Warner Bros. halts sale of new DVDs to Blockbuster


Warner Bros. has decided not to supply its latest DVDs to Dish Network’s Blockbuster movie-rental chain after the two sides couldn’t agree on a 28-day window between films going on sale and their availability for rent. The blocked movies include “Horrible Bosses” and “The Green Hornet,” according to a Financial Times story, and will continue from here on out.

“The question is: how do we make ownership more valuable and attractive?” Warner Bros Home Entertainment president Kevin Tsujihara told the FT. “We have started the process of creating a window in bricks-and-mortar DVD and Blu-ray rental…(Blockbuster) felt it was important to continue to offer day and date rental, so rather than work with us they went around us.”

Indeed, Blockbuster is buying the DVDs from other suppliers, the newspaper reported.

Warner Bros. has also made digital versions of “Horrible Bosses” and “Green Hornet” available this month as part of the new Web- based UltraViolet service, which allows customers to stream purchased copies of films to a variety of portable devices.

Tsujihara also warned: “The Netflix and Redbox deals are going to be expiring at the end of the year and beginning of next year and it’s likely we will try to extend those windows.”

Studios are experimenting with narrowing the home-video release windows, including shorter waiting periods for the release of movies through VOD, to compensate for declining DVD sales. It’s also creating blowback from the theater chains. Universal Pictures’ recent plans to offer its upcoming Eddie Murphy-Ben Stiller comedy on premium VOD just three weeks after it opens in theaters on 11/4 was scrapped. A number of independent theater chains vowed not to play the movie in any of their locations if Universal proceeded with its plans.