Lionsgate Makes 'Hunger Games' Its First UltraViolet Release10 Aug, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Lionsgate will bow theatrical hit The Hunger Games as its first UltraViolet release on Aug. 18.
In an Aug. 10 conference call with analysts, CEO Jon Feltheimer said the teen fantasy film, which has generated more than $683 million at the box office, would be available through UltraViolet channels such as Walmart's Vudu and Flixster.com, the Warner Bros.-owned movie recommendation website and conduit for the cloud-based industrywide digital locker. A code for accessing an UltraViolet copy of the film would be included with copies of the film on disc.
The two-disc Blu-ray and DVD releases have more than three hours of bonus materials and represent Lionsgate's largest home entertainment release ever. Walmart, Best Buy, Costco, Target and Apple’s iTunes will all have their own exclusive editions and bonuses. And Lionsgate will go the “Twilight” route when it releases the film the midnight leading into Aug. 18.
Steve Beeks, president and co-COO of Lionsgate, said retail presales, including iTunes, for the film have been significant.
"The Hunger Games gives us a huge opportunity at retail," he said. "Displays are going up at Walmart right now and we are well-positioned. This is going to be the entertainment retail event of the year."
Separately, Beeks said Lionsgate is aggressively making license agreements with subscription video-on-demand services Netflix and LoveFilm Instant particularly in the United Kingdom — a market the executive characterized as one of the more competitive for SVOD.
"We are opening in every iTunes store around the world," he said.