On December 26, Warner Bros’ Final Destination 5 will become the first UltraViolet-enabled title to be released in the UK via DVD, Blu-ray and Triple Play. From then on, all of the studio’s future home entertainment releases in the UK — including Happy Feet Two, Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows and The Dark Knight Rises — will fall under the UltraViolet “buy once, play anywhere” scheme. As with its practice in the U.S., Warner will offer the streams via Flixster.
Warner Bros was the first to release UV titles in the U.S. back in October with Horrible Bosses and Green Lantern. Although I was told by a Warner UK spokesman that there is no industry evidence as yet on the impact of the added UltraViolet aspect, the Associated Press today reports that consumers of those earlier films found the system didn’t work as expected. Warner Bros UK spokeswoman Deborah Lincoln, who had not read the AP report but was aware of certain complaints, tells me the confusion was largely related to the fact that those first titles didn’t have download ability to certain devices — which she assured me was not going to be the case in the UK. In part, she said, the confusion may have come from early media reports regarding UltraViolet touting it as an anytime, anywhere technology for all devices including IOS — shorthand for Apple’s mobile operating system. Those capabilities do exist now, and Lincoln says, “We’ve learned to be clear.” She added that with such a new technology, “there are inevitably going to be lessons … we’re going to be learning and keep changing.”
In between Warners’ U.S. and UK releases, Sony began testing the U.S. waters with The Smurfs and Friends With Benefits in early December and will soon release Moneyball in the same fashion. The UltraViolet initiative is backed by the Digital Entertainment Content Ecosystem, which is made up of the major studios (save, notably, Disney) several VOD platforms and other media partners. Canada will be the next stop for an UltraViolet launch.
In the UK, supermarket giant Tesco, along with its majority-owned Blinkbox online service, has launched its own version of a digital cloud. The service rolled out earlier this month with the release of Warner Bros’ Harry Potter And The Deathly Hallows Part 2. Lincoln says the fact that the Tesco service launched with a Warners title ahead of Warners’ own UV launch was just a question of timing. Tesco is also part of the DECE alliance.
That’s the most interesting part of Sony Pictures Home Entertainment’s announcement today about its video plans for the movie starring Brad Pitt as Oakland A’s General Manager Billy Beane. Yes, it’s noteworthy that people who buy a Blu-ray disc will … Read More »
UPDATE: The question about whether Apple devices can show UltraViolet films is complicated, it seems. The folks at Warner Bros say that iPhones and iPads can handle them – but not through the traditional channel, the iTunes Store. Users must download an app to also register with Flixster, a site that Time Warner owns. Movies can be streamed, but not downloaded yet. Sony’s likely to have a similar work-around for its Dec. 2 release of UltraViolet-enabled Blu-ray discs for Friends With Benefits and The Smurfs.
PREVIOUS, 10:50 AM: There’s still a fair amount of skepticism about the entertainment industry’s long-awaited UltraViolet program today as it kicks off with Warner Bros’ home video release of Horrible Bosses — to be followed on Friday by The Green Lantern. The DVD and Blu-ray versions of Bosses will be first that make it possible for buyers to watch it on mobile devices from UltraViolet’s Internet cloud. Studios and consumer electronics companies have a lot at stake in promoting the “buy once, play anywhere” concept. It’s part of a process to slow the stomach-churning decline in home video sales. Consumers will spend about $16.9B on home video this year, down from $24.4B in 2004, SNL Kagan says. If UltraViolet catches on, then it also could give studios a lot of flexibility to control the way their films are presented and handled as consumers begin to abandon discs and just rely on digital streams and downloads.
The problem? UltraViolet movies won’t play on Apple gadgets such as the iPhone and iPad. The initiative also won’t include movies from Disney, which is preparing its own cloud-based system called Disney Studio All Access. “Not only is the ecosystem not fully launched, with a common downloadable file format a ways off, but there has been no consumer education on the technological transition from a pre-UV world to the new UV ecosystem,” BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield says. Read More »
FX’s buying spree of marquee summer movie titles continues with deals for comedies Friends With Benefits and Horrible Bosses. Additionally, the network has the rights to current No. 1 opener Captain America: The First Avenger under FX’s 2008 output deal with … Read More »
SUNDAY AM, 6TH UPDATE: Wait a minute — aren’t all the superheroes in San Diego at Comic-Con? With so much news from the Con coming hourly all weekend, it’s been tough to keep up with North American box office where yet another superhero pic unreeled this summer. … Read More »
And then there were none. The last of the leftover midseason series new NBC chief Bob Greenblatt inherited from the old regime, Friends with Benefits, is getting a time slot … sort of. The ensemble comedy series will air back-to-back … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: After directing Easy A and the upcoming Justin Timberlake-Mila Kunis bedroom comedy Friends With Benefits for Screen Gems, Will Gluck has made a two-year development and production deal with Sony Pictures that covers TV and film and involves Screen … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Friends with Benefits co-star Ryan Hansen has landed the male lead in another NBC comedy project, pilot Lovelives. Lovelives, from 20th TV, Chernin Entertainment and writer Chris Sheridan, is described as a sophisticated, adult multi-camera comedy about a couple, … Read More »
It must be frisky trailer week, because Deadline has got hold of yet another movie trailer–this one is Red Band–based on the concept of coupling without commitment. The latest is Friends with Benefits, the Screen Gems comedy that stars Justin Timberlake and Mila Kunis as close friends who want sex … Read More »
EXCLUSIVE: Zach Cregger has landed a lead role on NBC’s midseason ensemble comedy series Friends with Benefits. The 20th TV/Imagine TV project, whose pilot was directed by David Dobkin, explores modern-day romance through the eyes of five friends, each looking for … Read More »