to hire help. Give me a break. The only thing I care to see in a theater is IMax. That’s an experience you can’t enjoy at home. My surround sound rocks and the experience is real. Theaters are dead… IMHO

    Comment by Game Copier Reviews -

  77. Jason:

    Soderbergh couldn’t have GIVEN this film away. No matter what, it was an art house project that wouldn’t have made it to more than 200 or 300 screens at best. If you really believe this film would have been carried in a significant number of theatres, I have a bridge in Brooklyn I want to sell you. You have it backwards, Cuban did the simultaneous release BECAUSE he couldn’t get it in enough theatres.

    As for the my comments regarding the numbers, you are SUPPORTING MY ARGUMENT! Cuban hasn’t grossed enough on this movie to make a DENT in his expenses for it. Pay attention.

    Comment by James King -

  78. So, what did everyone think about the film itself?

    Comment by lauren -

  79. James King:

    THe reason Cuban could not get the film released in more theaters was because of the simultaneous release. Bubble was a Soderbergh film. If 2929 productions decided not to release the DVD and show it on HDNet more theater owners would have shown the movie. I am not critisizing the Cuban’s process, but to think he released the DVD close to the theater release because he knew that theater owners were not going to play the movie is an insane thought.

    And to clarify something…$2,200 per theater is a lousy return, and it does not matter how many theaters the movie was playing in. That is why it is called an average. It boils down to the fact that theater owners did not embrace this new type of distribution. With all the free publicity this movie got, it should have done much better. Do the math!

    Comment by Jason -

  80. No one around here is showing it. It’s too bad they all have to gang up on the newest thing.

    Comment by Christine -

  81. Sorry, Robert pretty much said the same thing but I read his response AFTER I posted. Go Robert.

    Comment by James King -

  82. John:

    Fine with me. Anyone who’d defend Mark Cuban for disrespecting someone isn’t worth my time anyway.




    Notwithstanding your questionable math, a movie theatre will go out of business QUICKLY only bringing in $70,664 for a new release. And that was 70K between THIRTY-TWO theatres. Cuban’s film cost 1.7 million to make… do the math.

    People, pay attention. Mark Cuban stands to gain the most from a simultaneous release because he could never hope to gain a return on investment distributing to theatres alone because he doesn’t have the channels. He can only get his movies in a HANDFUL of theatres… and there’s no money in that. However, he already has inroads in cable and DVD distribution. It’s not altruism or the desire to change an industry that is motivating him, but simple economics… he just wants to capitalize on his marketing efforts in a way that will allow him to get the most eyes on his projects as quickly as possible. A staggered release means he has to continuously market in order to compete with the major studios or else his titles will languish in limbo. By releasing in theatres, cable, and on DVD, he gets the benefit of “striking while the iron is hot” and maximizing his marketing efforts while the movie is fresh and may generate interest. It’d be death to try to stagger release Bubble… the lack of theatres showing it would relegate it to obscurity from the first showing and he’d have a hell of a time attempting to push a movie through cable and DVD that no one wanted to see in a theatre in the first place. Placing the distribution methods on even footing gives HIS company a chance to compete but ultimately doesn’t benefit the major studios AT ALL. Great if you’re Mark Cuban or one of his fans but bad business for everyone else. Mark Cuban isn’t being a “rebel,” he’s using GOOD BUSINESS SENSE! That doesn’t make him right, it makes him a good businessman. So all of you guys cheering him on need to have your priorities examined. He’s no hero, he’s a BILLIONAIRE attempting to create a market for his PRODUCT, nothing more.

    Comment by James King -

  83. Keep in mind exhibitors due not receive all of the grosses from movies, studios keep high percentages in the beginning of a movies run and charge a rental fee per week.
    Mark, The real reason for this revolution is to add more money to your pocket. The movie is in your theatres, from your studio, and on your cable network.
    From website: http://www.boxoffice.com/scripts/newsviewstory.asp?ID=7520
    “As a producer, I want to make it fun and easy to see movies. Movies are ‘top of mind’ when they are released. The cost to promote a movie has gone through the roof and distributors challenge themselves every day to find better ways.”

