DirecTV messed up.
At a bad time.
Just as the company is set to launch its contentious video-on-demand service, it incorrectly told subscribers that they could watch the new "Arthur" movie beginning May 1 — a mere 23 days after the film's release date.
The company didn't mean it.
What the company meant was, viewers could watch the original "Arthur," the Dudley Moore comedy from 1981 — not the new "Arthur," starring Russell Brand and Helen Mirren.
In an email, a company spokeswoman wrote, "So, it looks like it is a case of mistaken identity. With duplicate titles in our system, we erroneously added a premiere date to our "In Theaters" category for the 2011 theatrical release, when it should have been the library version of Arthur (1981). Arthur (2011) is not a VOD release title. We are fixing it. Sorry for any confusion this may have caused."
Warner Bros. says DirecTV made the studio aware and "apologized for the mistake."
It's bad timing for DirecTV's flub. Movie theater owners already hate the premium VOD service that studios plan to launch next week.