When Magnolia Pictures announced in 2006 that it would be putting a movie (Steven Soderbergh's Bubble) on cable and in theaters on the same day, a lot of people thought they were crazy. That just wasn't how movies were released. You could put something in theaters or straight to the home market, but never the both at the exact same time. Fast forward five years and now it's no big deal if a film premieres On Demand before it heads to theaters, and the bulk of that de-stigmatization of the VOD label can be attributed to all of the great films - from the grindhouse throwback Hobo With a Shotgun to the financial documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - that Magnolia acquired for their revolutionary VOD-then-theatrical release model.
Now The Weinstein Company is taking a page from one of the most successful distributors of independent cinema in the US and creating their own VOD label, and when we say taking a page, we mean it: Deadline has relayed TWC's press release announcing that the two men who perfected the platform at Magnolia - Tom Quinn and Jason Janego - will be in charge of this new label.
As of right now, there isn't even a name for this new branch of the Weinstein Company, let alone what their first title is, but the press release does make it clear that Quinn and Janego will be actively scouting for titles at the upcoming Toronto International Film Festival. And considering how many promising titles will be taking their bow there, it's probably a safe bet that they at least find something juicy to bring to the VOD table come 2012, which is when this new outfit is expected to distribute their first acquisition.
Also, it's not immediately clear who will be taking over Quinn and Janego's respective roles at Magnolia, but we sincerely hope it's someone that shared their same tastes. After all, we're talking about the pair responsible for picking up 13 Assassins, Let the Right One In, The Host, Troll Hunter, Monsters and Jesus Camp. We've little doubt they'll bring their A game to the Weinstein Company, so it'll be very interesting to see two similarly-minded distributors competing in the near future.