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Wednesday, April 05, 2006

Simultaneous releasing: The plot thickens

Mark Cuban is the movie industry's biggest advocate for releasing movies simultaneously in several formats (DVD, TV, in theaters). But this week, he's refusing to show a new autobiographical comedy called "I Am a Sex Addict" at his Landmark Theaters chain, because IFC Films, the movie's distributor, is releasing it simultaneously in theaters, and on cable, as a video-on-demand selection.


Hypocrisy? Cuban says no. He's just trying to convince Comcast, which is IFC's partner in the cable VOD deal, to carry his two cable channels, HDNet and HDNet Movies. (That's where he has been airing his company's day-and-date releases, such as `Bubble' and `Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room.')


In the past, Cuban has made it clear that he doesn't support simultaneous releasing as a religious doctrine, but as a strategy that can benefit his business. He told the Chicago Tribune, "Comcast doesn’t carry HDNet and HDNet movies, and that’s a requisite for Landmark support of their day-and-date efforts if Comcast is involved."


So who has stepped forward to give `I Am a Sex Addict' screen time at his theater in San Francisco? (The movie was supposed to have played at a Landmark house in Berkeley.) None other than Gary Meyer, Landmark's original founder, who now runs The Balboa Theater.