20th Century Fox and its related studios are planning to offer high-quality movie downloads through iTunes, Xbox Live, and other services, roughly three weeks before top titles get released on Blu-ray and through streaming services. According to a report by The New York Times, downloads will cost around $15 each, and will provide a new way for consumers to access content during the so-called "theatrical window," generally a four-month stretch between the start of a movie's run in theaters and its physical release.
"We're trying to get this process started."
The first title to benefit from the initiative will be Ridley Scott's Prometheus, part of the popular Alien franchise. Fox plans to offer the movie for download in about 50 countries later this month, ahead of a much-anticipated Blu-ray box set supposedly featuring nine discs and an iPad app. The film will act as a test dummy for the service, which follows a failed effort last year to offer downloads just two months after theatrical release — while the average price was higher, at around $30, theater owners protested, and Fox and other studios were forced to back down.
"We felt it was a good time to take a more dramatic step," co-chairman of Fox Filmed Entertainment Jim Gianopulos tells The New York Times, emphasizing that Fox is the first studio to make the move. "We're trying to get this process started."