Rise of the Guardians Goes Downloadable Before Coming Out On Disc

Dreamworks is experimenting with what will undoubtedly be the future of Hollywood home video releases. With it’s beautiful animation Rise of the Guardians the studio is releasing the downloadable version of the movie this week on services like iTunes. Meanwhile those who want a physical Blu-ray or DVD copy you’ll have to hold until March 12, 2013. I’m not the only critic who enjoyed the incredible visuals in this animation however the movie got a little lost in the midst of the Christmas rush and only did $100 million worth of business in the U.S. and Canada. While many studios would be happy to have their film reach that mark, this one cost $140 million to produce and is the reported reason why Dreamworks is laying off hundreds of people. (The film has since grossed $300 million with overseas revenue, but that still seems to fall short of what the studio needs to make a profit.)

In any event the early digital download release of this film is a sign of things to come. Latest reports show annual declines of profits from home video over the past years are finally taking a turn for the better with a very modest 0.23% increase in 2012 over 2011 and it appears legal downloads, Netflix and Blu-ray disc sales are the biggest contributors to the uptake. (While there are no firm numbers on DVDs, it’s known throughout the industry that sales on the over-a-decade-old format are in steep decline.)

So warm up your smart TV, or whatever device you have that can download a flick, and check out Rise of the Guardians.

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