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Leave it to Mark Cuban to continue to try new things when it comes to releasing a movie. In January, he released the movie "The Bubble" simultaneously in theaters, on DVD, and on his HDNet TV network. He's been a big proponent of shaking things up when it comes to movie releases, stating that the current system of releases needs to be overhauled if the industry is going to thrive.
As the owner of a movie studio (Magnolia Pictures), a theater chain (Landmark Theatres), and two TV networks (HDNet and HDNet Movies), he has a vested interest in seeing all three succeed, and it also gives him the freedom to try out his ideas without running into total opposition. (Many theaters are not thrilled with the idea of simulataneous releases, to say the least)
He's doing the same thing now with the new movie "The Architect" which opens on December 1, 2006.The Architect stars Anthony LaPaglia (TV's "Without a Trace"), Isabella Rossellini, Hayden Panettiere, and Viola Davis. It's a drama about a Chicago architect (LaPaglia) who begins to re-examine his life when he meets a mother living in a dangerous housing project of his design.
The movie is being released simultaneously in theaters, on the HDNet Movies high definition cable/satellite channel, and on standard definition DVD and high definition HD DVD and Blu-ray home video formats. The discs will come with commentary by tyro helmer Matt Tauber, outtakes, and a making-of featurette.
If you purchase tickets to The Architect online through MovieTickets.com (our online ticketing partner site), you will be able to access behind-the-scenes extras, deleted scenes, view production photos, and download the entire score for the movie.
It doesn't appear that the home video releases will contain all of the material available to those who purchase theater tickets online.
According to the press release (see below), this offer may be limited to purchases on November 30th only, so if you're interested in taking advantage of it, I suggest doing so on that day.
I think Cuban is on the right track, and he's certainly putting his money where his mouth is, so one can't say that he's sitting on the sidelines without any vested interest in what actually happens.
As I said back on November 16th, there is a case for alternative distribution for certain movies, and movie theaters should not fear change to the point of sticking their collective heads in the sand and ignoring the reality of today's entertainment marketplace. There will come a day when "direct-to-video" doesn't have the stigma that is attached to it today, and we're now able to enjoy entertainment in many different ways thanks to the Internet, the short home video release window, and increasingly sophisticated home theater gear.
Theaters have the potential of being able to deliver an experience that is just not possible at home. In some cases, that experience is less than desirable, and that's a case of an opportunity lost by those low-quality establishments. But for those theaters that are willing to step up their game and deliver a fun and high quality movie-going experience, people will be drawn to them, and promotions like this one will provide further incentive to them to go to the movies.
Below is the press release from HDNet Films and Landmark Theatres regarding the online ticket promotion.
New York, NY (November 21, 2006) - Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's HDNet Films and Landmark Theatres give movie fans one more reason to get off the couch and head to the theater. Kicking off with the drama The Architect, to be released December 1st in select cities, HDNet Films will offer a groundbreaking insider's look at behind-the-scenes extras with online ticket purchases for all of their releases. Those who buy a ticket to The Architect at a Landmark Theatres location through MovieTickets.com will gain access to a wealth of valuable digital content.
For the first time ever moviegoers can access exclusive deleted scenes, download the film's entire mesmerizing score by Marcelo Zarvos (Hollywoodland, The Good Shepherd), go behind the scenes with production notes, and liven up their photo album with production stills featuring TV's favorite "Heroes" star Hayden Panettiere, Isabella Rossellini (Blue Velvet, The Saddest Music in the World), Anthony LaPaglia ("Without a Trace"), and Viola Davis (World Trade Center, Antwone Fisher).
"We are always looking for ways to create incremental value and enhance the experience for movie fans," Mark Cuban said. "This is an unprecedented offer that not only adds value, but also gives viewers a new perspective on these fantastic films."
The Architect is a sophisticated drama about a Chicago architect (Anthony LaPaglia) who begins to re-examine his life when he meets a mother living in a dangerous housing project of his design. It features powerful performances by Anthony LaPaglia, Isabella Rossellini, Viola Davis, and Hayden Panettiere. The score is written and performed by Marcelo Zarvos.
Landmark Theatres is the nation's largest theater chain devoted exclusively to art and independent film, with 56 theaters in 22 markets. Landmark is a leader in exhibition, providing customers with the most advanced technology and services, upscale concessions, bars in select locations, on-site DVD and other movie related merchandise, special events and a broad range of programming. Landmark's theaters include historic buildings as well as newly built state-of-the-art facilities across the nation, each devoted to outstanding customer service and a quality cinematic experience. Landmark Theatres is part of a vertically-integrated group of media properties co-owned by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban that includes distributor Magnolia Pictures, Magnolia Home Entertainment, production companies HDNet Films and 2929 Productions, and high-definition cable networks HDNet and HDNet Movies.
For more information visit www.landmarktheatres.com
HDNet Films, a high-definition production company, was founded by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban with Jason Kliot and Joana Vicente in November of 2003. The company finances and produces narrative and documentary features to be shot on high-definition video. HDNet Films utilizes an unprecedented distribution strategy. Each film is distributed theatrically nationwide by Magnolia Pictures (including at all of Wagner and Cuban's Landmark Theatres), is shown on Wagner's and Cuban's high-definition channel HDNet, and is released simultaneously on DVD, with foreign sales handled by HDNet Films International. Past releases include: Alex Gibney's 2005 Academy Award nominated documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room, which was winner of the 2005 Independent Spirit Award for Best Documentary, hugely successful at the box office and critically acclaimed; Joseph Castello's The War Within (2005 Toronto Film Festival Selection); Alex Steyermark's One Last Thing… (2005 Toronto Film Festival and 2006 Tribeca Film Festival Selections); Doug Biro and Jon Fine's documentary Herbie Hancock: Possibilities (2006 SXSW Selection); Matt Tauber's The Architect (2006 Tribeca Film Festival Selection); JT Petty's S&MAN (2006 SXSW and Toronto Film Festival Selections); Hal Hartley's Fay Grim (2006 Toronto Film Festival Selection); Katherine Dieckmann's Diggers (2006 Toronto Film Festival Selection). Upcoming films include Zoe Cassavettes' Broken English; Doug Pray's documentary Surfwise; Carlos Brooks' Quid Pro Quo; Alex Gibney's documentary Hunter S. Thompson; and Steven Soderbergh's documentary Spalding Gray.
For more information visit www.hdnetfilms.com
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