Magnolia Bows VOD Movies Prior to Theatrical Release14 Apr, 2011 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Magnolia Pictures has quietly begun offering select video-on-demand movies to cable, satellite and telecommunication operators 30 days before their slated theatrical launch.
With much of the industry abuzz about plans by several studios to release select movies in a nascent premium VOD window on DirecTV 60 days after their theatrical bow, Magnolia has six titles available now and pending for VOD across most digital platforms, including Amazon VOD, AT&T U-verse, Charter, Comcast, Cox and Cablevision (the same day as theaters); DirecTV and Dish Network (one week before box office); and PlayStation 3 Store, Time Warner Cable, Xbox 360 Marketplace, Vudu and FiOS TV.
The VOD releases include 13 Assassins, Hobo with a Shotgun (with Rutger Hauer), Troll Hunter, Black Death, Ceremony with Uma Thurman and French comedy Rubber.
With major theater chains Regal, Cinemark and AMC vowing retaliatory measures toward premium VOD, Magnolia’s action has generated little angst.
A teaser on the website (www.magsneaks.com) mockingly questions how it can offer movies before their theatrical release: “How can we do it? Don’t ask. Just enjoy.”
That’s likely due to the fact Magnolia owner (and technology entrepreneur) Mark Cuban also features Landmark Theatres (in 20 cities nationwide) and cable channel HDNet among his portfolio of properties, which also includes the Dallas Mavericks. Magnolia also is a producer and distributor of the movies.
“We already do it,” Cuban said in a succinct response to questions posed regarding the wisdom of major studios Fox, Warner, Sony and Universal pushing through premium VOD titles later this month for $29.99 each. He didn’t elaborate on consumer response to the pre-theatrical releases.
HDNet also offers sneak previews of the titles, among other movies.