LOS ANGELES (9/6/12) — Beginning September 18, with Ridley Scott’s science fiction thriller “Prometheus,” FOX plans to offer digital high-definition versions of its films for sale at newly lowered prices about three weeks before making the movies available on discs and through video-on-demand services.
The studio will make all of its films available for HD download about two weeks before the titles hit store shelves. The three-week jump for "Prometheus" is an exception.The next few films in Fox's queue are "Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter," "Ice Age: Continental Drift" and "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days."
The new system is an aggressive bid to revive consumers’ interest in the purchase of movies, by giving them an earlier shot at films for about $15 each, down from a purchase price that is currently about $20. That will nibble into what has been a waiting period of roughly four months in which pictures play exclusively in theaters before their release in home entertainment formats.
In a bit of rebranding, Fox will call its electronic sale offerings “Digital HD” or “DHD.” It is an attempt to charm viewers by putting aside a bit of industry jargon: “electronic sell-through.”
Fox will join the UltraViolet digital locker system that is already used by Warner Brothers, Universal Pictures and others to make films available, once purchased, on virtually any of a consumer’s entertainment devices.
Fox will offer the early, lower-priced sales on all of its forthcoming movies for an indefinite period, while monitoring the results. Based on discussions with exhibitors, Fox executives said they believed the move respected any concerns about narrowing the theatrical window. Fox executives acknowledged that Fox was nudging home video “a little closer” to the theatrical release. But, they said, most films are out of theaters long before they will be available for purchase digitally.
Fox hopes to reach 100 million potential consumers within the first week of the digital launch of "Prometheus" through Amazon, iTunes, Vudu, PlayStation, Xbox and Best Buy's CinemaNow service.