Warner Bros., Universal Pictures, Sony Pictures, Paramount Pictures, Twentieth Century Fox and MGM will offer some first-run and older titles on Movielink. New films will be priced similar to DVDs â€” between $20 and $30 â€” while older titles will sell for $10 to $20.
In a separate announcement, Sony and Lionsgate said they will sell films through the CinemaNow site.
Films from The Walt Disney Co. will not be available, although both services say talks are ongoing.
What convenience â€” a service both more expensive than DVDs and so crippled with digital rights management that you can’t burn the film you downloaded to DVD to watch on your own TV. Try harder!
And we’d be remiss if we didn’t link to the series of open letters being posted by "I Am A Sex Addict" director Caveh Zahedi at his blog regarding the day-and-date corporate crossfire in which his film has been caught. "I Am A Sex Addict" is being released by IFC Films as part of their recently launched day-and-date First Take program, in which films are released in select theaters and simultaneously on TV as video-on-demand. Comcast will be carrying "I Am A Sex Addict" but refuses to carry Cuban’s HDNet channels, so Cuban has responded by dropping "I Am A Sex Addict" from Landmark Theaters in Comcast markets, including the Berkeley theater at which the film was meant to have its opening this Friday (Cuban actually responds to one of Zahedi’s posts on the subject). Berkeley’s Elmwood Theater has since picked the film up for Friday.
We’re hardly in a place to comment on this (though we actually have very little contact with IFC Films, we can also barely explain the situation, much less come up with anything illuminating to say about the forces at work, and we’re far more comfortable parading around our ignorance about film than about business), but Zahedi makes a reasonable point here:
I seriously doubt that IFC is going to pull out of their Comcast deal, since Video-on-Demand is a significant part of their projected income for the films they are releasing, and a film like mine probably wouldn’t have gotten picked up by them if it weren’t for their Comcast deal. I have no idea why Comcast is refusing to carry the two HDNETs. In a pluralistic society, they obviously should. HDNET has made some great films, and a lot of people would want to be able to see them. But do you really think that pulling my film from your theaters is going to persuade Comcast to carry HDNET? I don’t think Comcast could care less whether you pull my film or not. It just seems to me like a case of killing the messenger. Or taking one of the passersby hostage. I had nothing to do with Comcast’s decision. I was just minding my own business, trying to get my film shown.
Despite all of the fervor surrounding the supposed revolution-in-the-making that is day-and-date releasing, the VOD side (which has the potential to be more interesting than DVDs) rests mainly on the approval of and getting carried by the few large cable providers in the country. It’s more than unfortunate that Zahedi’s film has gotten caught up in this squabble.
+ Hollywood to Sell Digital Films Online (AP)
+ Dear Mr. Mark Cuban (Caveh Zahedi’s Blog)
+ Dear Comcast (Caveh Zahedi’s Blog)
+ Dear Caveh (Caveh Zahedi’s Blog)
+ Dear Steven Soderbergh (Caveh Zahedi’s Blog)