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Scott Karp on the Profitability of Media 2.0

Old Media In Denial: Movie Theaters

Mark Cuban’s production company, HDNetFilms, is trying to reinvent the movie business. This isn’t exactly news, but I got a chuckle out of a recent Wired interview with Peter Brown, CEO of AMC Entertainment. Go ahead…click to the link and read the brief answers Mr. Brown gave Wired…I’ll wait.

OK, now that you’ve read it, did you laugh too? My favorite quote was in response to Wired’s question, “Why deny theatergoers the chance to see Bubble?”:

We want to put up on the large screen a product made with that format in mind. Bubble, and some of these other direct-to-video titles, are simply not. We want to serve steak, not hamburger.

Oh please! This statement is still remarkable even after you scrape off all the excessive arrogance. How do these guys measure quality anyway? I’d take a great story with less than optimal video quality over a weak story with amazing video every single time. I wonder if Mr. Brown has spent any time watching some of the truly lousy movies that find their way into theaters every single month. I know I have and that’s why I go to the theater less and less each year.

No, this isn’t about video quality. This is all about Cuban’s desire to change the playing field, disrupting the model that’s made the theater owners fat and happy. Cuban’s model makes a ton of sense. Why can’t a movie be available in any and all formats from day one?

Good luck Mark – I hope you hang in there and turn the industry on its ear!



Cuban's model is brilliant. And as home theater costs come down and people can have high quality video and sound in their own homes, why oh why would they go to a movie theater where they have to see the same film with people who talk through the movie, kick your seat, and cough. Not to mention paying through the nose for popcorn, sodas, etc.

I'd be happy to pay the $25 for the same day release of a first run movie on DVD. Going to the theater is often the same price for a lower quality experience.

Juliana Aldous Atkinson

I love going to the movies, but now with a toddler I don't often get the chance. Occasionally when I have had the chance this year, I decided against it. I didn't see anything in the movie listings that sparked enough interest. This past year I've turned more and more to DVDs of serialized tv shows or OnDemand television for entertainment. There is a lot more quality going on in one hour of Sopranos or Deadwood than any two hours of the latest blockbusters. I'll be curious to see how it goes for Mark Cuban.

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