    From Website: http://www.boxoffice.com/scripts/newsviewstory.asp?ID=7520
    “You can cook your own meals, but we go to restaurants. We can watch every game on TV, but the worst teams sell 10K-plus tickets in the NBA, NHL and MLB. Theaters have done a terrible job of creating the perception that movies are a great value.”

    Please think carefully for a moment, The NBA, NHL and MLB are a “single occurrence” meaning: something that takes place only once. People go to these events for this exact reason. The outcome of a NBA, NHL and MLB game is never the same. If going to a game produced the same outcome over and over again; I do not believe there would be anyone interested. For this reason, movie theatres do not keep making the same amount of money for every showing of a movie. People are just not interested in repetition. Mark, take time to think of the people, not your pocket book.

    I do agree theatres have done a terrible job. Exhibitors, some not all, have gotten away from the magic of movies and the atmosphere that should be created for the movies. Only time will tell who is right or wrong.

    Comment by Robert -

  84. I hope Mark is holding his head up high.

    I went over to Yahoo! Movies, and checked out the box office.

    Interesting things show up if you run the numbers:

    big mamas house – $27,736,056/3261=$8505/screen
    nanny mcphee – $14,503,650/1995=$7270/screen
    underworld:evolution – $11,402,172/3207=$3556/screen
    Annapolis – $7,681,171/1605=$4785/screen
    hoodwinked – $7,480,089/3020=$2476/screen
    Brokeback Mountain – $6,542,081/1654=$3955/screen
    Glory Road – $5,345,859/2397=$2230/screen
    Last Holiday – $4,802,618/2242=$2142/screen
    Chronicles of Nanria – $4,504,990/2170=$2076/screen
    The Matador – $3,612,663/885=$4082/screen
    Bubble – $70,664/32=$2208/screen

    So, if you were a theater owner showing Bubble, on average, you took in more than a theater owner showing Chronicles of Narnia or Last Holiday. Plus, you will (according to what has been written here and other places) you will get some taste of the DVD sales.

    The Hollywood hype machine would have you crying over the poor theater owners that showed this movie. Sounds like they are not getting that bad a deal.

    Comment by Kim Henderson -

  85. “The problem is that Hollywood is numbers driven”

    In contrast to Mark Cuban, who is some sort of philanthropist, gladly sharing his love of film with us for free.

    Comment by future_of_film -

  86. The large theatre chains have always attempted to milk money out of their customers. Going straight to DVD is a gutsy, yet smart move.

    Comment by Mr. Holla -

  87. Just saw the 12:30 showing of Bubble in Dallas. Very interesting and original. Everyone should see it just for the concept. You can read my review on rottentomatoes.

    Comment by netjunkie -

  88. I think this is a great way to test the day and date release strategy.

    Imagine if ‘March of the Penguins’ were available for all the families to purchase on the way out. Moms are always looking for wholesome family entertainment for their kids to watch over and over again. Last I checked, the movie didn’t do as well as similar movies with box office receipts in excess of $77 million in the US.

    Then again, if Star Wars was released on DVD on the same day it probably would have grossed more in the first few weeks, but slightly less overall. I don’t know how the marketing/merchandising effects the overall profitability, but this doesn’t seem to be a fit for simultaneous release.

    There’s one thing missing…the DVD sold in the theatres needs to be a souvenir, not a concession. Customers need to separate the experience of overpriced popcorn from a DVD that has extraordinary value because it has the ability to allow the customer to connect with and continue the movie experience or provide the theatre with $30 in revenues without having to fill a seat.

    Here in Seattle we’re testing very little, discrete vending machines that are approximately 30x20x10in. (You can see our CinePod at http://www.cinevend.com) This is a great solution for theatres that want to add value, revenues, reinforce the ‘souvenir of value rather than confection of little value’ and provide this service without adding any major expenses to each theatre.

    Way to go for throwing caution to the wind. I think this business model was due for updating some time ago and it takes vision and courage to make it happen.

