Amazon, Google Renting Movies Prior to Theatrical Release16 Mar, 2012 By: Erik Gruenwedel
Amazon and Google each have quietly begun offering two new movies separately for transactional video-on-demand weeks before their theatrical releases.
Amazon is offering The Hunter from Magnolia Pictures for $9.99 for a 48-hour rental through its Amazon Instant Video service. The drama stars Oscar-nominated Wilem Dafoe as a mercenary tracker seeking a rare tiger in the wilderness of Tasmania whose genetic code holds the secret to a dangerous weapon.
The movie, which also stars Frances O’Connor and Sam Neill, is set to launch theatrically April 6.
Google, which recently re-named its Google Marketplace to Google Play, is also offering the 'R'-rated title for $9.99. Separately, the search behemoth is renting action-thriller Dark Tide from Lionsgate for $9.99 ahead of its March 30 theatrical launch.
The $25 million budget movie stars Oscar-winner Halle Berry as a wildlife tour operator who agrees to face her inner demons regarding swimming with Great White sharks after reconnecting with an old boyfriend, played by French actor Olivier Martinez.
Magnolia, which is headed by Dallas Mavericks owner Mark Cuban, frequently releases independent films on disc and electronically prior to theatrical launch. The technology entrepreneur also owns Landmark Theaters and HDNet.
Lionsgate has aggressively mixed up release windows for select titles, including recently bowing action film Abduction, starring Twilight actor Taylor Lautner, on VOD ahead of its packaged media release.