Report: Apple Wants To Release Movies On iTunes While They’re Still in Theaters

Image courtesy of Adam Fagen

Recently, 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Universal Pictures all confirmed they’re looking to offer high-priced, home-video rentals of new movies soon after they’re released in theaters. And according to a new report, Apple wants a piece of that pie.

Apple is reportedly having talks with Hollywood studios in its quest to release films on iTunes even before they leave theaters, people familiar with the matter tell Bloomberg.

Home rentals might be allowed as early as two weeks after they debut in theaters, and could cost anywhere from $25 to $50, those ever-mysterious sources say.

The talks are just one part of Apple’s efforts carve out a spot for itself in a very crowded online market for digital movies, TV shows, and music, the insiders noted.

The studios might not choose Apple as the preferred platform for those rentals, of course, as there are others out there jockeying for access. That includes Napster and Facebook co-founder Sean Parker, who announced in March that his proposed service Screening Room would cost $50 for a 48-hour rental of a newly released movie — along with the $150 it would charge for the set-top box required to view those titles.

Movie theater owners weren’t pleased with the plan, with a trade group saying that while there may someday be a need for “More sophisticated [release] window modeling,” that “Those models should be developed by distributors and exhibitors in company-to-company discussions, not by a third party.”

As it stands now, the traditional studio film won’t come out on video until at least 90 days after it’s hit theaters, even if it stopped playing on most screens after only a few weeks.