[FoRK] Mark Cuban's Plan to Mess Up Movies

Jeff Bone jbone at place.org
Mon May 23 09:22:44 PDT 2005

Anybody intent on fucking with the Established Way of Things (tm) in  
media -- even a little bit -- is a friend of mine...



May 23, 2005

Mark Cuban's Plan to Mess Up Movies

The N.Y. Times has a good overview this morning of Mark Cuban's plan  
to mess up the movie business for incumbents. It all centers around  
HD, digital technologies, and changing the release schedules, and it  
is an interesting read:

"Theatrical releases, which account for about $9 billion in revenue,  
have become expensive trailers for the real deal, a $24 billion after- 
market for home video and DVD's. The current food chain has made  
everybody fat and happy while the mere existence of a digitized  
entertainment product - ripe for the downloading - makes the industry  

"The theory behind 2929 goes like this: Over the past few years, Mr.  
Cuban and Mr. Wagner have acquired or built HDNet Films, which funds  
smaller budget movies, Magnolia Pictures for distribution, Landmark  
Theaters for exhibiting, and HDNet and HDNet Movies for cable  
broadcast. Consumers with access to those cable networks will be able  
to see a film at home on the day it comes out. Or they can see it in  
the theater or, once details are worked out, simply buy the DVD. By  
closing the window between when a movie is released and when it  
becomes available on DVD - usually about four months - 2929 will save  
on marketing by not having to advertise twice."

I have to confess I'm fond of writer David Carr's punchy prose, and  
given the rich subject (Cuban) Carr gets off some nice quips ('...one  
gets the impression [Cuban] does everything but brush his teeth by e- 
mail') in this piece. Here, for example, is Carr doing Cuban's bio:

"[After selling Broadcast.com to Yahoo,] Mr. Cuban took up blogging,  
basketball and terrorizing referees, buying the Dallas Mavericks for  
$280 million and racking up fines for railing against league  
officiating while using a blog to agitate and inform his fan base."

Finally, the piece discloses there was recently a high-level get- 
together of A-list effects directors, including Lucas, James Cameron,  
and Peter Jackson, at George Lucas's Skywalker Ranch north of San  
Francisco. The subject? How to get film exhibitors to adopt digital  
technology. Would have been a fun meeting to attend, me-thinks.

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