30 January 2006

Soderbergh's Bubble Doesn't Burst

Hey guys, it's Donnie...It's a sad day for theater owners.

This past Friday, HDNet Films and Magnolia Pictures released Stephen Soderbergh's not quite 90 minute film Bubble in the first major "day-and-date" release. That is to say that the film played on 32 screens at a handful of Landmark Theaters, it ran on the HDNet television channel Friday night, and it'll be released on DVD this Tuesday. (It would have been released on Friday, but new DVD day has traditionally been Tuesday.) The film cost $1.6 million to make, and yet between theaters sales, DVD pre-sales and television revenue, the film brought in an estimated $5 million in it's opening weekend. That doesn't even account for whatever tangible DVD sales take place when the movie is in stores tomorrow.

So why should theater owners be upset? Because out of the $5 million, only an estimated $72,000 came from theater sales.


So there's really no longer any debate as to whether or not this sort of release strategy can be profitable (like there was really any doubt) and it's now just a matter of time until we start to see major studio releases following the same strategy.

Hey, theater owners, did you hear that?

I think the Fat Lady is warming up. You better figure out some way to get asses in the seats toot-sweet.


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