bubble-poster_0106.jpgYesterday, Steven Soderbergh and Mark Cuban's 2929 Entertainment released Bubble in theaters, on DVD* and on cable at the same time. This is the first film with a simultaneous release by an Oscar-winning director. I haven't seen the film yet, but I love this idea.

The window between theater and DVD release has shrunk significantly and most major films can be found on the street a day or two after it comes out. This being the case, Cuban closed the window shut and released everything at once, seeing what will stick. He'll be fine as he owns the production company, the theaters and the television network, but things would get hairier if the product weren't so vertically integrated. Still, I love the idea.

Simultaneous release will eventually work because it benefits the consumer. Although I do love seeing movies in the theater, I often go because I want to see a movie when it's fresh on people's minds. If I can't discuss the film with friends, it loses some value. If films were released on DVD, cable and in theaters on the same day, I'd oftentimes pick DVD or cable. A movie like King Kong is better in the theaters, but I could have seen Caché at home (in fact, it might have been even better). And that's just my preference.

The success of DVDs is in large part due to their low price and the rising cost of going to the movies. If you could buy a DVD of a film on the day it's released for $25 and have your family of four watch it together, you're saving $35 if you include concessions and don't have to deal with hauling everyone to the movie theater.

Hopefully we'll get a lot of good data out of Cuban's experiment. I can't imagine the theater chains will be happy about this, which Cuban discusses, but their need to adapt is inevitable. I'll be watching this one closely.

* The DVD is officially out on Tuesday, but I could have bought it at Landmark Sunshine last night.