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July 08, 2008

Mark Cuban: resisting day-and-date 'moronic'

TCA -- Even though the revenue for his movies like "Flawless" has been modest, Mark Cuban says his unique day-and-date distribution plan -- releasing original theatrical productions on his cable network HDNet Movies, on VOD, DVD and in theaters roughly at the same time -- is effective and the future of of the medium.

Famed director and traditional cinema fan Peter Bogdanovich ("The Last Picture Show"), who helms Cuban's latest indie release "Humboldt County," had a slightly different take.

Cuban: "This perception that if you can see it outside the theater, if it's not exclusive to the theater, that it’s going to negatively impact boxoffice, is moronic thinking. Every movie, if you’re patient enough you’re eventually going to be able to see it for free [on television] … [our] movies that have been playing in this hotel since three weeks before their release, and people are buying them at $11.99 -- more than you pay in the theaters. And so we expanded it from just hotels to cable and satellite systems as well. This is really where we make the bulk of revenue unless the movie takes off. 'Flawless' did a million at the boxoffice but did much more in Ultra VOD. Since you share 50-50 in the receipts [with VOD distributors such as Comcast] you'll start to see more and more commercials for movies like 'Humboldt County.' Studios are scared shitless that if they try to release something on TV and in theaters at same time they’ll upset AMC and Regal and those guys … if the movies are good, we'll all make money; if they're not good, we won’t make money."

Bogdanovich gives his thoughts after the jump.

Bogdonovich agreed Cuban's system works for monetizing indie films, but doesn't believe it should replace the theatergoing experience: "I don’t think there's anything to replace seeing a movie on the big screen with an audience. But it seems to be working. It's a very odd climate, I hear nothing but doom and gloom about indie films, but they're the only good ones being made because they're about people instead of special effects. I have a theory that one of the reasons younger people don't like older films is because they’ve never seen them on the big screen. If you don’t see the film on a big screen you haven’t really seen it.”

Cuban: "The fact that HD screens are coming out and 1080i and surround sound … it became a completely different viewing experience. All things being equal, we’d all prefer to see it in the theater, but then we look to our options from there."

[Wed -- Updated with additional quotes]



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