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Fox to Release Digital Movies Three Weeks Prior to Retail

Waiting for a major film release to finally hit store shelves can be a pain. Lack of availability is something often brought up during the discussion on piracy. Studios, for their part, have to battle with theaters when trying to release their movies to home viewers earlier than the current status quo. In an effort to revive flagging film sales, Fox will start digitally releasing high-definition versions of their films about three weeks before they can be bought on disc or viewed through on-demand services.

To top it off, Fox will also be lowering the price point to around $15 per film, whereas things currently sit around $20. If nothing else, lowering the cost of ownership should attract a few more inquiring minds. The whole scheme will be starting with the release of Ridley Scott’s Prometheus — which was middling at the box office, but promises to do better at retail.

Fox intends to rebrand their digital sales as “Digital HD” or “DHD,” because we clearly needed another acronym in an already saturated arena. A new service needs a new name, though, to distance itself from the inferiority of its previous incarnation. It is known.

The digital offering will be in effect for an indefinite period while Fox hoards data on whether it’s effective. If it proves worthwhile, the venture will likely continue, but don’t be surprised to find Fox changing its mind down the road. The earlier release only shifts things by a handful of weeks, after all. The chances of this being the answer to the studio’s digital prayers are slim, but not entirely without possibility.

(via The New York Times)

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