Hollywood may want to brace itself for another epic fight. At least two major studios — Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures — are expected to reignite discussions about early video-on-demand, sources tell Variety, a move that could lead to a protracted standoff with theater chains.
For the past decade, no issue has incited bigger battles than that of theatrical windowing, the industry term for the length of time a movie appears exclusively in cinemas. Studios argue that they need to be able to release films on home entertainment platforms earlier as a way to combat piracy and capitalize on expensive advertising campaigns publicizing a picture’s debut in theaters. Exhibitors counter that a shorter window could cannibalize ticket sales and encourage consumers to skip the multiplexes, and wait to see a movie when they can rent or buy it. As it currently stands, most theatrical releases are not available in the home until roughly 90 days after they premiere in multiplexes.