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#1 Robert Glenn

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 07:01 PM

Soderbergh, simultaneous distribution, m night Shyamalan's disapproval.. discuss!
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#2 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 08:16 PM

I'm not sure that an art film with non-actors is going to cause much of a shift in the way movies are distributed, no matter how good it is.

And the truth is that a theatrical release and all the marketing hoopla serves a secondary purpose of creating interest in the eventual DVD release, and the delay in the DVD release creates a window for premiering on cable TV channels, pay-per-view, whatever. So I don't see enough people pushing for a change towards same day simultaneous releasing.

As for the sentimental argument, I agree that for many directors, it is preferable that people first see things in the theater for that experience. For example, I could see a shift away from 2.35 anamorphic again, after its rise in popularity in the early 1990's with "Dances with Wolves", if a DVD release was given equal weight when shooting the movie to the theatrical experience. Also, I know personally that I tend to enjoy any movie, even a classic, more if my first introduction to it is in a theater with an audience. I can't imagine "2001" being one of my favorite movies if I had only seen it on TV.
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#3 Mark Allen

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Posted 25 January 2006 - 10:08 PM

I can't imagine "2001" being one of my favorite movies if I had only seen it on TV.


I saw DIVA about eight times on video before ever seeing it in the theater and it was a totally different movie. i understand what you mean.

That said, this is one of the very few times my point of view might differ, David.

Not saying that I want it to be this way or am pushing for it - but I think the industry is goiing through another paradigm shift. As big as when Video came out, bigger than when video became DVDs.

If a studio could make the same money releasing everything at the same time - that means money comes in sooner and they get to move on to marketing the next big thing. The current methods are only in place because it is assumed that this makes more money - not because people want it more (though they might). If this is proved wrong, then it will change.

I agree that an art house film with non-actors is the best test for this. But a successful experiment would probably encourage a studio to try it once. Look for Disney, who is more interested in the franchise, to give this a shot first.
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#4 Tim Carroll

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 12:13 AM

Well, for starters, I hope the movie is one heck of a lot better than the trailer, which I really didn't like. It was a tad cute and a bit funny, but would not get me into a movie theater and make me cough up ten bucks.

I think there are many movies that only give you the whole experience in a theater. Although at forty eight, I am probably too "old school". I think the 18 to 30 year old demographic has been raised with a whole different experience in receiving visual stories. So maybe the whole environment of a movie theater does not mean as much to them.

Can you imagine in another twenty years, when the kids who grew up watching movies on iPods, when they become the demographic the studios are targeting.

The LA Times had an interesting article about the whole situation with "Bubble" this past week. Seems alot of Hollywood is up in arms about it. I think it is a clever marketing gimmick for a movie that would have come and gone without much notice. I mean, how many people saw "Full Frontal"?

-Tim
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#5 John Pytlak RIP

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 07:08 AM

Only got a 4 out of 10 from Gannett Newpaper's Jack Garner this morning. Would have been "lost in the crowd", except for the controversy from the distribution plan. "Direct to Video" still has a stigma.
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#6 Dickson Sorensen

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 11:15 AM

Only got a 4 out of 10 from Gannett Newpaper's Jack Garner this morning. Would have been "lost in the crowd", except for the controversy from the distribution plan. "Direct to Video" still has a stigma.


Soderberg was interviewed by Terry Gross on NPR about the film. Most of the conversation centered around their new distribution plan and very little about the film itself. Bubble is getting a lot of publicity out of its release scheme. This can only work the first time. Remember Blair Witch, 3 day shoot on home video? Everyone thought the movie paradigm would change. It didn't. The "Bubble " release does offer something that has a great significance to makers of smaller budget films for limited audiences. One of the biggest costs in getting a film to your audience is not production it's advertising. If a distributer has to pay these costs only for one release and not for seperate releases (screen, DVD, cable) it can make the distribution of smaller films economical. I hope it works for other films though the major distributers are so committed to the statis quo that I think they will do everything to make it fail. There are only so many movie eyes out there and the big players don't want to see their market fragmented any more than it already is. A few years ago at a Sundance producers conference I attended one of the top Hollywood exectuives on a panel looked out into the audience of 900 attendees (all promoting their own project) and said, "Why don't you all get together and make one big film instead of 900 little ones." This is what's wrong with the "Hollywood" system. They would like everyone to see the same film, theirs, and they don't want any more competition. I think competition is good however if a small budget production and distrubition can capture an audience as easily as a large budget who will invest in a large buget? Will extravagandas like King Kong disapear? With the media business changing as fast as it is it's anybodys guess. My hope is that whatever the distribution system of the future there are eyes to watch all the films that are going to be made.

