Cuban and Wagner Tap Soderbergh to Direct Six HD Movies; Simultaneous Release Planned

by Eugene Hernandez

Todd Wagner, partner in 2929 Entertainment, owner of HDNet Films, Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theaters, and HDNet Movies. Photo provided by 2929 Entertainement.

On the heels of the release of the HDNet Films production "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" last week in theaters and on cable television, Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's high-def production arm will produce six HD films to be released simultaneously on theatrical, TV, and home video platforms. The ability to distribute films in multiple platforms as part of a day and date release has been a goal of Cuban and Wagner's 2929 Entertainment. Steven Soderbergh has been tapped to direct the six new movies, in a deal that was said to be finalized at the Tribeca Film Festival (Wagner is a board of the Tribeca Film Institute).

First up for the partnership is "Bubble," a murder mystery set in a small town in Ohio. The film is already in production and the rest of the slate will be announced soon. The release date for "Bubble" has yet to be announced.

Calling the plan the first slate of simultaneous releases in movie history, Cuban and Wagner's new vertically integrated venture will handle all aspects of distribution. Magnolia Pictures will release the movies with an initial launch in Landmark Theaters, and cable distribution will take place through Cuban and Wagner's HDNet Movies high-def channel. They are still negotiating a home video deal and worldwide distribution for the movies.

"Given his prolific creativity and expertise for directing quality projects, Steven Soderbergh is the ideal partner to begin this venture," said Todd Wagner, in a statement. "From a consumer standpoint, it's about choice. We're letting people decide, for the first time, if they want to go out or stay home when a movie debuts. We specifically want to reward HDNet Movies subscribers with great, innovative films they can't see anywhere else on TV."