    Comment by Gregory R. Kriegler -

  89. I am so sick of listening to Charles and Kenny. All they say is we don’t play defense. But they’re stupid. Because we’ve won our last 5 games PLAYING defense. So what that shows me is that they’re taking the easy way out, saying the easy thing to say, and not actually putting in any work to analyze the game we play to see that we can stifle people. We limited Golden State to no field goals until 4 min left in the 4th quarter. What’s up with that?

    What it makes me want to do is not listen to them anymore, because what they say is not credible. You might not be credible according to them, but they’re no better. They’re lazy guys who jump on the bandwagon with whoever is hot as long as it’s not the Mavs.

    Comment by david -

  90. “We are working on offering Ipod/speaker connectivity from each seat. ”

    I have been asking for this for years!!!
    Put a headphone jack in every seat!!
    Rent head phone to whoever you want!!
    Ohhh. Rent wireles headphones so you will not miss anything when you go to the bathroom!!!!

    Then you can ignore all the noise around u !!!

    can’t wait to see Bubble!!

    Great job on CNBC the other morning!!

    Comment by bill -

  91. I don’t know anything about the movie theater business, but I know that I have never had a negative movie-going experience at the Inwood or the Magnolia theater in Dallas. Frankly, along with the Angelika theater on Mockingbird, these are the only three places in Dallas where I would want to see a movie. Even though I live in Ft Worth now(we don’t have a Landmark theater here, hint hint), I will happily make the 50 mile drive to Dallas to see a movie at the Magnolia. And now with Bubble, I have the option to visit the theater or to purchase the DVD in a few days and watch it at home(which probably means I will end up seeing more of the movies because it’s just not possible for me to make that 50 mile drive all the time)…I don’t know anything about the movie/theater business, but it appears that this strategy is giving me, the customer, all of the convenience to make it as easy as possible for to see a movie that I really want to see. Surely they could find a way to make more money with this approach than the current method, which seems almost to be set up to antagonize the movie goer, to make it dificult for us to enjoy the experience.

    I just read the LA Times article linked in Cuban’s post. My favourite part was:

    “As to our corporate bosses in New York, it’s not my place to say their view is incorrect,” Alan Horn, president of Warner Bros., said of his colleagues at Time Warner. “But … while we embrace new technologies, we do so with deliberation, caution and forethought.”

    It’s the last part of that quote that kills me. They embrace new technology with deliberation and caution. That’s an interesting approach. It’s a bit like Lewis and Clark saying, “Sure, we’d like to explore the American Northwest, but we don’t know what’s out there. Let’s wait until they build a city called Portland, with an airport, then we can just book a flight. We’ll be legends!”

    Comment by Tim -

  92. I’m a new reader of your blog & a bit confused. What is it about your release strategy that would have made you think the Hollywood folks & theatre owners would say “screw him?”

    As a 45 yr old guys who “goes to” the movies once a year I concur w/ your comments about the theatres needing to add value (not margin $’s to the price of popcorn, ugh).

    I don’t know much about Bubble but I do get & enjoy HDNET & HDNET Movies.

    Comment by Mike Wright -

  93. i can’t wait to see bubble, but why isn’t IU screening a movie produced by one of their own??? this is a crime ecspecially since IU is pretty good about showing independants…maybe u can pull some strings so we can see it here or else i will have to resort to netflix

    Comment by Mike -

  94. Surprisingly….OVERSTOCK.com is pushing the “Bubble”….


    Comment by StockMaverick -

  95. I was just watching Nightline and saw the story about simultaneous release movies! That is so great. And I don’t believe it will hurt the film industry in the least. Everybody wants to go and see movies on the big screen. It will add so much more for people who love all kinds of movies. I didn’t even know who Mark Cuban was before watching the show tonight, but thank you for this great idea and for supporting independent films which I love and am involved in making. I can’t wait to see Bubble and all the rest that comes from this.