Edited by Dickson Sorensen, 26 January 2006 - 11:16 AM.

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#7 Bill Totolo

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 12:49 PM

Interestingly both Ebert & Roeper agreed to call this film a "masterpiece".
I don't think I've ever heard them both agree to call a film that before.

I have not seen the trailer or the film, but when I can find it here on the west coast I'll judge for myself.
I have to say that I really loved "Full Frontal" and find myself borrowing heavily from it whenever I can.
I also found "Schitzopolis" wildly creative and just plain fun to watch.

We are living in a time of upheaval, though, with regards to formats and distribution.
I'm surprised they're not distributing QuickTime files to download so you can edit them
and make your own cut of the movie.

Maybe that's next.
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#8 Trevor Greenfield

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 10:37 PM

http://www.imdb.com/.../sb/2006-01-26/

"Exhibitors Blowing Off 'Bubble'
Theater owners are apparently mounting a fairly united front to black out the Steven Soderbergh-directed Bubble in many cities on Friday. Exhibitors object to the planned simultaneous release of the movie on DVD and on pay-per-view high-definition TV. (The film is actually being released on DVD on Tuesday, the day of the week that virtually all DVDs are released.) " More at link.


Well, thats what you get for trying to buck the system. Not that I'm passing judgement one way or the other, just that theater owners arent going to take it laying down.
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#9 Robert Glenn

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Posted 26 January 2006 - 11:09 PM

I'm not a big fan of soderbergh (although I really like The Limey). I just can't shake the opinion that this was all a big fat gimmick to forward his and mark cuban's name as the forefront of media marketing.
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#10 Dan Goulder

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Posted 27 January 2006 - 12:31 PM

I'm not a big fan of soderbergh (although I really like The Limey). I just can't shake the opinion that this was all a big fat gimmick to forward his and mark cuban's name as the forefront of media marketing.

I believe Mark Cuban owns HDNet, so what's billed as an experiment in marketing might actually just be a clever promotion for a new HD cable network.
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#11 Michael Struthers

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 07:05 PM

just saw it last night, if it had been shot by a 22 year old no one had heard of, they would be calling him the next great American Filmmaker...

Anyone know what camera was used to shoot it? Def video look to it...
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#12 Robert Glenn

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 11:41 PM

just saw it last night, if it had been shot by a 22 year old no one had heard of, they would be calling him the next great American Filmmaker...

Anyone know what camera was used to shoot it? Def video look to it...

it was 35mm
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#13 Dan Goulder

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Posted 29 January 2006 - 11:45 PM

it was 35mm

Nope. HD.
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#14 Robert Glenn

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 12:47 AM

Nope. HD.

oops you're right
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#15 Sidney King

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 01:55 AM

yes, shot with the CineAlta F950. In the Fresh Air interview Soderbergh said they used "literally no lights." There is a key grip and gaffer listed on the project, though (not Jim Plannette, who has gaffed just about all his other films).

Weekend estimates for the film don't look too good (at least the theatrical numbers). About a $2,200 per screen average. I'm sure it will take longer for them to tally the DVD sales/cable ratings, etc....and declare it a success of failure.

The perceived or real threat to theaters is only one part of the equation, though; some people think the impact of this release platform is actually more threatening to the retail outlets who made DVD sales so lucrative in the first place (especially Wal-Mart, which accounts for 40% of all DVD sales). The retailers also rely on an important window that is removed with this model, the one between when a DVD is available for sale and when it's available on pay cable or pay-per-view.

The studios have been chomping at the bit for a while now, looking for a way to cut out the retail middlemen like Wal-Mart who take a huge chunk of "their" profits. This experiment could turn out to be a very important step in that direction. Or maybe not, time will tell...

Am curious if anyone's seen it. Does it look like it was shot exclusively with available light?
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#16 Keith Mottram

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 01:02 PM

Its interesting, but I think this is something that shouldn't be thrown into the 'remember that' category. I think the simultaneous release will become the new model, although I'm not sure about the straight to TV ploy. With people having sophisticated home cinema setups the need to visit the cinema is becoming smaller and smaller. I read a recent survey (UK) which found that over 40% of adults 18-35 will always wait for the film to come out on DVD regardless of subject/ director/ actor/ whatever. This will increase as more and more people have large flat screens. Whilst I agree that as a kid I hated watching TV/ Video as oposed to the cinema releases, now I'm in the opposite camp. The feeling I get when watching a new (or old unseen) film for the first time in my home, with my carefully callobrated digital surround and largish (43") flat screen, is closer to the feeling I got at the cinema as a kid to the feeling I get now in the cinema. I cannot enjoy a film with people munching, talking etc. I also cannot sit with the fear that the sound will bugger up in the second real or the picture will deteriorate. The filmmakers are not helping the situation by making three hour epics- King Kong fantastic cinema experience possibly, but the review I recieved from most I knew was that they wished they could have watched a film that long in the comfort of their own home.

