An interesting trend may be starting in the world of movie streaming, where internet releases take precedence over their physical counterparts. On September 3rd, the movie Freakonomics was made available to rent through iTunes before its theatrical release (and long before its DVD release). This wouldn’t be the first time that a production company released a movie online before -or instead of- a theatrical release: The Yes Men launched on BitTorrent to evade the legal problems that arose due to its nature, Centurion was first released to Amazon Video on Demand, and many indie film studios choose to leak their movies on peer to peer networks to create a buzz and minimize distribution costs.
Of course, a few examples doesn’t signify an industry change, but with the recent push towards streaming media it certainly is a future possibility. Releasing a movie online before it is available in theaters or on DVD could be beneficial for the studios, who could essentially “double dip” and get increased sales.
Whether internet pre-releases will become mainstream or stay a indy affair is unknown, but with the way things are progressing, it’s certainly a possibility that your living room will soon become the primary place get new content.