Negotiations are underway between several major studios and big cinema chains, including Regal and Cinemark, to narrow the theatrical window for consumers following word of talks between the groups last month.
Exhibitors have always been steadfast in their opposition to a premium VOD service, but now some have softened their stance and it looks like several major studios will be able to offer films on the likes of iTunes or potentially other streaming services around seventeen days after they open in cinemas – albeit at a high premium price.
THR reports that things are moving fast. However there are two sticking points coming up in the talks. The first is that at least one of the three major theater chains wants a written guarantee that a studio won’t try to shorten the existing 3-4 month home entertainment window anytime in the next 5-10 years.
The other is the studios participating. Universal, Warner and Sony are all in talks for the service, but one studio won’t be a part in any discussion and that’s Disney which has become a studio superpower that offers fewer films but turns them each of them into an ‘event’. It’s been successful enough they’ve no desire (or need) to change tactics.
Right now analysts aren’t sure what form this service will take and when it will launch. The first experiments with it though could begin as early as next year.