    Comment by Karen from Omaha -

  96. Mark, I wish you success in “Bubble” but I am not seeing this & I will tell you exactly why. The combination of a cast of complete unknowns & for me personally, not that exciting or unique plot/storyline, makes this totally uninteresting for me in any media form. I & I think many other people are not going to see this movie just because Steven Soderbergh is directing, nothing personal he doesn’t draw a significant audience just because of his involvement. I think if somehow you could have started this venture with a Quentin Tarentino then you would have had a super draw including people like myself. I also think if you did a horror movie like Hostal you might have had much more success. Lastly, if this was a movie I was truly interested in, I would gladly pay $7 to watch it on pay TV rather then go to a movie to put up with the BS & your $30 charge for a DVD is about $15 more then I would pay, sorry. In summary, I applaud what your doing but think you used a really lame movie project
    to open up with & are charging too much for the DVD.

    Comment by Hershon -

  97. Bubble comes to a the Landmark Oriental here in Milwaukee this weekend. And no, I won’t be going to see it. Why would I? I can rent it for half as much, and watch it without other people talking or having to pay 5 bucks for a soda. And I love seeing movies in the theatre.

    Comment by Brent -

  98. Roflmao!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!1

    after reading the brilliant industrys comments. Afterwards,they all went to the parking lot,cranked up the Belair Chevy put the tape in the add on 8 track player from Ben Franklins “hardware”.They shifted the 3 on the tree transmission and went to their therapist first and then the bow tied attorneys to see what they could do about the new UNFAIR competition.

    Comment by Ron D -

  99. I think Dr. Mark Cole, listed in post # 38, may very well be offering to help finance the next film.

    Comment by EJ -

  100. Seeing how Bubble only cost $2 million to make – why am I having to pay $10 to see it? A new Merecedes and a new Ford Escort don’t have the same sticker price. How come my 32 inch regular TV isn’t the same price as the 32 inch HD Plasma screen? Your movie cost 1/50th of “Fun With Dick and Jane” and you’re not charging me a quarter to see it.

    And when it comes to selling Bubble, I’m not sold enough to pay to see it on TV, DVD or Theatrical. I pull up the trailer on apple and it’s just babydoll parts. Is this a documentary about a doll factory? How exactly do you expect to lure me in with that campaign? If you want to see how to put together a trailer – check out Porkys – that trailer is pure gold – they keep setting up situations and then promising we’ll see what’s on the side of those holes or the doors to Porky’s if we come on down to the theater. What does your trailer promise me? How to make dolls? That doesn’t even cut if for John Ratzenberger’s Made In America teaser.

    Yes the modern multiplex has pretty much turned modern exhibition into merely a “plug and play” system. Look at what theater used to do to hype film – they’d cover themselves in artwork. Check out the bonus feature on Hitchcock’s Psycho when they explain how to properly present the film. And look at how the theater is decorated to promote the title – it’s not merely a crummy poster on murderer’s row and an overhead door marker.

    Comment by Joe Corey -

  101. They should really vary the content shown in theaters more. How awesome would it be if you could go to the theatre at 11pm on a weeknight and watch the daily show with your friends for five bucks, including popcorn. Nothing is playing at that time anyway, and it would be totally awesome to watch Jon Stuart in a theater packed with roudy hardcore republican-bashing fans.

    Comment by Alex Krupp -

  102. I read all your posts. It struck me that the similarities between the theater owners lack of understanding/caring about the customer and general “I don’t give a shit” additude and the commercial airlines are exaclty the same. The airlines fail to deliver a good product and they are always holding out thier hats for federal assistance. Virgin and Jet Blue are okay the rest suck. Can Air Cuban with first run movies be far away?

    Comment by dan -

  103. People used to go to theaters not because of the great experience, but because there was no was other option available. If someone wanted to see a film before it was released on video or television, that person would have no other option but to see it in the theater (perhaps repeatedly). A strong theatrical release would yield a strong release in ancillary markets. By closing the gap between home video and theatrical release, studios will put an end to any sort of decent return on theatrical receipts. The theater experience of the past was seldom as good as it is today. There was no stadium seating or cupholders or Dolby. Simultaneous release WILL put an end to theaters as we know it. Which is a shame because movie theaters offer a unique experience. And using this new model, it is doubtful that films will earn as much income as they have in the past.

