Magnolia Blossoms With 'Seat Filler'19 Jan, 2006 By: Thomas K. Arnold
Two film companies that pride themselves on shaking up the Hollywood establishment are teaming up in home video.
Magnolia Home Entertainment, the fledgling video concern owned by vertical-integration champs Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner, has acquired The Momentum Experience's The Seat Filler for video distribution.
The romantic comedy, which stars Destiny's Child's Kelly Rowland, bows on DVD Feb. 21.
The film had a platform release last July and reaped a per-screen average of more than $50,000 per engagement. It is the first feature from Momentum, an urban theatrical distribution company that, like Cuban and Wagner's 2929 Entertainment, bucks the conventional theatrical status quo.
While 2929 advocates releasing movies to DVD and cable TV the same day they hit theaters, Momentum skips multiplexes entirely. Instead, the company screens “commercially viable films starring people of color” in alternative venues, from playhouses to concert halls. Each screening also comes with a value-added proposition, such as a cast meet-and-greet or a comedy pre-show.
“I am excited about the new partnership with Magnolia,” said writer-star Duane Martin, who co-founded Momentum with Nia Hill and D'Angela Steed, along with investors Will Smith and Tisha Campbell-Martin. “I respect Magnolia's bravery in supporting a movement and empowering people who have historically been underserved. Together, we can continue to create revolutionary distribution models outside of the Hollywood system.”
Cuban said Momentum's “unique exhibition model resonates with our commitment to exploring alternative marketing and distribution strategies.”