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Arts and Culture News

Will Soderbergh's 'Bubble' Burst on Hollywood?

A poster for Steven Soderbergh's new movie, <i>Bubble</i>, which will be aired on HDTV the same day it hits theaters.
A poster for Steven Soderbergh's new movie, <i>Bubble</i>, which will be aired on HDTV the same day it hits theaters.

Steven Soderbergh's new film, Bubble, is the source of much hand-wringing in Hollywood. But what has entertainment executives agitated isn't the film's story -- about a murderous love triangle at a doll factory -- but the way it's being released. Terry Gross speaks with Jonathan Bing, who writes the "Hard Sell" column for Variety magazine.

The method of simultaneous release is known as a "day-and-date" strategy. It clashes with the prevailing method of timed releases, in which more than four months usually separate a film's theatrical debut and its DVD sale. It is only after sales have ebbed in those two critical markets that most movies are broadcast on television.

The day-and-date approach for Bubble will be duplicated for five other films by Soderbergh, who has entered into a partnership with Broadcast.com founder Mark Cuban. Cuban, the outspoken Internet billionaire who also owns the NBA's Dallas Mavericks, is using his network of art-house theaters and digital television to

In collapsing the months-long release window into a matter of days, Cuban says consumers will have more choice in how content is delivered, which may result in higher overall sales. In answering critics who have decried the day-and-date approach as the death knell of the theater experience, Cuban has compared the approach to the NBA, in which sold-out games are also aired live on television.

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