Hulu Plus is one of the few video streaming services available in Japan, and it's adopting an unusual strategy to convince local customers to get on board — an upcoming movie will be premiered on the service before its theatrical release. On February 19th Sougen no Isu (A Chair on the Plains), an adaptation of the novel by Teru Miyamoto, will come to Hulu Plus, and follow in theaters on the 23rd.
There are a couple of catches, however: the film will only be available between 9pm and 12pm, only the first 1,000 customers will be able to watch, and you can't pause playback if it continues past midnight. Still, it's a notable experiment, and made even more so for being conducted in Japan, where studios are notoriously reticent to offer their content in non-traditional ways. Hulu has premiered TV show pilots before their US air date, but is yet to do so with movies.
We've contacted Hulu to see if there are any plans to expand this program further, and will let you know if we hear back.