24 January 2006

Will "Bubble" Burst the Multiplex?

Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner owners of Landmark Theatres and cable channel HDNet has partnered with Steven Soderbergh to release Bubble in theatres, on cable and on DVD simultaneously.

Ebert and Roeper weighed in on the controversy -- they feel it can only be a good thing, increasing the audience for smaller films. The crunch comes for blockbuster movies: will they still find enough of an audience to justify their outrageous budgets? I think so. So does Mark Cuban.

Cuban perfectly nails the issue in this post: What Business are theaters in ?[Blog Maverick] where he describes the generation gap in movie-goers,

When a 16 year old goes to a movie, there is absolutely nothing at all wrong with answering your cellphone, talking back to the screen and texting your heart away during a movie. The movie is just there because its better than doing the same thing sitting or walking at the mall...

All of the above drives anyone not in that demographic crazy. So when a couple of 35 year olds go to see King Kong, not only can you pretty much bet that they arent going to have a great experience during the showing of the movie, but they probably didnt have a great experience before they even got their seats.

They are probably already pissed because the stereos were blasting in the parking lot, the lines to the concession stands were filled with kids chit chattering and taking their good old time, while you wanted to get into the movie so you could talk to your wife or date.

Yes!! YES!! There is someone, somewhere who understands why the multiplex cinema experience is going to lose money soon if it can't adapt -- it is annoying more people than it is attracting. And so, Cuban says, "Why not actually start making a profit off the DVD sales?" Excellent question, and I hope he makes a lot of cash out of the deal so the naysayers can eat their words.

In the meantime, I will continue to enjoy movies wherever I can find them, even if that means giving the stink-eye to the gaggle of teens behind me at the multiplex.

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