Disney is the latest studio to jump on the emerging trend of releasing a key title in Digital HD before becoming available on disc and on-demand. Wreck-It-Ralph, which has made $175.5 million domestically and $275M-plus globally to date, will get that treatment February 12, while its Blu-ray, DVD and VOD offerings will come available March 5. Fox was the first to dip its toes in these waters, releasing Ridley Scott’s Prometheus — it’s biggest title to date — on September 18, three weeks before its disc debut; last month, Fox offered Taken 2 on digital four weeks ahead of its disc debut. The push is to promote the branded Digital HD, which offers downloads of movies weeks before their traditional home video window begins at a discounted price (Prometheus’ price point was less than $15).
The goal is to inspire the estimated 16M people expected to receive a tablet, smartphone, smart TV or other connected device this Christmas to make the action film starring Liam Neeson the first one they buy. Fox Home Entertainment is releasing Taken 2 in its Digital HD format today, four weeks before it’s out on DVD, Blu-ray, and VOD. That’s the longest lead time any studio has provided for the online version of one of its films. (Prometheus, the first video Fox released electronically ahead of the discs, held the record at three weeks; others have had a two-week lead.) Fox also will launch its first broadcast TV promotion for an electronic sell-through title. The company plans to hawk the film on Christmas Day NBA games on ABC and ESPN, in addition to Google, IGN, Gamefly, YouTube, and other web destinations. The film, priced at about $15, is being sold at digital stores including Amazon Instant Video, Google Play, and Apple’s iTunes Store.
This is a big addition for the Fox initiative designed to promote sales of digital downloads of home videos, which kicks off today. The studio is making more than 600 movies available under its new Digital HD-branded program. Today’s top attraction is Prometheus, being offered for less than $15 and three weeks before it’ll be out on DVD or Blu-ray. Fox‘s early release date for electronic sales is the change that’s generated the most industry buzz. Google had been the most glaring missing piece in Fox’s distribution network that includes Apple’s iTunes, Amazon, Best Buy’s CinemaNow, PlayStation, Walmart’s VUDU, and Xbox Live. But Fox says today that its Digital HD films will be available through Google Play and YouTube. Consumers who buy home videos through any of the online retailers will also have streaming rights, although the exact method varies depending on the seller’s business arrangements.