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Dark Knight Comes Early to Korea on VOD

3 Dec, 2008 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Warner Bros. Dec. 5 is bowing The Dark Knight on video-on-demand (VOD) in South Korea two weeks before the slated DVD launch and four days prior to its much-anticipated release in the United States.

It marks the studio’s first major pre-DVD release on VOD.

The Dark Knight is considered home entertainment’s most coveted fourth-quarter release after the second Chris Nolan-directed Batman film starring Christian Bale dominated the summer box office, generating about $530 million in ticket sales in the United States alone.

Warner Home Video, which will switch distribution of DVDs in South Korea to local vendors at the end of the month, recently announced it would bow new titles in that country on VOD two weeks prior to DVD in an effort to circumvent rampant piracy and take advantage of the country’s advanced digital infrastructure.

Sony Pictures Home Entertainment, which shuttered operations in Korea in September, this week announced it will distribute DVDs through United Entertainment Korea Co. Ltd.

The Korean Film Council reported that the average South Korean downloads 54 movies a year from file-sharing Web sites, resulting in about $16 million in lost DVD revenue.

“The total DVD sales and rentals in Korea are less than 10% of theater revenue, which is a major sign of a distorted market compared to elsewhere,” Warner representative Kim Jeong-hyo recently told The Hollywood Reporter.

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