‘Prometheus’ Hitting Digital Download Three Weeks Before Any Other Home Video Release
20th Century Fox is looking to jump-start a new way to get home video into people's houses by the offer of exclusivity. Starting with their 'Prometheus,' Fox is releasing the film for digital download on September 18, where the DVD and Blu-ray (and VOD options) won't street until October 11.
This comes from Deadline, who report that the studio has plans to do with this with all their upcoming titles, including 'Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter' and 'Ice Age: Continental Drift,' though it seems like most of those will be available only two weeks ahead of DVD and Blu-ray street dates.
To understand why Fox is doing this, you have to know a little bit of the history of home video. Basically, when DVD hit the market it was perceived as a game changer. With the format eventually taking over VHS, it also offered hit movies at twenty dollars a pop, with many featuring hours of additional content. For years this was a huge boom to the studios, where films like 'The Ring' or '8 Mile' might make $100 Million domestic and do much more than that in home video sales.
Once people realized having hours of bonus footage for films like the 'Planet of the Apes' remake, or 'Lara Croft: Tomb Raider' didn't make the films better, and that they didn't want to be stuck with a collection of movies they'd never watch, interest waned. Add a falling econom, and the rise of digital piracy and storage, and the bottom fell out. As such, studios are looking for a way of maximizing home video profits by trying different ways of approach home video distribution.
This will get the film some attention, and without physical media to produce, it's that much more profitable. Surely the system would rather go this way. But where those who still love physical media are a loyal audience for what they like, this is an appeal to a very fickle marketplace. Arriving early may have some appeal, but likely this is a strategy that will eventually fall by the wayside. Then again, it could become the new home video paradigm.