Author Topic: 2929 signs Sod for six pack (discussion more interesting than title suggests!)  (Read 9096 times)

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cowboykurtis

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i don't think the simultaneous release strategy will prove to be very effective. there are many holes in this strategy.

1. The only theaters that will carry this are the ones that Cuban own (REGAL CINEMAS). Any other exhibitor will refuse a film that is already out on dvd.

2. The tv broadcast element is directed towards those who own cuban's HD net - For those who can get it dierectly streamed, why would they go out andspend money on the dvd.

3. For the most part, if a consumer has the option of buying a 15 dollar dvd and viewing it as many times as he pleases vs. paying 11 dollars to watch it once on a bigger screen - i think the majority will buy the dvd.

it completley convelutes the traditional release strategy - On top of that, Cuban is essentially applying verticle integration - Cuban now controls production through distribution - last time i checked this wasn't legal - it harcks back to the studio system in the 30's which many fought hard to dissolve. It seems that Cuban is implenting the same business structure with little to no resistance from the industry/competition that will mostly likely suffer becuase of it.

this bastard has to be stopped
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Gamblour.

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I don't think it will work simply because something trying to be an alternative is either not viable in reality or will get ignored.

The vertical integration thing is interesting. cowboy, you say Cuban owns Regal theaters? Is this part of 2929 or something else? If 2929 operates production and distribution, and Cuban has some other ties to Regal, this could be a loophole?
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cowboykurtis

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He bought out Regal Cinemas about 1.5 years ago - I think Regal equates to 1,400 screens Domestically - He plans to outfit every screen with Digital projectors (if he hasn't already). Along with the distributor Magnolia Pictures. I don't know if these were bought under 2929 or not ( I doubt it - I'm sure he spread them out between a few Partnerships/Corps). Regardless, he's the sole propreitor behind these companies - all roads lead back to him, which in essence make him liable. Just like Warner Bros has a branch like Dark Castle Pictures - It's under a different title and management, however at the end of the day WB stockholders feel the effective off all inclusive entities. And those at the top are the ones open to litigation if it comes to that. However he's a smart guy - it all depends how the company is structured on paper. He may have protected himself.
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Ultrahip

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They also own Landmark theater chains and rest assured, this deal will work. Soon everybody will doing this, Cuban and Co. are just the pioneers.

cowboykurtis

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Quote from: Ultrahip
They also own Landmark theater chains and rest assured, this deal will work. Soon everybody will doing this, Cuban and Co. are just the pioneers.


Where are you getting your information from? As far as I know they have no ownership in Landmark.
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Gamblour.

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Quote from: Ultrahip
Soon everybody will doing this, Cuban and Co. are just the pioneers.


I think you're wrong. No one will do this. It's risky, and it's not like Soderbergh is a big enough name to draw people to the theater, in order to assist this experiment and really get it rolling.
WWPTAD?

pete

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it's true, cuban owns landmark.  and he's an asshole.
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cowboykurtis

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then i truly hope I'm wrong about Regal - Myabe I just mixed it up with Landmark - Please don't tell me he owns both.
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cowboykurtis

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This quote sums Mark Cuban up:

"I'm not doing this for some greater good - I want to make more money. I love to fuck with people, and I love finding ways to make more money."

I'm really excited to see all the great things he'll do for an industry that I thought couldn't get much worse.

What a fucking piece of work.
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Ultrahip

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assholes do very well in america, though, which is why in a few years I'm moving to France and becoming a wino on the sidewalks of the cinemateque and surrounding villages.

Ghostboy

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Hah, that Cuban quote is classic.

He was here (in Dallas) the other night showing George Clooney a good time at one of the many strip clubs this lovely city has to offer. I wonder what those guys see in him. Besides financing.

Ultrahip

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perhaps soderbergh saw into the future and read that cuban revolution article, and confused it with his che project.

jokes aside, i assume they see in cuban that really hip combo of antihollywood while also in debt to hollywood thing that is in a twisted way independent yet undeniably captialist, in which artistic freedom is granted in the name of money. And talent, which cuban has, albeit not in the way we'd traditionally like to think of talent.

Ravi

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Regal refused to book the Enron film, which was produced by HDNet, so perhaps it isn't the lock on distribution some may think it would be.

Ultrahip

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oh, regal didn't book it? who cares, because the enron film stilll had the highest per screen avg it's opening weekend.

MacGuffin

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Closing windows make exhibs hot
Source: Hollywood Reporter

If Mark Cuban has his way, theatrical distribution may never be the same. 2929 Entertainment, the company Cuban founded with partner Todd Wagner, is determined to collapse the traditional distribution windows by simultaneously releasing films across theatrical, home video and cable. But even though the experiment has barely begun, it already is running into steely opposition from theater owners across the country who are up in arms.

While 2929 announced late last month that it plans to produce and then release six Steven Soderbergh films on the three platforms simultaneously, exhibitors already are saying they will refuse to play the director's new fare.
 
As the owner of two of those three distribution outlets -- it controls Landmark Theatres and the high-definition cable channel HDNet Movies -- 2929 has the ability to fulfill its agenda on a limited basis. But if the company aspires to distribute Soderbergh's product beyond Landmark's 209 screens, it faces a formidable roadblock in that many commercial theaters have refused to play product that is released in other formats at the same time as it is offered to theaters.

"Our policy will continue to be that we don't exhibit films that are already in the market on DVD or pay-per-view," said Mike Campbell, president and CEO of Regal Entertainment Group, the largest U.S. theater chain. "We believe the plan is ill-conceived and won't receive much support from the traditional exhibition or distribution community."

