updated 07:55 pm EDT, Thu March 31, 2011
Movies to be available two months after theaters
Movie studios Warner Brothers, Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox have finally confirmed plans to launch a new video-on-demand (VoD) service that bridges the gap between theatrical releases and standard rentals. The service, which will be labeled Home Premiere, will allow users to rent new movies for $30 as early as two months after the titles first arrive in theaters.
Reports of such services circulated early last year, however the sources initially suggested the titles would be available just one month after the theater releases. The approach reportedly ignited controversy, particularly in the traditional theater business that is said to be threatened by the loss of potential customers.
Studios appear to have moved to a 60-day window as a compromise, arguing that two months is long enough to have little effect on theater visitors, according to a Variety report. Some companies have also noted that they may not move content to the VoD service until box office sales begin to fall off.
Home Premier is expected to launch sometime in April, initially as a DirecTV exclusive available through the satellite company's connected set-top boxes. The first few fils are said to include the action flick Unknown and Adam Sandler comedy Just Go With It.