New tricked out versions of ‘Inception’ and ‘Unstoppable’ are coming to an iPod or Android near you
Within 24 hours of one another, Fox and Warner Bros. have both announced ambitious bids to develop the long-anticipated U.S. mobile movie business.
Warner is releasing app editions of "Inception" and "The Dark Knight," armed with games and bonus features for iPad and iPhone users.
Fox, meanwhile, unveiled a Blu-ray digital copy of "Unstoppable" that allows consumers to transfer the film and its extra features to their Android phones.
"We want to reach more people in more countries, and this is a great way to take advantage of the fact that the app store is available in more places," Thomas Gewecke, president of Warner Brothers Digital Distribution, told TheWrap. "We're experimenting with the concept of connected movies and recognizing that more people are experiencing content through connected devices."
Though he would not speculate on a number, Gewecke said that Warner plans to release app versions of additional catalogue and new-release titles throughout the year.
The app version of "The Dark Knight" is priced at $9.99 and includes three hours of bonus clips, as well as video trivia and the ability to make lines from the film into ringtones.
The "Inception" app sells for $11.99 and includes a making-of documentary, concept art, productions stills and movie poster artwork.
"Unstoppable" is somewhat different in its appeal, exentending the "combo-pack" strategy Fox and other studios have used to better proliferate the adoption of Blu-ray.
Though Blu-ray sales grew 68 percent last year to $2.3 billion, with consumers attracted to multi-format packages that let them play titles on myriad devices.
Overall revenue from mobile apps are expected to hit $15 billion this year, according to Gartner.
Moreover, the number of people who download or stream films through continues to swell. Take for example the fact that more than a third of the 3.1 million subscribers added to Netflix's rolls last quarter signed up for streaming-only service.
In many respects, the Android version of "Unstoppable" is a precursor to Ultraviolet, which will allow users to watch movies and shows they download or buy over almost any device — from TVs to smartphones to tablets to PCs to Blu-ray players.
Both Fox and Warner have signed onto that effort to develop a universal file format, and Ultraviolet is expected to come to market this year.
"We see this as a starting point," Warner's Gewecke said. "We're going to keep tweaking and adding new content as we try to find better ways to release projects digitally."