The wait for new digital movie releases could shorten to just two weeks

The wait for new digital movie releases could shorten to just two weeks
August 18 18:02 2017

Hollywood is reportedly discussing ways to make the latest digital flicks available for purchase or rental as soon as two weeks following their theater debuts in order to make up for declining sales of DVDs in the age of Netflix.

In a new report from Bloomberg today, Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures are reportedly pressing on in talks with Apple and Comcast on ways to push ahead with the creation of a $30 to $50 premium movie-download product, even without theater chains.

“Deals with potential distributors such as Apple and Comcast could be reached as soon as early next year to sell digital downloads of major films as soon as two weeks after they debut in theaters,” said the sources.

Here’s an excerpt from the Bloomberg story:

The theatrical window of exclusivity over new movies has long been sacrosanct, in part because Hollywood’s biggest directors and actors value the big screen over television. But the industry has allowed the exclusivity period before DVD sales to shrink to about three months after a movie’s opening weekend, compared with six months historically.

Fearing such a service could cut into their profits, cinema chains are said to be seeking ten years of revenue split which the studios have rejected. Some theater executives have told the studios that about half of a movie’s revenue now comes from its theatrical run, which they could be jeopardizing.

If the cinema chains agree to support the project, the studios may share a split of the revenue from the rumored service. However, no mutually-beneficial deal has been reached after months of negotiations.

The Hollywood majors, except for Walt Disney which recently announced plans to launch its own streaming services, are reportedly eager to introduce a new service to make up for declining sales of DVDs and other home entertainment in the age of Netflix.

The terms being discussed vary between each studio and each cinema chain. Some talks are reportedly focusing on a release date of about 17 days after debut, for about $50, or four to six weeks from release for $30.

Deals with potential distributors would give the studios an upper hand over the theater chains, in which case the studios may start selling the movie downloads without support from the theater chains. “The movie houses could fight back by boycotting films slated for sale via download days after their theatrical debut,” the article added.

Still, the whole industry seems to be moving in this direction, with Lions Gate Entertainment CEO Jon Feltheimer rooting for a shorter digital release window on a recent earnings call with investors.

“You’re going to see some tests done at least in some territories in the near future,” he said on the call this month. “I hope that will happen, I think it will be great for the business.”

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