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by Brian Brooks
November 5, 2005 12:12 AM
5 Comments
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Magnolia Pictures Launches Home Entertainment Division


New York-based Magnolia Pictures is officially launching its own home video division the company announced today, revealing the slate for the new unit. The division, called Magnolia Home Entertainment, is headed by home entertainment industry vet Randy Wells who served as vice president of home entertainment at Miramax. The new entity is part of Magnolia parent company 2929 Entertainment's pursuit of a "vertically integrated distribution" plan and will initially release two to four titles per month in its first year. Magnolia Home Entertainment will also handle home video distribution for Magnolia Pictures titles, HDNet Films projects, select projects from HDNet and HDNet Movies, as well as home entertainment acquisitions from outside 2929 Entertainment.


Magnolia Pictures' acclaimed doc "Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room" by Alex Gibney will be the first film released on January 17th followed by Steven Soderbergh's "Bubble" and Joseph Castelo's terrorism thriller "The War Within" on January 31st. "Bubble" is the first of a six-film package to be directed by Steven Soderbergh that will be shot in high definition and released simultaneously in theatres, on HDNet Movies and on DVD. The new division will manage home video distribution of upcoming Magnolia Pictures theatrical releases including "The World's Fastest Indian" by Roger Donaldson, and Alex Steyermark's "One Last Thing..."


Other films to be released by Magnolia Home Entertainment include Soderbergh's new documentary "Spalding Gray: The Last Monologue"; Gibney's upcoming "Hunter," a look at Hunter S. Thompson, and "Herbie Hancock: Possibilities," which follows the making of Hancock's latest album; Hal Hartley's "Fay Grim," starring Parker Posey and Jeff Goldblum; "Surfwise," a biographical documentary directed by Doug Prey following the life and wisdom of Dorian "Doc" Paskowitz; "S&Man," an exploration of the relationship between voyeurism and horror films by horror director J.T. Petty; the Japanese horror film "Pulse" (aka Kairo); "All Fall Down," starring Anthony LaPaglia and Isabella Rossellini; "Diggers," starring Paul Rudd, Lauren Ambrose, Maura Tierney, Josh Hamilton and Ron Eldard; "Quid Pro Quo," starring Nick Stahl and Vera Farmiga; and Lodge Kerrigan's "Keane," starring Damien Lewis.


Magnolia's new home video division head Randy Wells with the company's head of acquisitions Tom Quinn at the American Film Market in Santa Monica, CA Sunday. Photo by Brian Brooks/indieWIRE



Completed films on the slate include "Bukowski: Born Into This," the acclaimed documentary about skid row poet Charles Bukowski; "A League of Ordinary Gentleman," a documentary which explores the world of professional bowling; Cate Shortland's debut feature "Somersault," starring Abbie Cornish; Mikael Hafstrom's "Evil"; Shane Meadows's "Dead Man's Shoes" with Paddy Considine; Argentinean comedy "Only Human"; Luc Besson's "District 13, Dead Bodies," starring Andrew Scott and Kelly Reilly; "Klepto," by Thomas Trail starring Meredith Bishop and Jsu Garcia.


Also in the slate are a variety of music, news and entertainment programs from HDNet, including Chick Corea Rendezvous at the Blue Note Live in New York City, True Music, Zippo Hot Tour and special projects from HD Net World Report, all produced in 1080i. Additionally, Magnolia Home Entertainment will release "Easter Island: Mystery and Magic," "Elite," "June," "Justice," "Martin & Orloff," "Nicolas," "Temptation" and "The Wager" in high definition DVD titles from HDNet Movies.


Industry veterans with a varied array of retail, distribution and home entertainment studio experience will staff Magnolia Home Entertainment including Daniel Quantz, director of customer operations; Jay Cohen, director of vendor operations; Christina Mancebo, brand manager; and regional sales managers Renee Brothers, Terry Malone and Bill Marano.


"We are poised to generate buzz with our retailers and their customers with our current line-up of exceptional films and innovative release strategies," said Wells, VP of home entertainment, in a statement. "I look forward to maximizing the performance of our titles and establishing Magnolia Home Entertainment as a force in the marketplace."


Created by Todd Wagner and Mark Cuban, 2929 Entertainment is a diversified media and entertainment company that owns Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theatres, Rysher Entertainment, and two movie production companies, 2929 Productions and HDNet Films.


[More coverage of AFI Fest and AFM is available in a special indieWIRE section; photos are available in indieWIRE's iPOP.]

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5 Comments

  • bert_duck | November 7, 2005 4:08 AMReply

    This is my theory obout the simultaneous releases. These companies want to make back all their negative costs in one weekend. The longer a film sits on the shelf, the less it is worth, after you figure in the loan to make it. You also only have to do one advertising campaign instead of one for the show, one for video, etc. I would try to make a cheap movie, and keep all foreign rights. No pre-sales. If the Magnolia guys do well, more will follow.

  • garymey | November 6, 2005 9:29 AMReply

    I too am curious about what goes day and date to theatres, home video and on-demand.

    Soderbergh may be making 6 films for that purpose but what would he say if Warners told him THE GOOD GERMAN was going out simultaneously in all formats.

    I notice Wagner and Cuban are executive producers of GOODNIGHT AND GOOD LUCK but don't see a rushed plan there.

    I assume the plan is a film that would have trouble being seen beyond the top markets in theaters will go all formatd at once so mmarketing has meximum impact.

  • msic | November 5, 2005 2:49 AMReply

    I can't tell from the article whether some of these titles are going straight to video. I'm assuming so, since home-video divisions always pick up titles for that purpose. But which ones? Is this why the theatrical releases of EVIL and SOMERSAULT have been delayed?

  • msic | November 5, 2005 2:48 AMReply

    I can't tell from the article whether some of these titles are going straight to video. I'm assuming so, since home-video divisions always pick up titles for that purpose. But which ones? Is this why the theatrical releases of EVIL and SOMERSAULT have been delayed?

  • bert_duck | November 5, 2005 12:59 AMReply

    I am not really crazy about this plan to release movies in theatres and on dvd on the same day, but it is not my money. I have noticed that when I go to the local video store, I have not heard of 90% of the stuff on the shelf. These guys are going to have to really advertise or push their titles, or I think a few of these companies will be lost in the shuffle. Movies won't be flops anymore, entire releasing companies will dissapear after opening weekend.