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Early Digital Releases Help DreamWorks Animation Sell More Movies on Homevideo

Digital dollars are adding up from families looking to buy rather than rent films before discs roll out at retail

Releasing its toons early through digital retailers is boosting how much money DreamWorks Animation makes from its films on homevideo.

Sales of “The Croods” through the electronic sell-through window, which makes films available on digital devices before the DVD or Blu-ray versions are released, is up 15% over other films for the studio, the company said Tuesday during a third quarter earnings call with analysts.

“With each release, the percentage is going up a bit,” said Ann Daly, DreamWorks Animation’s chief operating officer.

The Croods,” which has grossed more than $587 million worldwide, since March, making it the year’s sixth highest-grossing film, earned $4 million for the studio during the quarter, mostly from homevideo sales.

Hollywood’s studios are increasingly focusing on the digital sales of films, over rentals, as a way to increase the amount of money they make from their titles on homevideo. Pricing films at around $15 on digital has proved a sweet spot for many consumers, as has early releases on digital through the EST window for others.

The fact that DWA is benefiting from digital sales doesn’t come as much of a surprise, given that parents are often looking for fresh content to put on tablets and other mobile devices for their kids to watch.

Popular on Variety

Twentieth Century Fox Home Entertainment distributes DreamWorks Animation’s films on homevideo.

Fox has found that offering up films around two to three weeks early on digital as Digital HD-branded titles has served as an incentive for consumers to buy the movies to watch before the discs’ release.

“It’s become more and more a significant part of our business,” said Lew Coleman, DreamWorks Animation’s chief financial officer.

Moving forward, DWA is evaluating how it releases each of its upcoming films through the EST window and supports those roll outs with exclusive content to help boost sales even more.

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