Mike Fleming

Universal Pictures announced today that Bridesmaids is the No. 1 most ordered VOD title of all time, with over 4.8 million rentals in just over four months of release according to Rentrak’s OnDemand Essentials. Bridesmaids, which will be available on VOD through February 29, has grossed over $24 million to date.The studio estimated that through all digital platforms including internet video on demand, pay-per-view, hotel viewings, and electronic-sell-through transactions, Bridesmaids has totaled more than seven million orders with grosses of $40 million domestically. The struggle between the major studios and exhibition chains to figure out a way to allow movies to play on VOD weeks after its theatrical bow remains at a stalemate. But the success of the day and date title Margin Call, and the prospect of Mel Gibson going straight to VOD on the action film Get the Gringo, and now this news about Bridesmaids, is sure to broaden this increasingly important revenue generator. Imagine what premium price Universal could have charged for the adult-oriented comedy a few weeks after it became a hit in theaters? It was Universal that tried to test a VOD release of Tower Heist in a couple markets for $59.99 three weeks after the film opened in theaters. I still think that studios and exhibitors will find a way to cut the latter into the ancillary revenue stream, bringing theatrical distribution into the 21st Century.

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