    Comment by Dan -

  104. Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Right now, it’s easy for me to recreate the movie-going experience right in my home.

    1 – I put in the movie while my girlfriend yaps on her cell phone
    2 – Play a CD of a baby crying
    3 – Not wash my floor for 12 years
    4 – Charge myself $72 each time I go to the fridge.

    When threatened, most people (and businesses) are reactionary and defensive. You are 100% right. Why not take it as wake-up call?

    The Theater-going experience is incredibly mediocre. I read somewhere that in the beginning, if a scary movie was playing, movie theaters would have shaking seats. Or a guy runs through the audience screaming.

    Where is this innovation today? Why not a true “experience”? Smells? Smoke machines? Luxury boxes with leather massage chairs? 3-D images? A bouncer who removes loud patrons?

    If holding a 3 month monopoly on a film is your only advantage, then you are in deep trouble.

    Note: the “smells” in the movie theater would great for the freshly cut grass of a baseball movie, or the perfume of a romance, but probably not as great for that close-up of King-Kong’s mouth.

    Comment by Scott -

  105. >>I’ve wondered for years why the movie studios didn’t go vertical and start buying movie theater chains.<< Way back when, that's exactly the business model that was in place. Unfortunately, it led to predatory practices such as block bookings. Ultimately that resulted in the "Paramount" case and the 1940 consent decree, which eventually led to the studios divesting themselves of exhibition and retaining production and distribution. They correctly realized that by controlling the distribution channels, they would still control the industry. Even today, films are booked into theaters the old fashioned way: through long-standing relationships. Technology and the Internet are reducing the barriers to production and distribution, increasing the opportunities for exhibition and creating ever-fragmenting audiences. The major entertainment companies will pay attention only when the economic tipping point is reached and not one second earlier precisely for the reasons Mark pointed out: they're basically in it for the money and highly risk averse. When I worked at one of the majors back in 1997, I asked the head of home enterainment whey they weren't getting into DVDs. He practically laughed me out of the room. The day will come when the aggregate "markets of one" will be financially attractive enough for the majors to get in. Maybe this time, one or more of the newer distribution models will have become dominant enough to beat them. As for the movie going experience, I used to take vacation time during Filmex (early 1980's) to see 100 films in two weeks. Now, it takes a Star Wars or some other event movie to get me into a theatre, except when I'm in LA and can reserve a seat at Arclight for a 21+ screening to see a movie the way it was intended: no commercials, adults who respect the other members of the audience and excellent projection and sound. I think there are a lot of people who would go to movies more if the overall experience was more pleasant. What ever happened to treating customers like they were guests at your house?

    Comment by Ralph -

  106. I read yesterday that the “Ray” DVD was released publicly while the movie was still in theaters and it grossed $85M the first WEEK versus the boxoffice receipts of $75M. If this tactic is as bad as the theater owners say it is, then someone’s missing something.

    Comment by Keith Amodt -

  107. Mark,
    Have you considered a transition step of giving away the popcorn, but still charging (within reason) for drinks? No one’s going to eat a ton of free, salty popcorn without buying a large drink, but everyone will feel like they’re getting a good deal. You might even find you make more money selling all those drinks.


    Comment by Josh Christie -

  108. Theater owner executives, just like most CEOs that are interviewed Sunday Morning, focus on “business” rather than “product”. “We need to increase revenue and reduce cost.” “Our stock buy-back program will help….”. They obviously think it is easier to squeeze more profits from the existing infrastructure than innovate and concentrate on pleasing customers.

    Comment by Alan Kleymeyer -

  109. If you *really* want to improve the theatres, give us duckhunt, and guns in every seat, and prizes!

    Comment by Aidan -

  110. So when is it due for release in the UK then?

    Just wondering.

