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Bubble Bursts to Hollywood’s Glee

Last week, TR predicted that Steven Soderbergh’s film – which debuted simultaneously in theaters and on Mark Cuban’s HDNET cable channel – would change Hollywood. Well…maybe not.
January 31, 2006

Director Steven Soderbergh and entertainment maverick Mark Cuban haven’t exactly gotten off to a stellar launch with their paradigm-changing movie venture, according to this Reuters story. Bubble, an experimental film that debuted in theaters and on cable television on the same day, made less than $100,000 on its opening weekend.

That’s a far cry from our position last week in Eric Hellweg’s Bubble May Burst Hollywood story (which I edited), although Hellweg did point out that, while an independent movie’s potential impact on this market was likely small, the upside of the experiment was large.

The potential audience for Bubble – an independently released, cinema verite movie shot with no big-name actors – is likely quite small. But consumer interest in gaining greater flexibility in how they view any media is huge.

And that flexibility is becoming increasingly possible, in large part, because of technological advances and the new business models made possible by these advances.

Still, theater owners were howling with delight after the beginning of this failed experiment. However, they shouldn’t crow too soon. The Soderbergh/Cuban duo are releasing 100,000 DVDs into stores in the coming weeks, which may help them easily recoup the movie’s $1.6 million budget.

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