iTunes To Sell Movies Same Day As DVD Release

Apple will be selling downloads of new movies via its iTunes service on the same day as their DVD release, officials said Thursday.

Apple has struck deals to offer downloads of new releases and catalog titles from Paramount Pictures, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Image Entertainment and First Look Studios.

“We’re thrilled to bring iTunes Store customers new films for purchase day-and-date with the DVD release,” Eddy Cue, Apple’s vice president of iTunes, said in a prepared statement. “We think movie fans will love being able to buy their favorites from major and independent studios.”

Downloads of new releases will cost $14.99 and most catalog titles will be priced at $9.99.

The new releases that will be available for purchase on the iTunes Store this week, concurrent with their DVD release, include American Gangster and The Diving Bell and the Butterfly. Other popular titles now available for purchase include Juno, Cloverfield, I Am Legend, There Will Be Blood, Alvin and the Chipmunks and Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story.

The iTunes comes on the heels of news that Viacom’s Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate have formed a joint venture, which includes Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studio, that will launch a premium network and on-demand service next year.

Analysts have speculated that the three movie studios will look to offer their theatricals online as part of their new premium service. So it’s unclear how the iTunes deal Thursday would impact such a plan, since both Paramount and Lionsgate will now be selling their movie download’s on Apple’s online platform.

Along the lines of iTune’s news Thursday, earlier this week Time Warner Inc. announced that its Warner Bros. unit will start offering its movies on video-on-demand on the same day as their DVDs are released.