Netflix Gets ‘Hunger Games,’ ‘Avengers’ — 90 Days After Epix15 May, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Can't wait to stream The Hunger Games and The Avengers through Netflix? The good news is you'll get that chance. The bad news: It will be a while.
Netflix gets streaming access to the year’s biggest box office hits, The Hunger Games and The Avengers, beginning in 2013 — but only 90 days after their releases on Epix, reps for Netflix and the multiplatform pay-channel confirmed.
More importantly, the Epix window occurs four to five months after the titles are released at retail, which includes disc, electronic sellthrough and transactional video-on-demand.
The Hunger Games is distributed domestically by Lionsgate and The Avengers by The Walt Disney Co., which owns Marvel Comics and bought back distribution rights from Paramount Pictures, which previously had a distribution deal with Marvel Studios. Lionsgate and Paramount parent Viacom are co-owners (along with MGM) of Epix, which gets Avengers as part of the buyback agreement. Disney has a cable distribution deal in place with Starz.
No home entertainment release dates for the titles have been announced.
Online scuttlebutt had suggested that since Netflix and Epix signed an exclusive streaming deal in 2010 — an agreement that doesn’t expire until September — Netflix could have SVOD access to The Hunger Games as early as this fall and The Avengers in early 2013.
The movies' impressive theatrical runs portend successful retail releases both physically and digitally. That prospect puts lower margin SVOD on the low end of the distibution foodchain.
Indeed, through May 15 The Hunger Games has generated more than $387 million and The Avengers more than $380 million at the domestic box office. Avengers has generated $1 billion in global ticket sales in just 19 days of release, while Hunger Games has generated more than $624 million globally.
Netflix has aggressively sought new release movies since a license agreement with Starz Entertainment for Disney and Sony Pictures content ended in February. Netflix did score a coup in February when it secured premium cable channel rights to Oscar winner The Artist and other titles from The Weinstein Co. ahead of HBO and Showtime.
Epix May 7 said it would be the first to bring Hunger Games and Avengers to television, online at EpixHD.com, and through its apps sometime next year.