Basically I feel that I can now get more out of a picture at home than I can in the cinema and I doubt whether I'm the only one.

Keith

PS Just thought, I saw Batman Returns at home last night- found it perfectly enjoyable and technically sound. When I saw it at the cinema I thought it was over long and due to bad projection and terrible lighting (in the cinema) found the photography to be boring and bland. In retrospect I wish I'd waited to see it at home.
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#17 Bill Totolo

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Posted 30 January 2006 - 05:27 PM

I'm surprised this was shot on the F950. I honestly thought it was shot on an HDV camera but perhaps that was the natural lighting scheme. What I mean is that this isn't beautiful natural light a la "The New World", it's greenish/florescent and cramped interiors supplemented with household practicals.

Not one of Soderbergh's best looking films but I don't think beauty was the point. I'd argue that the look matched the emotional sub-text of the film.

The film was an exciting experiment with what you can do with minimalism. What anyone with a clear idea can acheive with modest tools. The idea of finding truth in a film by using non-actors and having them interact with each other was interesting and succeeded on some levels, not quite on others.

The story, however, reached beyond its grasp in my opinion and didn't ever really deliver. What is at stake in this film? What is the "story problem", does it hold up to basic dialectical statements? Each will have his own opinion.

How would I sum the film up? "A woman trapped in an isolated existance forced to create a world out of nothing and what happens when someone enters her orbit and interferes with her mythology."

$30 for the DVD? I think I'll rent it.
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#18 Stas Tagios

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 07:43 AM

Bought the movie after being impressed with a clip I'd seen from it. Just watched it and thought it was terrific. Great, naturalistic performances, beautiful imagery, and a compelling story.

The DVD extras are great too; insightful commentary from Soderbergh and Mark Romanek, with great tech info, and in-depth discussions of working with non-professional actors, plus lengthy segments of video interviews with the three principals conducted during casting.

IMHO, totally worth the $20 the DVD cost.

As for the simultaneous release vs. traditional release argument... I'm all for simultaneous. I've lost my patience with seeing movies theatrically, because the experience is so rarely optimal, and the ticket cost so high, it's just not worth the effort, unless it's something that really needs the big screen or a movie that I can't wait to see.

Don't get me wrong, given the choice between watching a movie on my 27" 4:3 tv or a movie theater screen, sure, the bigger screen and surround sound wins out because it's so immersive, but given all the other variables -- noisy audiences, sub-optimal projection, etc. -- I usually just wind up watching most movies when they come to cable or disc.
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#19 David Mullen ASC

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 10:58 AM

You just spent $20 to own it, so how did you save money over $10 to watch it in the theater? And even if you rented it, maybe that's $3 -- so it's the difference between spending $3 to watch it on a TV set versus $10 to watch it on the big screen, which seems entirely reasonable to me.

I have a 37" LCD screen for watching DVD's, but honestly, it doesn't even come close to 35mm projection quality.

I suppose if I lived in a small town with crappy theaters, it would make more sense to cocoon myself at home, but here in Los Angeles, I'm five minutes away from the Bridge Cinema at the Howard Hughes Parkway, which has some great screens and is nearly half-empty on most days, plus I see matinees so I rarely pay full price.
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#20 Stas Tagios

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Posted 08 February 2006 - 08:54 PM

You just spent $20 to own it, so how did you save money over $10 to watch it in the theater?


Yeah, but for that $20, I can watch it as many times as I want, plus I get the benefit of the DVD extras. Movies that I'm on the fence about seeing theatrically, I just wait for them to come to cable.


I have a 37" LCD screen for watching DVD's, but honestly, it doesn't even come close to 35mm projection quality.


Agreed, but as I said, factoring in everything else, I'd rather buy the movies I really like (or think I'll like) for $20 (or rent for $3), than spend half that to only see them once, even it is on a big screen.

Over the years, the theatrical experience has lost most of its luster for me; in film school, we'd watch three movies on the big screen in class, a bunch more on video, maybe even hit a double-feature at the New Beverly, all over the course of a few days, but that was pre-dvd, when that was the only way to see a movie in its proper aspect ratio. No question, it was great (espcially seeing "Jaws" for the first time -- a brand new projected 35 print... my first exposure to Ken Russell's brilliant "The Devils," and Fosse's "Lenny"... now I'm getting all nostalgic), but now I much prefer experiencing a movie on my own terms, without any distractions -- people coughing, people chattering, people munching popcorn -- I don't know, maybe I'm just getting more irrascible in my mid-30's. :)
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