If there was ever an example that the film studios are desperate to boost home video sales, it has to be Prometheus.
The new film from Ridley Scott opened in U.S. theaters on June 8, but as of June 2 you could pre-order the film on DVD or Blu-ray on Amazon.com. If you did so, you would also get a $10 coupon towards a theater ticket of the film. The coupon offer is now over, but you can still get the retailer’s low price guarantee.
I can’t ever recall a film being offered for home video sale before the film has even been released (at least in the U.S., the pre-order went up after the European release). The window between the theatrical and home video releases have been getting shorter as it allows the studios to double-dip on marketing costs. (It’s still fresh in your mind, and they can tout the box office results of the film in real time.) But to use a DVD and Blu-ray pre-order as a way to also push more people into the theaters is a totally new concept.
There have been numerous reports about how home video sales are suffering with a lot of the reasoning being cheap rentals from places such as Redbox and the rise of streaming video solutions. As Prometheus will be on a 28-day delay window from rentals, and who knows when it would show up on “all-you-can-watch” video streaming plan, this one seems like an odd selection to be the first example of such a sales tactic.
Thus far there is no indication if this was just a trial of the concept or the first in an onslaught of such deals, but it is potentially something to keep your eye on. Could the movie studios really be considering practically giving away a theatrical viewing of the film to drive up the home video sales?