The Copy And Paste Guide To A Job With Mark Cuban (Or Understanding The New New Movie Business)

[So Mark Cuban is offering a job to the person who can figure out how to get people into the movie theater without massive amounts of marketing. As a public service I decided to print the answer here. Please feel free to tweak this idea and send it to Mark. After you get the job all I ask is that you send me some Mavericks playoff tickets for next year. Good seats, though!]

Dear Mr. Cuban,

I saw your post today “The Movie Business Challenge” asking:

“How do you get people out of the house to see your movie without spending a fortune. How can you convince 5 million people to give up their weekend and go to a theater to see a specific movie without spending 60mm dollars.”

The answer is simple.

You don’t.

The idea that you have to release a movie nationally is antiquated.

Movies should be released to certain targeted areas and spread by word of mouth. This lowers initial costs and allows your movie to build momentum.

And momentum is very important in the media business.

It’s why the future is smaller movies with longer cinema shelf lives.

Targeting in small geographical locations allows you to build relationships in cities, states, etc. with ‘trend setters’ or ‘momemtum builders” . It makes it easier to track where people actually care about your movie.

Like every other business, the selling of movies is a relationship business. And the most important relationship is the one between the film and the audience. Starting small with very intention to grow nationally is the best way to create and nurture that relationship.

When you are working in a small area it creates opportunities not available to a national promotion campaign. You can create relationships with the audience that can transcend that particular movie and expand to your production company and other interest.

I think you get where I’m coming from.

Of course the devil is in the details.

But we can discuss that privately.


-a chartreuse (b) reader

Explore posts in the same categories: mark cuban, marketing, movies

18 Comments on “The Copy And Paste Guide To A Job With Mark Cuban (Or Understanding The New New Movie Business)”

  1. […] Intelligent response to Cuban’s post: The Copy And Paste Guide To A Job With Mark Cuban (Or Understanding The New New Movie Business) Technorati Tags: Chartreuse Mark Cuban movies […]

  2. Minic Rivera Says:

    …and the smallest so far is the computer that you have in your home. Small is the new big.

  3. Brian Says:

    Good answer. Don’t know if it works for Cuban or not, but if it does, I’ll see you over here in Dallas soon, neighbor. ๐Ÿ™‚

  4. R Says:

    The future is now.

    There are local rappers here in the Bay that are unknown nationally but are regional celebrities via their “hood/street” dvds. While the content is not exactly “Punch Drunk Love” it does resonate with their niche and helps them launder their proceeds from drug sales into legal money (jokes).

    Keek da Sneek, Mac Dre with his Thizz Television series, and Yuckmouth are 3 examples that come to mind. It should be noted that these artists also put out music releases so I’m sure there’s a cross promotion effect going on…

    Regardless, this isn’t isolated behavior as there are examples in most major markets….

  5. jeff marks Says:

    “Itโ€™s why the future is smaller movies with longer cinema shelf lives.” Hah! What’s old is new again!

  6. Adam Elend Says:

    I like your idea, Char, but you just described how most independent films have been marketed for a decade and a half. In fact, it’s a model that’s been mostly abandoned because even independent distributors can make more money with a wider first week release.

    The economics of theater ownership dictate that the initial hit is where the studio makes the money, and the slow, long run is where the house makes its money.

    I don’t know if there’s a solution to Mark’s problem. The demand for the theatrical experience is fading. We’ve watched live theater absolutely die. I mean it’s dead. Done. Dead. as a commercial enterprise.

    A start for theatrical film might be to lower the door price by getting rid of the HUGE cost of prints. The technology for digital delivery is there, and if the Studios are willing to make the capital investment, it could make lower ticket prices make sense.

    Or just make better movies that don’t come out of a focus group.

  7. TerryC Says:

    I think the point is that every film is an independent film. Or should be treated like one!

  8. range Says:

    I can come up with a cheap viral marketing campaign if that’s what’s appropriate. Though I’d charge the guy.

    Good ideas there Char. I have a few more but let’s just keep them between us, wouldn’t want Cuban to rip us off.

  9. Mark Says:

    Maybe it’s just me being old and cranky, but I’m actually happy to enjoy a movie in a practically empty theater. Choice seating, no rotten ass kids with their cellphones and stupid jokes, nobody kicking the back of my chair…

    It’s almost like being at home in front of a huge, ass screen.

    Seriously though (well, more seriously anyway), I do agree that it’s time for a technology and delivery upgrade. I’m just not sure you can do the digital thing yet, while still maintaining the look and feel of film. Once that happens though, I think you’ll see an increase in the theaters.

  10. chartreuse Says:

    Lots of great points.
    I still think the answer lies in getting smaller. Target smaller and fcus on smaller areas.
    And I know it’s like indy films which have been in resergence for the past few years…

  11. […] Mark Cuban is asking the blogosphere how to get more butts in seats at movie theaters without spending gobs of cash on marketing. I read about it in The Blogging Times and read a detailed post on a possible solution over at Chartreuse . Sorry Char! I say: […]

  12. Mr Angry Says:

    The thing is, I don’t think the studios can wean themselves off blockbuster, they’ll keep trying until they’re broke. I agree with your view of the future. But the studios prefer a multibillion dollar industry controlled by a few to a multimillion dollar industry in the hands of many.

  13. Meredith Says:

    People are definitely more inclined to trust word of mouth/friends’ opinions of movies rather than advertising. People trust people over critics, trailers and ads, so I definitely agree with what you’ve said about gaining momentum by word of mouth, starting small.
    An interesting article on this sort of thing:

  14. raincoaster Says:

    I think after decades of Big Tent movies and blockbustermania you have to start looking at the content. Check out the marquees in the pictures you’ve posted: Pirates is the only one making real money. And Pirates is about the best thing out there in terms of wide release. (obviously indies like HoV are in a different situation, but that didn’t cost hundreds of millions of dollars, either) Cars? Garfield? American Pie 2?

    Give the public what they want to see. But remember, increasingly the public is getting pretty good at figuring out what’s crap and what’s not, and avoiding paying to watch it.

  15. […] The Copy and Paste Guide to Getting a Job with Mark Cuban. […]

  16. bananasfk Says:

    math formula:

    current cinema model: Multiplex != place where can only see one film
    fix cinema model with: Multiplex = place where you can see more than just three popcorn films.

    Not been to a cinema since ‘Munich’, locally we lost a cinema multiplex of 12 screens (showing about two films only). Cant say i’ve missed it and did nto even notice when it closed down.

  17. […] The Copy And Paste Guide To A Job With Mark Cuban (Or Understanding The New New Movie Business) […]

  18. […] Of course, this has spurred a series of responses on Cuban’s site and elsewhere on the ‘Net. While no one has yet solved the problem, generating the dialog is probably a good […]

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