Apple iTunes to compete "day-and-date" with DVD releases -- Wal-Mart weeps (now official)

Hollywood Reporter says that Apple is expected to announce today an across-the-board deal to sell new release films at its iTunes Store. The deal is said to allow Apple to offer a "broad slate of top-shelf films" day-and-date with home video releases -- a long time stickingpoint with brick-and-mortar interests who want to keep their early-release edge on digital downloads. The deal includes Fox, Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount, Universal, Sony Pictures, Lionsgate, New Line and more -- all of which are currently inked to deliver rentals through iTunes. MGM is not part of the deal. That puts Apple in direct competition with Wal-Mart's DVD empire after having pushed Wal-Mart from the top spot in music sales for the first two months of the year.

Update: It's official. New releases will cost $15 and catalog titles will cost $10 -- US only for now. Full press release after the break.

CUPERTINO, Calif., May 1 /PRNewswire-FirstCall/ -- Apple(R) today announced that new movie releases from major film studios and premier independent studios are available for purchase on the iTunes(R) Store ( on the same day as their DVD release. New releases and catalog titles will be available from 20th Century Fox, The Walt Disney Studios, Warner Bros., Paramount Pictures, Universal Studios Home Entertainment, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Lionsgate, Image Entertainment and First Look Studios. Movies purchased from iTunes can be viewed on an iPod(R) with video, iPhone(TM), Mac(R) or PC or on a widescreen TV with Apple TV(R), with new releases priced at $14.99 and most catalog titles at $9.99.

"We're thrilled to bring iTunes Store customers new films for purchase day-and-date with the DVD release," said Eddy Cue, Apple's vice president of iTunes. "We think movie fans will love being able to buy their favorites from major and independent studios."

New releases available for purchase on the iTunes Store this week, concurrent with their DVD release, include "American Gangster" and "The Diving Bell and the Butterfly." Other popular titles now available for purchase include "Juno," "Cloverfield," "I Am Legend," "There Will Be Blood," "Alvin and the Chipmunks" and "Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story."

The iTunes Store is the world's most popular online music, TV and movie store with a catalog of over six million songs, 600 TV shows and over 1,500 films including 200 in stunning high definition video. With Apple's legendary ease of use, pioneering features such as new iTunes Movie Rentals, integrated podcasting support, iMix playlist sharing, the ability to turn previously purchased tracks into complete albums at a reduced price, and seamless integration with iPod and iPhone, the iTunes Store is the best way for Mac and PC users to legally discover, purchase and download music and video online.

Pricing & Availability

Movie purchases and rentals from the iTunes Store for Mac or Windows require iTunes 7.6.2, available as a free download immediately from iTunes movie purchases and rentals require a valid credit card with a billing address in the country of purchase. iTunes Movies are available in the US only and are $9.99 (US) for library title purchases and $14.99 (US) for new release purchases and $2.99 (US) for library title rentals and $3.99 (US) for new release rentals, and high definition rental versions are priced just one dollar more with library title rentals at $3.99 (US) and new release rentals at $4.99 (US). Short films are available to rent for 99 cents (US). Movies can be previewed, purchased and watched on iPod classic, iPod nano with video, iPod touch, iPhone and on a widescreen TV with Apple TV.

Apple ignited the personal computer revolution in the 1970s with the Apple II and reinvented the personal computer in the 1980s with the Macintosh. Today, Apple continues to lead the industry in innovation with its award-winning computers, OS X operating system and iLife and professional applications. Apple is also spearheading the digital media revolution with its iPod portable music and video players and iTunes online store, and has entered the mobile phone market with its revolutionary iPhone.

(C) 2008 Apple Inc. All rights reserved. Apple, the Apple logo, Mac, Mac OS, Macintosh, iTunes, iPod, iPhone and Apple TV are trademarks of Apple. Other company and product names may be trademarks of their respective owners.