DirecTV said today that it is launching its much-discussed premium video-on-demand service on Thursday, with Sony’s Just Go With It the first movie available to subscribers. Universal, Fox and Warner Bros also are in on the partnership, and cross-channel promotions begin today, followed by national ads. Under terms of the service, a movie will become available to download every two weeks for $29.99, which gets the user multiple views over a 48-hour period before the film disappears from the hard drive. All films will be in 1080p HD and Dobly 5.1 Surround Sound.
Other films in the early rollout include Universal’s The Adjustment Bureau, Fox’s Cedar Rapids and Warner Bros’ Hall Pass.
At a second glance, the VOD service seems a bit less than meets the eye. It is available only to DirecTV subscribers who have HD DVRs — that’s only about 6 million of the satellite company’s 19.2 million subs — and only one movie is available every two weeks. Not that any of that is much consolation to steamed theater owners, who have slammed the service for shrinking the theatrical window and are forming plans to retaliate against the studios by limiting their films’ trailers and signage.
SUNDAY AM UPDATE: Hollywood movies continue to underperform domestically since the start of the new year, including this weak weekend when the film industry honors its best 2010 offerings at Sunday’s Oscars. Talk about a reality check! Here are these Top 10 North American box office numbers:
Who gnew that in its 3rd week of release, this 3D animated toon would rise to #1 at the domestic box office? Gnoone! Because last night when I updated box office, studios were still saying it was behind Hall Pass. But there’s a dearth of family films at the box office and those Saturday kiddie matinees continue to be great gnews.
2. Hall Pass (New Line/Warner Bros) NEW [2,950 Theaters]
Friday $4.7M, Saturday $5.7M, Weekend $13.4M
Owen Wilson went on Leno accompanied by a clip from his past hit movie Wedding Crashers – and then had to hawk this weekend’s unsuccessful Hall Pass. Interesting how New Line has done well with its string of estrogen rom-coms, but then returns to its old formula of testosterone male-bonding films and falters. Had it stayed in first place by the end of the weekend, it would have been the lowest grossing #1 in two years. Hollywood expected this Farrelly Brothers comedy to pass $20M and instead the pic greatly underperformed. But not for lack of trying. Warner Bros marketing campaign attempted to leverage the R-rated concept and the Farrellys’ past successes and the newbie/vet comedy combo of SNL‘s Jason Sudekis/Owen Wilson — but failed. Challenge was positioning the pic primarily to men but also not turning off women. Trailers were paired with Due … Read More »
New Line has released a trailer for Hall Pass, the comedy by Peter and Bobby Farrelly about two guys (Owen Wilson and Saturday Night Live‘s Jason Sudeikis) who are granted a short reprieve from monogamy by their wives. The film opens February 25 and what the trailer doesn’t show is the fact that while the boys are trying to take advantage of their freedom, so are their wives.