For Sale

Mark Cuban owns a lot of things, websites, cable channels, sports teams, and even some movie related companies. Magnolia Pictures is a distribution company that focuses on distributing foreign and art films in the United States. Landmark Theaters is a theater chain that plays those foreign and art films, the biggest one in the U.S. actually. They are both part of Cuban’s holdings, but now he’s put them up for sale. As a movie fan, I find this news to be pretty scary.

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Perhaps the final step in the humiliation of the once monolithic Blockbuster Inc. has been taken. First it was plummeting revenue, then it was filing for bankruptcy, and now the entire company is up for auction. The company’s top four creditors have joined forces to create a limited liability company that has set the initial bid at $290 million. Either another interested party will swoop in and bid more, or if no other bids are placed ownership of the company will go into the hands of its creditors. I think somebody rich should scoop up this and MySpace and start a pop culture museum. Blockbuster was once an unstoppable giant whose franchises swept across the country putting mom and pop video stores out of business left and right by offering a larger selection of new releases, pricing them at a lower point due to the volume they worked in, and streamlining the once arduous rental process with computerized records keeping. Gone were the fragmented, independently owned shops that were often unorganized treasure troves of VHS discoveries. In their place were walls of new releases: hundreds of copies of a small handful of films. Everyone watching the same thing, everyone developing the same limited set of expectations. In my eyes Blockbuster did quite a bit to homogenize the film industry. They put focus entirely on what was new rather than on discovering film history, they supplied far more pan and scan films in lieu of stocking movies with their original aspect […]

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