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'Bubble' Will Hit Theaters, TV and DVD in Same Week

In a unique test of the consumer marketplace this week, Director Steven Soderbergh's new motion picture "Bubble" will air on Mark Cuban's HDNet Movies channel on the same day the film opens in theaters (Friday, Jan. 27). A few days later, the film will be released on DVD.

The movie will air on HDNet Movies twice on opening night (9 p.m. and 11 p.m. EDT). It is the first of six films the Academy Award-nominated director will shepherd for HDNet Films (the production arm for HDNet), that will be shot in HD and simultaneously released via this same trio of media venues. The idea is to simply allow consumers to pick the environment and media they wish to use to view the same content, Soderbergh said on NPR.

The Washington Post cited as an analogy this week, the "Golden Age of rock 'n' roll," where songs would become hits after they received a lot of radio airplay. It would be foolish, it was suggested, to play the records over and over again on-air and then tell listeners they could only purchase the music several months later. But critics say that's what Hollywood does today with motion pictures when they finally come to DVD and to VOD (although that wait has shortened considerably in the past year).

It will be interesting to see DVD sales on this experiment, since most consumers will know virtually nothing about the movie, and the HDNet Movies channel still has a relatively small audience. "Bubble" is described as a bizarre love triangle that is created at a doll factory in a small Midwestern town. When a murder investigation begins, it calls into question the established assumptions about the characters and life in their small town.