I thought what I just read a little bit ago was an April Fool's joke. Then again, it isn't April 1 yet.
Warner Bros., Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox are the first studios that have agreed to launch Home Premiere as the official brand under which the industry will offer up movies to rent for $30 two months after their theatrical bows for a viewing period of two to three days, depending on the distributor.
DirecTV will exclusively launch Home Premiere nationally to its nearly 20 million customers, while cablers including Comcast will introduce the service in certain cities for an undisclosed period of time some time around the end of this month.
The first films expected to launch include Warner Bros.' actioner "Unknown" and Sony's Adam Sandler comedy "Just Go With It," sources close to the new service say.
The launch plans come months after studios started to float the idea to experiment with higher-priced rentals of pics closer to their theatrical runs as a way to boost their homevid operations with film campaigns still fresh in people's minds.
WB, U and Fox have already succeeded in fending off companies like Netflix and Redbox, forcing them to wait 28 days after a film bows on DVD to offer those titles for rent through their online services and kiosks. Those same studios wouldn't mind lengthening that window even longer and have considered pursuing such talks.