Fox to release digital download versions of hit movies like Prometheus weeks ahead of its DVD and Blu-ray releases, while lawsuit means Marvel's Phase One box set will not be released this month as previous planned
An important milestone may have just been reached in the simmering battle between digital and discs, with Fox announcing plans to release the digital download versions of their upcoming movies up to two weeks earlier than any disc versions, including the Blu-ray version.
As part of their Digital HD initiative, Fox will start releasing its blockbuster hits, including Prometheus, Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter, Ice Age: Continental Drift, The Watch, and Diary Of A Wimpy Kid: Dog Days, all up to two weeks ahead of these movie's disc débuts.
Amazon, CinemaNow, iTunes, PlayStation, VUDU and Xbox Live have all signed up as part of the program to deliver the digital downloads, which will carry the price tag of $15.
Buyers will get the right to stream the same movies directly online, although the ability to do so is limited to the platform that the buyer has purchased from. For example, buyers who used iTunes can stream via Apple iCloud, while VUDU and Amazon will offer their own streaming options.
What effect this will have on DVD and Blu-ray sales, and perhaps even piracy rates, remains to be seen.
But Blu-ray packages with physical collectibles will most likely be unaffected by Fox's move to promote digital. The same can't be said for Disney's Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One box set, although for very different reasons.
The Marvel Cinematic Universe: Phase One box set includes 6 movies that feature all the characters found in Marvel's The Avengers, a 10 disc limited edition that also includes a replica glowing tesseract cube housed in a plastic replica of a suitcase featured in the film.
While most of the earlier concerns regarding this movie collection was due to the fact that the collection features films from three different studios, Disney Universal and Paramount, and that the distribution rights issue may scupper the release of the collection, the actual issue turned out to be much more bizarre.
The plastic suitcase that the collection comes in is based on the suitcase featured in the film. The only problem was that the suitcase featured in the film wasn't an original prop, but one from German luxury suitcase manufacturer Rimowa, from their Topas attaché case range. Rimowa has filed a lawsuit against Marvel and Disney for not seeking permission before replicating their case design for the Phase One box set, and as a result, the release date of the box set has been delayed from September 25 to a tentative Spring of 2013, according to a Disney press release.
Once released, the box set will feature a different casing, one that will hopefully not fall foul of any claims of unauthorised reproduction.