    Comment by Simon Proctor -

  111. Mark-

    Love what you are doing. Give the customers what they want, the way they want to get it. This may be something you are already throwing efforts at or have talke about in your blog, but when cable or satellite goes ala carte then I will be happy. Let me pick my channels, pay for what I watch and control what comes into my house. I watched the very interesting court discussions on this. When will this happen? By the way, Landmark could use a website update, give us call at Precisional and we will take good care of you. We believe in our company.

    Comment by Todd Richardson -

  112. The concept of day and date release which aligns the content provider to multiple types of distribution immediately will serve only to rearrange the monies available in the channel. If the platform or windows system is removed several industries will face a serious problem. The theaters which are usually first in line will give up their monopoly on the content. Currently there are too many theaters in the US. A glut of megaplexes sucking wind because of bad lease deals or exhorbitant operating expenses. Without the monopoly they will fail. That failure trickles down. If a megaplex fails at a shopping mall, the mall no longer has its anchor retailer bringing feet into the establishments. And so, maybe the whole mall dies. This is the type of shock that can produce ripples in commercial real estate. The monopoly is ingrained into the business planning and supports a lot of business development.

    Also, I noted that the day and date release strategy effects a couple of other entities not mentioned in your arguments. The window system also includes rental stores, and pay per view. These industries also rely on the monopoly for thier existence. How will a distribution change effect those businesses and the surrounding economies by squeezing thier revenue sources?

    By skewing the current distribution arrangement you would be allowing your companies full access to all of the revenues.

    I don’t disagree that content providers should share in the lion’s share of sales, but it seems that your arguments have glossed over the full impact of your day and date release scheme. Additionally, it may seem you have omitted other areas of resistance to your idea that need to be addressed.

    Comment by Tozour -

  113. The Ipod connection for soundtrack downloads are great, but the theatres should push the marketing/synergy even more. I trust the Landmark Theater’s selection here in Chicago more than any other theater I’ve been to. Heck I actually trust it more than most reviewers/critics. Set up packages for me tailored directly to the film you’re showing. Give me trailers of the director’s previous films. Breakdowns of how he shot the movie. Heck, let me skip the dvd purchase in the lobby; sell me a deluxe ticket for $5-10 more and I’ll download the movie to my Ipod/PSP while the movie is playing.

    I can’t say enough good things about what you and your companies are doing FOR Hollywood right now. Sooner or later the experiment will prove itself and everyone will rush to clone the experience. You’d think Hollywood would recognize how blimdsided the music industry by trying to avoid and fight something like downloadable music.

    Comment by Ryan -

  114. This reminds me a little bit of how Yahoo!’s CFO said a few days back that Google’s search engine is so much better now that they’ve given up the goal of ever being #1 and they’re happy to just maintain their market share. Capitulation doesn’t seem to be good business strategy.

    Comment by Peter T Davis -

  115. Amen. I couldn’t agree more that there are different benefits to the various movie-viewing experiences. I love the Inwood and Magnolia because I can see movies there that I might not see anywhere else, but I’ll also spend money to see a movie at the Inwood that I already own on DVD at midnight on a weekend. It’s FUN to go OUT and have a drink and see a favorite movie on the big screen.

    The same goes for some major studio releases, too. I don’t care if they’d released Star Wars on DVD before it came out in theaters- I still would have schlepped out to Plano to see the fully digital, BIG screen experience (even with obnoxious kids).

    It’s kind of like how I TRY to catch as many Mavs games at the AAC that I can each season. I catch most of the rest on ESPN Radio, but if they’re playing the Spurs or Pistons (or Suns or Lakers), I’ll visit my Dad and his big-screen TV to catch it on HDNet.

    Comment by Laura Cullen -

  116. AO Smith makes water heaters. AO Scott writes about films, and sometimes about videos like BUBBLE, for the New York Times.

