Posted on Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 by Germain Lussier
Everyone is still trying to figure out the magical formula for the home release of a movie. Studios like Sony, Universal, Warner Brothers and Fox are now releasing some of their movies On Demand two months after they premiere in theaters. Smaller companies like IFC release their films on demand before they open in theaters and the latest experiment comes from Summit Entertainment which will be releasing Duncan Jones‘ sophomore effort Source Code on demand July 8, two weeks before it arrives on Blu-ray July 26. What exactly do they expect that to accomplish? Find out after the break.
Here’s the official press release from Summit:
Summit Home Entertainment announced today that its Sci-fi film SOURCE CODE will be available to consumers via VOD and EST on Friday, July 8, 2011, approximately two weeks prior to the film’s home entertainment release date of Tuesday, July 26, 2011. Traditionally standard VOD and EST are available day and date with physical discs. This particular case will test the demand for viewing a bigger budgeted film digitally prior to the release of physical discs. Summit is not shortening the industry established window between a film’s theatrical release and its home entertainment debut, rather this test aligns with the studio’s ongoing efforts to find the best way to present its films digitally.
The keys phrases in that release are “test the demand for viewing a bigger budged film digitally prior to the release of physical discs” and “this test aligns with the studio’s ongoing efforts to find the best way to present its films digitally.” Those basically are Summit saying, “Look, we have no idea if this is going to work. Source Code is a good movie, let’s see if we can make more money this way.”
What’s interesting to note is that Source Code opened on April 1, so it’s coming On Demand just over three months after theatrical release and the Blu-ray will be out just short of four months. It begs the question, does one month really matter?
Either way, here’s what I predict happens. Some people who haven’t seen Source Code, and don’t care about the extras Duncan Jones is sure to provide on the Blu-ray, will pay the money to watch it On Demand and that will be that. The experiment won’t be a rousing success or failure. It’ll just be another piece of data that means very little. A blip on the radar.
For the average movie watcher, the person who flips through their On Demand menu once a week to watch a movie or uses Netflix a few times a month, they have no concept of release dates. They see something they remember hearing about on TV and they watch it. There’s only a very, very, very small percentage of people wanted to see Source Code in the theaters, didn’t see it in the theaters and will actually be aware that they can watch it On Demand two weeks early. Most people will get to it when they get to it.
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