When Mark Cuban and Todd Wagner's production company -- 2929 Entertainment -- simultaneously released Steven Soderbergh's Bubble theatrically, on DVD, and on pay TV, the movie business went into an uproar. "They're killing the cinema!" people cried. To silence those haters, Cuban and Wager are now working on making going to the movies the kind of experience that will get butts off of couches nationwide. They plan to put millions of dollars into a theater model that will look more like your living room, complete with VIP chairs, sofas, and beanbags (could be cool). They want to have independent, foreign, and blockbuster films all at the same multiplex, like the Arclight in LA (cheers to that). They want to bring in higher-end food and drink, and are introducing a higher-priced ticket (is that possible?) which will include concessions and let the audiences serve themselves with something called the "Wall of Popcorn." Cuban and Wagner are unveiling their new concepts at three theaters in their Landmark chain -- locations in Baltimore, Denver, and at the Westside Pavilion in Los Angeles.

"Landmark's goal is to be the ultimate night out for grownups. Today's customer has different expectations than the customer of 10 and 20 years ago, and we need to recognize that and respond to it," says Cuban. "In our new Denver theater, we completely removed the concession stands. The original design had the traditional concession stand taking up prime real estate and dominating the look and feel of the theater. We decided that we would rather use that space for amenities, retail sales (movies, books, indie cinema related items), and 'interstitial' type entertainment that complements our 'datenight for grownups' concept in a lounge-like environment. Basically it became a place where you could go on a date, have a drink, food and be entertained before and after seeing a movie." Since theater-owners already hate Cuban after his day-and-date releasing plan, chances are that news of these theaters will not be greeted with open arms. I've got to say I'm all for it. Going to the theater is far too expensive to be as unpleasant as it so often is - why not experiment with the formula?