    Comment by Brian -

  117. Derek, Derek, Derek. Know your history.


    Comment by Jason Scott -

  118. The reason the Studios don’t buy theatres is because that’s not the business they’re in… The theatre owners have huge capital outlays to be in the business they’re in… that’s why they are really popcorn sellers, above all. Popcorn is the only thing that has crazy enough of a profit margin to make the whole enterprise somewhat worthwhile. Plus the Studios know that the theatre business is in constant decline….which is why they are smart and are going to dvd, on demand, etc. Remember, Content is King. The theatre is just the distribution channel. They are always going to be at the mercy of their content provider.

    Comment by Shawn -

  119. I love the Magnolia! I recently say Brokeback Mountain and TransAmerica there. The preview for Bubble did look interesting!

    Comment by Hopluv -

  120. Any thoughts on the Pixar purchase? Do you think Steve Jobs on the Disney Board is a positive thing for the studio culture?

    Comment by matt -

  121. You know what, I’d like to go see Bubble. From what I’ve checked out I think it’d be very interesting. Heck, I’m a fan of your ‘breaking the rules’ strategy, I’d even see it out of support for that.

    But I won’t. Cause I can’t. Cause I live in Europe.

    While you’re at it, fix that release problem.
    So here’s my idea of a business opportunity to you.

    Now, I think it’d be great if you would dedicate a post or something to what business you’d decide to get into right now, if you were 20 years younger and not have the financial resources you’ve got today.

    I think you’re a true entrepreneur in every way, and I wish you and your endeavours well.

    Comment by Michael Nevins -

  122. Ebert and Ropert? Roeper. Come on, if they’re going to call it a masterpiece, the least you can do is a google – er icerocket – search for the correct spelling.

    Go Mavs.

    Comment by Rob -

  123. I’ve wondered for years why the movie studios didn’t go vertical and start buying movie theater chains. They would have the ability to market their own products without competition within the theater and lobbies inculding posters, previews, interactive consoles for gaming or trivia, and plenty of items I can’t even imagine. It would also be an easy way to sell those DVDs or even their straight to video features, again without the competition of other production houses. Then throw in the previous comments you made about books, CDs, toys, etc and they’d stand to make a killing. Can’t you see a Disney owned theater and the obvious built in marketing that could come along with it? And again they can differentiate by having a children targeted theater (for the animated films or Herbie-type kid/preteen flicks) and then an adult-oriented theater (not that kind of adult-oriented) to show the Touchstone/Miramax films. It would only help to further enforce their brands.

    As for me, I’ll be watching Bubble on HDNet Friday. If I enjoy, I will go see it again in the theater, just like I did for Enron (and took paying friends to the theater). Day and date is genius and overdue.

    Comment by DerekF -

  124. You need to correct the HTML in your post- your link to HDNet films doesn’t work. (It goes to http://www.blogmaverick.com/www.hdnetfilms.com).

    On the subject of “Bubble” in particular… I am definitely curious to see it. Like a lot of parents of young kids, I get out to see movies in theaters less than I’d like, so I gravitate towards the larger-than-life spectacle films that must be seen on the big screen. “Bubble” is the sort of thing I would just as soon see on DVD. Which leads me to my amused point- it’s nice not to have to wait.

    Comment by Dan Newit -

  125. As an HDNet subscriber, I’ve got my Tivo set to record the showing. I just wish there was a better way to know when these films are shown. Other than happening upon them in the program guide, or reading your blog . . . how about an RSS feed of new programming on HDNet, an email list, or more promos on other HD channels? I guess it comes down to finding new ways to market the release.

    Any chance we’ll see re-runs on HDNet of previous same-day releases such as Enron . . . I missed it the first time and would love to see it, but not so much that I would want to buy the DVD.

    Comment by Robert -

  126. I’ve been a happy subscriber to HDNet for a year now and can’t wait to see this. I know it’s not technically “free” because of the HDNet subscription cost, but it feels like it. Everyone likes to feel like they got a good deal.

    I’m wondering about the distribution on DVD: the theater/HDNet release is on a Friday and the DVD goes on sale the following Tuesday. What about services like Netflix?

    Comment by Bryan Peters -

  127. Guess I’ll have to see it on DVD, nobody in Orange County CA seems to have the balls to show it, and driving 50 miles to go see a movie is’t going to cut it.