Said Tony Karasotes, chairman and CEO of Chicago-based Karasotes Showplace Theatres: "I just think it's a wrong-headed approach. The way to properly distribute film is to use the traditional sequential pattern set up by the studios. (2929's plan) is ass-backwards, and I don't want to encourage that kind of approach because I own motion picture theaters."

AMC Theatres, Loews Cineplex, Cinemark USA, Pacific Theatres, National Amusements and Wisconsin-based Marcus Theatres, among others, all have declined to play films with simultaneous release in the home market.

"We just have to show them results," Cuban said. "By pricing the DVDs at a premium for day-and-date delivery, I think we help create a better value for in-theater viewing. By leveraging day-and-date, we can spend more on P&A, which should also help."

Soderbergh's first announced project is "Bubble," a murder mystery set in a small Ohio town and cast with nonactors. If the six films Soderbergh creates for 2929 all resemble that model, they might well receive little distribution beyond Landmark's art houses. At least on paper, "Bubble" sounds like an experiment in the vein of the director's R-rated 2002 release "Full Frontal." Even though that film had the benefit of such stars as Julia Roberts, David Duchovny and Blair Underwood, it grossed just $2.5 million after bowing on 209 screens.

"It's really a break for all of us that these films are being released by 2929 and not a Warner Bros., which has to make Soderbergh happy because they have the next 'Ocean's Eleven,' " said one exhibitor at a leading chain who asked not to be named.

Theater owners, of course, have a vested interest in the current distribution model; in many cases they have signed 20-year leases, taken in cash infusions from enthusiastic investors and turned their popcorn-selling, seat-filling operations into profitable businesses.

But even though 2929's proposal threatens to upend a system that guarantees theaters to be the exclusive venue for new film titles, the vision of the future also has a certain logic of its own.

The company first tried its hand at the model, albeit in a more limited fashion, last month with the release of the Magnolia Film documentary "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room." Produced by HDNet, 2929's low-budget film production arm, and distributed by Magnolia Pictures, the Alex Gibney-driected film opened in Landmark Theatres and had an exclusive day-and-date release on the HDNet channel on DirecTV. "Enron" has earned $2 million theatrically since its April 22 bow, a respectable gross for a limited-release documentary.Cuban said HDNet subscriber additions won't be available until next month, but the executive said the response to "Enron" has been great. "From subs, from people who told us they just subscribed, and the continued boxoffice success of the movie will only continue to benefit us," he said in an e-mail.

And while the film originally opened in three Landmark Theatres, it has since expanded to other circuits, including Los Angeles-based Laemmle Theatres.

"We felt that HDNet didn't have a significant market penetration," Laemmle Theatres president Greg Laemmle said. "It wasn't like going day-and-date with cable or DVD, and therefore we felt the boxoffice wouldn't be negatively impacted."

While Laemmle was willing to experiment with a film simultaneously bowing with a day-and-date premiere on HDNet, he won't go down the path of exhibiting titles that also are available on home video.

"It's a whole different ball of wax," Laemmle said. "A lot of people have DVD players, and a lot of people who see art films have DVD players. I have no interest in encouraging that sort of thing. That said, if someone shows it can work, I don't own that decision, and we'll choose to re-evaluate as the situation demands."

Other theater chains might be forced to re-evalute the situation as well. At the Milken Institute's Global Conference in Beverly Hills last month, studio heads admitted that the cost of piracy is forcing them to rethink the time between a theatrical release and its home video availability. Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros., predicted that in the future "your premiere will be in Wal-Mart."

While many distributors are paying lip service to the exhibitors, agreeing with them on the dangers of collapsing traditional windows, some of them actually are looking forward to 2929's test of its strategy.

"It's going to be an interesting test," said one distributor who declined to be named. "On the issue of piracy, it would certainly help eliminate some of the concern about the amount of money we spend trying to protect against piracy. Marketing costs are another thing no one has been able to control. If we go video, theatrical and pay-per-view all at once with a well-known title, you could bring in $100 million in one night, similar to a (pay-per-view) fight."

Shari Redstone, president of Boston-based National Amusements Inc., disagreed. "It's a short-sided approach -- not just for exhibition but for the people making these decisions. It will diminish the total revenue that can be generated by any one product. People do want to see movies in different venues: You see it in a theater, you buy it, you rent it, you watch it on TV. When you start to merge these windows, the total revenue starts to go away. You may get a big hit on the opening weekend, but it doesn't go further.

"You also reduce the 'wow factor' of seeing a movie in a theater," she added. "If it's just seen in the home, you decrease the excitement and energy for entertainment and the movies."

Cuban doesn't seem all that concerned with exhibition's opposition. Added the billionaire, "If all else fails, we focus the movies we make towards the Landmark chain. If we are successful, we can lever that success and expand the chain."

One argument for 2929's approach is that it will reduce overall marketing costs, since all markets could be reached at once. However that scenario plays out, one marketing exec said that the challenge to bring consumers to the theater only will grow.

"The challenge will be to get these people to pony up the money to go to the theater when it's available everywhere else," said one studio marketing president who declined to be named. "We always hear from focus groups whether (they deem a movie) a rental or something they want to see in the theater. For most people it's a real financial decision, and there has to be a reason they need to see it in that environment. Releasing simultaneously on different platforms takes away a lot of that reason."

While Cuban and Wagner are pioneering the new model, other distributors want to see ongoing tests to determine whether the promised benefits -- curtailing piracy and lowering marketing costs -- outweigh any hits to theatrical revenue.

"It's a little premature, but somebody is going to do it," said one distributor who asked not to be named. "It's inevitable that the industry will move in this direction. It opens the opportunity for a bigger window while the bloom is still on the rose."

But for now, it's the exhibitors who are determined to keep things as they are.
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