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Last Updated: Saturday, 30 April 2005, 13:11 GMT 14:11 UK
Soderbergh in digital movie deal
Steven Soderbergh
Soderbergh won a best director Oscar for Traffic in 2001
Traffic director Steven Soderbergh has joined forces with a US media company to make digital movies for simultaneous release in cinemas, on DVD and TV.

The Oscar-winning director, whose films include Ocean's Eleven and Erin Brockovich, will make six films under the deal with 2929 Entertainment.

Studios are concerned that launching DVDs on the same day as cinema releases will jeopardise box office takings.

However, Todd Wagner of 2929 said: "Consumers should have the choice".

All six Soderbergh movies will be filmed using high-definition digital technology. The first, a thriller titled Bubble, is currently in production.

2929 owns the US Landmark Theaters cinema chain, a nationwide chain geared towards arthouse and independent films where all six films will be released.

Brad Pitt and George Clooney in Ocean's Eleven
Soderbergh's box office hits include Ocean's Eleven

They will also be made available on 2929's cable TV channel HDNet Movies, a division of HDNet which reaches approximately half of all US homes.

Mr Wagner hopes the Soderbergh deal will boost viewership. "Consumers should have the choice of how they want to consume movies," he said.

The Dallas-based company said it is still in talks for home video and DVD distribution.

Strong DVD sales have led film-makers to call on studios to bring their release forward, to help recoup the cost of making and marketing films.

Studios have narrowed the gap between film releases and their release on DVD, but have so far not embraced simultaneous distribution.

Earlier this month, 2929 released the documentary Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room simultaneously in cinemas and on television, but said it was too soon to know what impact it had on the movie's box office takings.

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