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The comedy The Answer Man opens in theaters on Friday, July 24, 2009, but can watch it now, legally!
Amazon.com is offering the movie for a 48-hour rental through their Video on Demand service:
Amazon Video on Demand content can be watched on your Windows and Mac computer, as well as on your TV through the following devices:
- Xbox 360
- Windows Media Center PC
- TiVo DVR
- Roku Digital Video Player
- Sony Bravia TV
- Panasonic VIERA CAST TV
Why would the studio behind the movie do this, you ask? The answer is in knowing which company it is, and that company is Magnolia Pictures.
They have done this for other movie releases in the past, including The Girlfriend Experience, The Architect, and others. (Surveillance, starring Julia Ormand and Bill Pullman is also currently in simultaneous release in theaters and Amazon Video on Demand ) Magnolia Pictures is the theatrical and home entertainment distribution arm of Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban's 2929 Entertainment. Marc Cuban has been a vocal supporter of shaking things up in the movie distribution business. His blog post, What Business are theaters in?, back in 2006 posed the question of what value movie theaters bring to the movie-watching experience, and whether movies should be released in multiple venues simultaneously.
Movie theaters hate the idea, and many refuse to play any movies that they don't have exclusive exhibition rights to. Fortunately for 2929 Entertainment, they also own the Landmark Theatres movie theater chain, so they are able to make sure that their movies see some decent theatrical distribution as well as Video on Demand, Pay per View, and other venues that they decide to release their movies in.
The Answer Man is the latest movie to be released simultaneously, and it contains the best-known cast list of any of their movies so far. These movies aren't "direct to video" caliber releases, and I think sooner or later, the idea is going to catch on at other studios with well-known directors and casts, and it is at that point that movie theaters are going to have to realize that they are going to have to work harder for the money contained in the wallets of movie enthusiasts.
The movie will also be playing on the HDNet Movies cable/satellite channel (also owned by 2929 Entertainment) next week Wednesday, July 22, 2009.
For more information about the movie, including trailers, videos, and photos from the movie, please see the Information Page for The Answer Man.
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