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Theater-to-DVD Release Window Shrinks

Due to piracy worries, the average time between a movie's release in theaters and its DVD release in stores shrunk by 15 days this year, from 144 days in 2004 to 129 days in 2005, according to a report from Kagan Research. The firm believes the window will not be reduced much further.

"If it shrinks significantly more, it would encroach on the box office," said Kagan Research analyst Wade Holden. "And that would be counter-productive to the distributors' total economic returns because what's lost in theatrical probably won't be fully made up in home video."

The report found that films that made less than $30 million at the box office went to video in an average of 115 days, while films that grossed over $30 million averaged 132 days. The staggered release window system has long been utilized by movie studios to maximize profits, although the report comes as director Steven Soderbergh prepares to release his upcoming film "Bubble" simultaneously in theaters, on DVD and on a high-definition cable TV network.

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