Finally, one studio seems to have realized that no one really wants to pay $30 to watch a movie on-demand, even if it is available a couple of months after being released in theaters. Lionsgate may be planning to offer Abduction, a thriller starring Twilight wolfboy Taylor Lautner, on VoD three months after theater release for just $6.99, if rumors are true. That’s a move that might change the whole VoD game one more time.
Abduction hits theaters September 23rd, and Lionsgate’s apparent plan is to release it through multiple VoD venues on December 23rd (Just in time for the holiday rush!) ahead of a DVD release sometime in January. The VoD offering will reportedly come in two flavors: standard-definition for $6.99 and HD for $7.99, according to an anonymous source speaking to Bloomberg.
And unlike other “early release” VoD offerings—multiple studios including Warner Bros., Fox and Universal Pictures began offering movies through DirecTV six to eight weeks after theater release earlier this year—Abduction is expected to be available not only through all traditional VoD suppliers but also websites of big box retailers like WalMart and Best Buy. Interestingly enough, the VoD availability will only run for 10 days, so that the DVD release in January will not have to compete with it.
Lionsgate hasn’t officially commented on the leaked plans, but if they turn out to be true, this could be a massive change in the way the movie industry works, turning early VoD into a genuinely strong alternate revenue stream to rival or replace the failing DVD market and giving audiences more options to view movies their way. Expect a strongly-worded rebuke from theater owners in three, two, one…
Graeme McMillan is a reporter at TIME. Find him on Twitter at @Graemem or on Facebook at Facebook/Graeme.McMillan. You can also continue the discussion on TIME’s Facebook page and on Twitter at @TIME.