There is some chatter online that we might get to watch The Force Awakens in our homes very, very soon. Like, next month soon. But it won't be on BluRay...
Early talk seems to suggest that The Force Awakens could hit streaming service like Amazon Prime and iTunes as early as March 15th. That's like three weeks from now! Squee. For those of you still dedicated to physical media, the BluRay is still rumoured to drop in April.
Now, I'm a little rusty on the small print, but I'm pretty sure a movie has a fifteen week window to do theatrical business before the home entertainment decision can take over, but we've recently seen a lot of movies (hello The Martian) debut a week or so sooner on streaming platforms. Only to own mind you, the rental often falls inline with the physical media release window.
The idea of the release window is to allow theatres to do business before they lose the film to the home entertainment markets. A few years ago there was outcry from theatre chains when Disney (yep, home to Star Wars) tried to get the release window for Alice In Wonderland shortened to allow the home entertainment division to benefit from the awareness generated for the movies theatrical release, and the theatre chains threatened to pull the film from release completely. Needless to say the window remained where it was and still appears to be in place today. Even for Star Wars which threatens to fill the release window completely, which many movies fail to do. I remember Pirates Of The Caribean being in theatres and in HMV on DVD at the same time, that's pretty rare though.
So how does all this impact the The Force Awakens release? Well, speculation that the film will hit BluRay in April seems to be inline with the theatrical release window, so without an actual announcement from Disney, we should treat this as informed speculation, but it's the iTunes release that interests me. There appears to be (I don't know for sure because it would require research and that ain't happening) that streaming is subject to different rules. The aforementioned early release for films such as The Martian, might indicate that we can expect an earlier release for The Force Awakens on that, and other streaming platforms. Which is a long winded way of me saying that this does add up. A BluRay in April makes sense, and a March iTunes debut is highly likely.
A quick side note. I was contacted last night by someone who claims to have and advanced copy of the BluRay. You can see some of our exchange on Twitter, but this caught my imagination:
Will you be getting the digital version of the movie? Or are you holding out for the BluRay? Maybe you'll be getting both. I suspect I will fall into the latter category. Leave your thoughts in the comments below.
Thank you for reading,