As Hollywood continues to face stagnant domestic box office numbers and flagging DVD sales, plans are afoot to find new ways to milk more revenue out of feature films. The latest bad idea -- which has been in the works for awhile -- would have satellite provider DirecTV offer new-release movies through their Video on Demand service within 60 days of their theatrical debut and a month ahead of their DVD release. The catch? The rental would cost consumers $30.
The move would chop as much as 30 days off the current theatrical-to-home-release window -- something that has theater owners up in arms. Amy Miles, the chief executive of Regal Entertainment, tells the L.A. Times that "If a film has a four-to-six-week window to a home, we're not going to give it screen time." She goes on to add the time frame is well outside any of the ones that have been discussed with the various theater chains. AMC's Gerry Lopez is also onboard, essentially promising that the company will refuse to screen any film released under such a plan. It would appear as though an entertainment war is on the horizon.
For its part, DirecTV is planning to roll out a trial of the program this summer. Sony, Warner Bros. and 20th Century Fox are already set to participate, while Disney is considering it. Paramount and Universal are taking a more wait-and-see approach and will not take part in the first wave of the program.