Humpday Sells to Mark Cuban's Magnolia Pictures

January 19, 2009


It seems the big sales at Sundance have almost all been comedies so far, or at least it looks like that'll be the case for the time being. Humpday, the "bro" comedy we reviewed a few days ago, was sold at Sundance today to Magnolia Pictures. Six various studios were competing for the rights, but Magnolia won over with a reported six-figure deal. In a very interesting change from the norm, they have decided to release it via video-on-demand first (on Mark Cuban's HDNet) before putting it into theaters one month later. This seems like it could be a good model for building up early buzz before getting crowds into theaters later.

For a little commentary on the whole situation, when I was watching Humpday, as much as I loved it, my concern was that it wouldn't really catch on with a wide audience. It is a very independent film and has a very small feel to it that I believe only film festival audiences might like. But then again, the reaction at every screening has been pretty great, so I think that means it has some potential to spread far and wide with the right audience. Either way, if anything we've written or anything you've heard so far has interested you, then be sure to catch this whenever it hits theaters (or HDNet). Are you planning to see it?

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  • J.White
    Looks good.
  • Janny
    might be a good move for magnolia but... um... internet piracy ftw!
  • Scott McHenry
    I didnt know Mark Cuban owned Magnolia Pictures, I've always thought of it as a solid distributor. Their tactic for this one is risky I think, but has the possibility of good revenue if it is a solid film
  • Gaddis
    This distribution tactic is not new, Magnolia has been doing it for over a year now. Steven Soderbergh's "Bubble" was the first highly-publicized movie to be released to homes and in theaters simultaneously.
  • Gmoney
    This just proves how out of touch "hollywood insiders" are. This was a great little film. It had tremendous potential. Now its been squashed by a bad deal with a crappy distributor. The fact that it didn't cost much to make shouldn't have dictated the price, the potential should have. This film was 1000x better and has more potentail than BK finest which sold for almost 10x as much. The big problem with thid deal is that the target audience for this film is males age 25-40. That group does not watch VOD. In fact its difficult to get that demo to even go into a theater. Magnolia won't spend the $ to advertise it and it will die a quiet uneventful death making back just enough money to break even, making it seem like everyone did the right thing. Too bad, because it is really good.




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