TWO MOVIES RELEASED ONLINE BEFORE THEATER DEBUTS
Theater owners have yet to react to a report that both Amazon and Google are currently offering Magnolia Pictures’ The Hunter for streaming, ahead of its theatrical release on April 6. The report appeared Friday on Home Media magazine’s website, which also reported that Google is currently offering Lionsgate’s Dark Tide, which doesn’t hit theaters until March 30. The trade publication observed that the two video websites have been offering the films “quietly” and are pricing them at $9.99 for a 48-hour rental. Some theater owners had previously threatened not to screen films that were released online while they were still playing in theaters — and that was when such rentals were priced at $30, a price that few consumers seemed willing to pay. While Magnolia has released some independent films online simultaneously with their theatrical release, it owns the theater chain — Landmark Theaters — where the films were screened. No other studio has even hinted at plans to release films before they hit theaters — and the $10 price range is likely to be regarded by many consumers as reasonable.