Feature to skip theatrical release

Ed Burns has inked a deal with Apple to bypass a theatrical release for his comedy drama “Purple Violets” and release the pic on iTunes.

Apple said the move marks the first time a pic will “premiere exclusively on iTunes.”

“Violets” will bow on iTunes on Nov. 20 for $14.99 and appear exclusively on the service through its first month of release before moving onto other distribution platforms.

Burns penned and directed “Purple Violets,” which screened at the Tribeca Film Festival.

Pic stars Selma Blair, Ed Burns, Debra Messing and Patrick Wilson and was produced by Wild Ocean Films.

“The specialized movie business has changed so dramatically in the last five years,” Burns said. “My style of filmmaking is dying on the vine. These small, talky movies have a hard time finding an audience theatrically, so you need to adapt.  There are still people who want to see this nontraditional type of film, and now there are nontraditional ways to get them out there.”

The first full-length feature to be made available for download on iTunes was Disney Channel telepic “High School Musical” early last year. Since then, the iTunes movie catalog has grown to more than 500 pics.

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