Magnolia duo employ cross-platform strategy

Company: Magnolia Home Entertainment

Titles: Cuban is co-owner; Wells is head of home entertainment

Leadership: As the man in charge of all of Magnolia’s homevid endeavors, Wells directs DVD campaigns for some 25 titles a year, many of which see simultaneous marketing and release across the other 2929 properties co-owned by Cuban and the less high-profile Todd Wagner (these include everything from the Landmark Theaters chain to the HDNet high-def cable channel).

The cross-platform strategy is grabbing eyeballs: according to Cuban, disc editions of original and acquired features as well as docus and music concerts are helping HDNet add “hundreds of thousands” of new subscribers each month.

Wells’ group opened shop last year with the DVD release of Magnolia Pictures’ Oscar-nominated “Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room” (which grossed a reported $4.8 million in worldwide box office receipts).

Now, acquired properties like Korean monster smash “The Host” — which began its Landmark theatrical run in March, with a DVD/HD DVD/Blu-ray bow set for July 24 — look to top “Enron’s” earnings.

High-def on disc so far has performed “not great, but not bad,” Wells notes. Nevertheless, Magnolia is already thinking past Blu-ray and HD DVD, encoding its current slate in an even snazzier “Ultra HD” resolution, while planning 3-D releases and distribution of films on hard drives.

POV: Wells’ keys to a profitable pic? “Be as strategic as possible with every dollar spent. Question every step. Provide all the support that the title will need in order to give it every opportunity possible to succeed, while maintaining perspective on expectations.”

Adds Cuban: “Having the vertical integration of Magnolia Pictures, Landmark Theaters, HDNet and HDNet Movies, (and) the Dallas Mavericks — and loving great movies — we are in a unique position that defines why producers love working with us.”

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