Warner Bros. has announced plans to shrink the window between when you’re forced to mingle with the flu-ridden rabble to see a movie and when you can finally screen it at home, safely ensconced behind your plastic sheeting and aluminum foil. According to Variety, by summer 2011 the studio plans to roll out its own premium video-on-demand service that will run movies a mere 60 days after theatrical release, some 30 days sooner than current VOD windows. While it’s still working out the specifics, avoiding human contact is not likely to be cheap: Right now it’s considering charging $25 to $30 per title, although that’s certainly not astronomical given the continued inflation of theater prices (which will only go up even higher once services like these become the norm).
Unfortunately, even those who don’t want to use Warner Bros.’ VOD could be affected, as the studio is also considering lengthening the current 28-day window before its films are available through Netflix and Redbox, and charging those companies more to stock their titles. Of course, given that many may balk at the steep price for seeing a film that’s been out for a couple months already, choosing to instead wait a few more weeks to just get it on Netflix, it’s possible that this could all be a prelude to moving toward a same-day release for both VOD and cinemas. And that’s when movie theaters will finally fall to the wolves.
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