Summit Home Entertainment will make "Source Code" available two weeks early on digital platforms, the studio announced on Tuesday.
In a move that could rile exhibitors, the science fiction thriller will hit VOD and electronic sellthrough two weeks prior to the film's release on disc. It will debut on VOD on Friday, July 8, and arrive on disc July 26.
Summit is the latest studio to release movies on VOD before disc. In April, Warner Bros., Sony, Universal and Fox rolled out a new premium VOD service via DirecTV that offers films 60 days after they hit theaters for $30.
That move enraged theater owners, who claimed that making films available early would cannibalize the theatrical release window.
Summit is waiting longer before releasing "Source Code" on VOD — the film debuted in theaters on April 1: it's window will be more than thee months, rather than the 60-day window under premium VOD. The actual window for "Source Code" is closer to typical windows for major studio releases.
Indie labels such as IFC and Magnolia release movies on VOD simultaneously with theatrical release. However, the stakes are much lower with smaller budgeted movies.
Summit said that "Source Code" was being sent up as a trial balloon of sorts; one that will help determine the demand for viewing a bigger budgeted film digitally prior to the release of physical discs.
It did not indicate that the pricing would be a premium one and "Source Code" will have been in theaters longer than the films the other three studios have released on premium VOD.
In a release announcing the move, the studio said that it is "…not shortening the industry established window between a film’s theatrical release and its home entertainment debut, rather this test aligns with the studio’s ongoing efforts to find the best way to present its films digitally."
It's not as though "Source Code" is burning up the box office right now. Last weekend, the film brought in $412,000 in 299 locations, according to Box Office Mojo.
"Source Code" was released theatrically in the US by Summit on April 1, 2011 and has earned over $110 million in worldwide box office. It stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Michelle Monaghan, and Vera Farmiga, and is directed by Duncan Jones.