    Comment by Jack Kendall -

  128. I don’t see any locations in Portland (OR).

    McMenamins brewery theatre-lots of those, but no Landmarks here, as far as I can see. Too bad.

    Comment by Haake -

  129. Keep it up Mark! I can’t wait to see Bubble and the real effect your same-day release has on the industry. Also, by no means does one movie make your concept a winner or loser but it does pave the way for new thinking. As I’ve said in a previous post, I go to the theater 1-2 times per week and if I liked a movie in the theater, I would buy the DVD the same day if it was available. It’s about reaching a larger audience and giving the consumer choice. Of course the theater owners are worried but I think they are going to be pleasantly surprised with the results.

    Comment by David Ward -

  130. I’ve read a lot of articles about the day and date dance. Truth is… its all about marketing a product (the film) – and that should be done in the best way to get results (ticket sales, rentals, advertising for tv, etc…). I believe marketing strategies for films should simply vary more. Event films are events – so use the traditional theater strategy – niche films are not events and need more opportunity to create buzz and get out there. Each film should be marketed as a product in and off itself – and the content is the product. I could even justify a viral email strategy for the right film. Everyone should relax – it is not about “art” or “no art” and the “viewing experience” – it is about building and audience for a property in the most effective way possible. Bottom line – there is room for all of these strategies to work. Why is there all this press about one or the other? I celebrate new approaches – new ideas – and this idea of using all these mediums to build an audience for what is probably a niche type film is great. Good luck – I’ll catch it on HDTV (because I have little kids and its tough to get out to a theater).

    Comment by Dean -

  131. Luis,

    Go to Magnolia in the West Village on McKinney in Dallas. You will love it.


    Comment by Blake Rhodes -

  132. I wonder how many of the directors quoted in the LA Times article have been to a megaplex recently, especially to see their own films. I’ve read about Shymalan’s home theater; I believe he screens films for up to 10-12 people at a time. Hardly the Regal experiences I’ve had.

    The main reason the industry likes release windows is that it gives them the opportunity keep a film in the public consciousness for a period of time they can manage. So that flops can be pulled to make way for hits. So that the DVD rental/sale business doesn’t get to feed from the same advertising blitz as the theatrical premiere. A great film released simultaneously on all formats will probably hold its own in the market. I think this will be the issue that finally gets Hollywood to make fewer, stronger movies.

    Comment by aharden -

  133. Info on Landmark, for those who were in the dark like me…

    Comment by Luis -

  134. This is an interesting post and great point of view. I know in speaking with friends that most of us (35+) would prefer a more tailored movie experience. There are also a lot of friends that do not go to movies that often and have commented after seeing a DVD that they wished they would have seen it in the theater. If they could have watched the DVD the same time the movie was in the theater, they would have gone to the theater and seen the movie again. Most just do not want to spend the $9+ ticket price in case they don’t like the movie.

    On a separate note, this summer I went to more Anaheim Angels games than movies, the right-field bleachers were cheaper and I had more fun at the game. Now I am doing the same with hockey and the Ducks. My friend and I got 4 game package deals that made the nose bleed seats $15 with a soda and hot dog. Cheaper than the movie and much more fun. The theater chains need to take your advice and enhance the experience or they will lose more and more customers. Now I need to go to the Landmark website and see where one is….

    Comment by Kim -

  135. Mark, if I didnt read your blog, I wouldnt know anything about Bubble or your other movies. Landmark theatres? Where is there a Landmark theater? I need to do some research. If part of your goal is to promote change in movie watching, you got me interested.

    Comment by Luis -

  136. BTW, as the father of a 5 month old and owner of a nice HD home theatre system, thank you, thank you, thank you. I *hate* going to the movie theatre and would gladly pay twice as much to watch a movie as soons as it comes out in the comfort of my own home. Screw M. Night Shyamalan. 😉

    Comment by Bob Lee -

  137. Will I be able to get HDNet on Comcast in the Bay Area anytime soon?

    Comment by Bob Lee -

Comments are closed.