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Studios Prepare to Shorten Theatrical Window Before Home Viewing

Several Hollywood studios are considering reducing the 90-day theatrical window and offering new movies in home for higher rental rates.

Half a dozen Hollywood studios are signaling that they may soon offer new movies in home just weeks after they hit theaters, Variety reports. Most studio releases become available on DVD and on-demand roughly 90 days after their theatrical release, with some titles available after 70 days.

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At Warner Bros., CEO Kevin Tsujihara has been negotiating with exhibitors to make certain titles available on-demand as early as 17 days after their debut. The arrangement would involve a much higher price point for rentals and the studios would give exhibitors a percentage of digital revenues. Though a $50 per-rental price was floated initially, the number that is reportedly being considered now is $30. There have also been discussions about shortening the theatrical window to 30 days or 45 days.

Fox, Universal, Lionsgate, Paramount and Sony are the other studios that have been in talks with groups like AMC, Regal, and Cineplex about coming up with a new arrangement.

Disney appears to be a hold out at the moment, with no intention of shortening the release window. The studio behind Marvel superhero movies and animated films benefits from long theatrical releases that bring in major box office revenues.

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Each studio would have to reach an individual deal with exhibitors because of anti-trust laws. The issue of changing theatrical windows is expected to be a hot topic of discussion at CinemaCon, the annual trade show for the National Association of Theatre Owners that takes place in Las Vegas later this month.

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