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Mark Cuban Puts Landmark Theaters, Magnolia on the Block UPDATED

Photo of Anne Thompson By Anne Thompson | Thompson on Hollywood April 19, 2011 at 10:41AM

Mogul Mark Cuban, 52, put indie chain Landmark Theatres and specialty distributor Magnolia Pictures up for sale more than a month ago via investment bank Moelis & Co. The first round of auction bids come in next week. The story was first reported by Bloomberg. "Business is great," wrote Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban in an e-mail. "We are just testing the waters. Lets see what market thinks it's worth, then we can decide what to do."
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Thompson on Hollywood

Mogul Mark Cuban, 52, put indie chain Landmark Theatres and specialty distributor Magnolia Pictures up for sale more than a month ago via investment bank Moelis & Co. The first round of auction bids come in next week. The story was first reported by Bloomberg. "Business is great," wrote Dallas Mavericks owner Cuban in an e-mail. "We are just testing the waters. Lets see what market thinks it's worth, then we can decide what to do."

Founded in 1974, Landmark has 296 screens in 63 theatres in 17 states. While theaters are reporting a drop in box office of 20% so far this year, Landmark is up 8 % over last year, thanks to top-five performers The King's Speech, Black Swan, Jane Eyre, Blue Valentine and Win Win. New movie The Conspirator, from Robert Redford, is also doing strong business. Magnolia Pictures releases indie films in theaters (All Good Things, I Saw the Devil) and has led the way, along with IFC Films, on VOD releasing. The companies' owner, holding company 2929 Entertainment, which also owns HDNet cable channel and HDNet Movies, has a mixed record as a film producer.

I hear there is buyer interest in Landmark from potential investors. Cuban originally bought the theater chain from investor Oak Tree, which then acquired Sundance Cinemas. It's hard to imagine any of the other theater chains--AMC, Pacific, Rave, Cinemark or Regal--knowing what to do with Landmark, which gears itself to its own special audiences.

[UPDATE] Here is Carrie Rickey's take. She asks "What are your worries? What do you think of the Ritzes under Landmark's stewardship? What kind of offerings would you like to see at the theaters? Where are you watching art and alt films?

This article is related to: Box Office, Independents, News, Exhibition


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Thompson on Hollywood

Born and raised in Manhattan, Anne Thompson grew up going to the Thalia and The New Yorker and wound up at grad Cinema Studies at NYU. She worked at United Artists and Film Comment before heading west as that magazine's west coast editor. She wrote for the LA Weekly, Sight and Sound, Empire, The New York Times and Entertainment Weekly before serving as West Coast Editor of Premiere. She wrote for The Washington Post, The London Observer, Wired, More, and Vanity Fair, and did staff stints at The Hollywood Reporter and Variety. She eventually took her blog Thompson on Hollywood to Indiewire. She taught film criticism at USC Critical Studies, and continues to host the fall semester of “Sneak Previews” for UCLA Extension.