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Now Out In Theaters—And On Your TV!

A guide to the same-day-release movement.

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On January 27, Steven Soderbergh will release his film Bubble, through a new business model that many cinéastes say is blasphemy. In addition to premiering in theaters on opening day, Bubble will simultaneously be available on DVD and on video-on-demand cable. And Bubble is just the beginning of a whole new wave.


2929 Entertainment and HDNet
How It Works
Beginning with Bubble (pictured), 2929 and HDNet will release films on the same day in movie theaters, on DVD, and on the cable channel HDNet Movies.
What You Can See
Soderbergh, the most famous supporter of “day and date” releases, will film six low-budget HD films, including a documentary about the late Spalding Gray. The slate also includes Alex Gibney docs about Hunter S. Thompson and Herbie Hancock and Hal Hartley’s Fay Grim, a sequel to Henry Fool.
What You Should See
Bubble is a star-free, astutely observed drama that might not normally make it to a theater near you. A young man and an older woman (played by nonprofessionals) work together in a small midwestern doll factory—until the man’s girlfriend is found dead in her apartment. It’s a minor miracle the dramatic plot twist doesn’t derail their subdued characterizations.


Rainbow Media
How It Works
Rainbow Media, which owns IFC, plans to simultaneously premiere films at downtown’s IFC Center and through video-on-demand cable services (already available in 18 million homes). Rainbow Media CEO Joshua Sapan calls his new method “an electronic art house.”
What You Can See
Rainbow promises to acquire and distribute 18 to 24 films per year. The early slate includes American Gun, starring Forest Whitaker; Sorry, Haters (pictured), starring Robin Wright Penn; and the high-concept CSA: The Confederate States of America.
What You Should See
American Gun and Sorry, Haters received mixed reviews on the festival circuit. But CSA: The Confederate States of America, out February 15, is the sort of film that could benefit from this strategy most: a weird and utterly uncommercial faux-documentary that imagines what the U.S. would look like if the Confederates had won.


Google Video Store
How It Works
As of early January, the search engine has placed thousands of video files on its site, all of which are available for download. In addition, it’s signing up indie filmmakers willing to release their films on Google instead of via a regular distribution deal (some for free, others for prices like $4.99).
What You Can See
So far, it’s mostly live-concert footage and direct-to-video features, plus a slew of music videos and episodes of shows like The Brady Bunch, The Charlie Rose Show, and The Twilight Zone.
What You Should See
The indie feature Waterborne (pictured) is a pulse-raising dramatization of what would happen if a biological attack threatened our nation’s water supply. If the dialogue occasionally strains, the up-close, beads-of-sweat panic portrayed by the actors (Christopher Masterson, Jake Muxworthy) is compelling enough to make even unconvinced urbanites stock up on Evian.


Sundance Online Film Festival
How It Works
Simple: The good people at Sundance have decided to place 47 of the 73 short films that were accepted into this year’s festival online—so movie fans need only go to sundance.org between January 20 and June 20 to check them out.
What You Can See
You won’t get to see Gwyneth Paltrow’s directorial debut, Dealbreaker, but others to look for include The Pity Card, by Mr. Show’s Bob Odenkirk, and the Academy Award–nominated Gopher Broke (pictured).
What You Should See
Film editor James Duffy’s directorial debut, Robin’s Big Date, stars Sam Rockwell as an obnoxious, low-budget Batman encroaching upon his Boy Wonder’s private time. Need we say more?


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