×

Movies Anywhere App Launches With Joint Studio Backing

Disney-owned Movies Anywhere service gets backing from most of the majors, launches tonight

Five of the six major Hollywood studios have joined forces to make digital movie collecting easier than ever.

Movies Anywhere, a free app and website digital locker service, launches tonight at 9 p.m. PT, backed by four top digital retailers and content from Walt Disney (including Pixar, Marvel Studios and Lucasfilm), Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox Film, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Entertainment — a combined library of more than 7,300 digital movies.

Movies can be redeemed through digital retailers Amazon Video, Google Play, iTunes and Vudu (owned by Walmart). Movies Anywhere is a Disney-owned entity that operates independently with input from an advisory committee with members from each of the participating studios, according to a Disney spokesperson.

“It’s simplicity. It’s ease of use. It’s bringing it together all in one place. It’s going to be amazing,” said Movies Anywhere GM Karin Gilford at a presentation Wednesday in Los Angeles. “This is going to enable movie fans to sync their movie collection from the five studios across retailers, devices, platforms.”

It’s an interface that will finally make digital movie collection seamless, according to Gilford. The launch comes after several fits and starts, including the stalled UltraViolet digital locker service and Disney’s launch of its own proprietary service, Disney Movies Anywhere.

Popular on Variety

Observers say the studios abandoned UltraViolet for Disney’s model because the technology is superior.

Starting tonight, consumers can download a free Movies Anywhere app, create an account and link to any of the four digital retailers. The service will automatically populate consumers’ digital library from any of those four retailers on Movies Anywhere. Consumers can immediately stream or download any film from their Movies Anywhere library.

“The magic really happens when you link to retailer accounts because you get to see that whole collection come together,” Gilford said. “There’s that sort of aha moment that happens when all of the titles that you bought from one of our five studios on any of our four digital retailers all come together.”

Consumers can also buy new digital movies on the app through Movies Anywhere retailers and redeem codes from DVDs or Blu-ray Discs they have purchased to gain immediate access to more digital movies. Starting next year, physical discs will feature Movies Anywhere branding.

“We’ve set it up to be very easy for consumers, even ones that aren’t familiar with locker services, maybe have never used Disney Movies Anywhere or UltraViolet,” Gilford said.

Disney did not offer content through the UltraViolet service, backed by many of the other studios. It instead created its own digital locker, first called “KeyChest” and then “Disney Movies Anywhere.” With the advent of Movies Anywhere, Disney Movies Anywhere will go away, and consumers will be able to join Movies Anywhere and transfer their movies into their new Movies Anywhere account, according to a Disney spokesperson. UltraViolet libraries will also port over through the participating digital retailers.

Movies Anywhere allows consumers to have up to five subaccounts, in addition to the master account. Subaccounts can have personalized recommendations and restrictions, allowing the master account holder to ban access to ‘R’-rated films for a child, for instance. Purchases may only be made from the master account.

Viewers can start streaming a movie on one device and finish it on another. Two viewers can watch the same title on different devices at one time, and up to four viewers can stream different content on different devices at the same time. Consumers can access their library on Amazon Fire devices, Android mobile and tablet devices, Android TV, Apple TV, Chromecast, iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch, the Roku platform and popular web browsers.

To entice consumers to join Movies Anywhere, the service is offering up to five free digital movies. When consumers link to the first retailer on the service, they get free access to “Ghostbusters” (2016) and “Ice Age.” Linking to a second retailer gives consumers free access to “Big Hero 6,” “Jason Bourne” and “The Lego Movie.” The service plans a big marketing and advertising push including support from participating studios and digital retail partners. The tagline is “Your movies together at last.”

Consumers can download the Movies Anywhere app from Amazon, Google Play, iTunes and Roku or via MoviesAnywhere.com. The service is not yet on game consoles.

Movie Anywhere hopes to sign up more digital retailers and content owners, Gilford said.

“We are going to continue to evolve. We would like to add more retailers, launch on more platforms,” she said. “We’re talking to all the other studios. We know that consumers would like to have their content also in Movies Anywhere, and we really hope to bring them onboard so those talks will continue.”

Paramount Pictures and Lionsgate are notably absent from the Movies Anywhere stable.

Stephanie Prange is Editor in Chief of Home Media Magazine.

More Film

  • Rihanna5th Annual Clara Lionel Foundation Diamond

    NAACP Winners List 2020: Updating Live

    The 51st annual NAACP Awards, hosted by Anthony Anderson, are currently underway in Los Angeles. Angela Bassett, Billy Porter, Lizzo, Regina King and Tyler Perry are competing for entertainer of the year. On Friday night, early winners were announced, including “Just Mercy,” which picked up the award for best ensemble in a motion picture. OWN’s [...]

  • The Salt of Tears

    'The Salt of Tears': Film Review

    Handsome twentysomething Luc is a trainee joiner, a craft inherited from his doting single dad: a man at once proud of his son’s continuation of their trade, and hopeful that he’ll do something greater with it. When Luc asks his father if he ever wanted to design furniture rather than simply build it, the reply [...]

  • Time to Hunt

    'Time to Hunt': Film Review

    As context for those unaware, South Korea does not have the equivalent of the United States’ Second Amendment. Instead, the country enforces strict gun control — privately owned weapons must be stored at the police station — and fatal shootings hardly ever happen there. That’s important to know when watching Korean movies: It explains why [...]

  • SF Studios, Cinematic Inc. Join Forces

    SF Studios, Cinematic Inc. Join Forces on 'Comet in Moominland,' 'When the Doves Disappeared,' 'Omerta'

    SF Studios is joining forces with Antti J. Jokinen’s leading Finnish production banner Cinematic Inc. to develop and produce the animated feature “Comet in Moominland” and “When the Doves Disappeared,” adapted from Sofi Oksanen’s bestseller. “Comet in Moominland” and “When the Doves Disappeared” are being made by both companies as part of a five-picture deal. [...]

  • Tiger Rising

    Exclusive First Look: 'The Tiger Rising' Starring Queen Latifah

    Queen Latifah and Madalen Mills star in Ray Giarratana’s “The Tiger Rising.” The drama is based on Kate DiCamillo’s New York Times Bestselling children’s book and produced by Deborah Giarratana and Ryan Donnell Smith.  Highland Film Group is handling worldwide sales, which are under at the European Film Market in Berlin. The Tiger Rising” is [...]

  • The Berlinale Bear is Seen in

    Berlinale Enlivened by Anti-Chile State Violence Protests

    A politically charged Berlin Film Festival was further enlivened on the third day of the European Film Market by a demonstration targeting Chilean armed forces. On Saturday, the Martin Gropius Bau, the site of the EFM, saw a group of anonymous protestors unfurl a big banner from one of the market’s upper floors, with activists [...]

  • Vadim Perelman, Ilja Zofin, Lars Eidinger

    'Persian Lessons' Eidinger, Perelman Say Film Offers Parallels for Today

    Director Vadim Perelman and frequent Berlinale film star Lars Eidinger on Saturday championed their new Holocaust-set “Persian Lessons” as a timely, very German tale of how that dark history is closer to us than it seems, made uniquely possible by the fact that most of the film’s production team is not German. The film’s world [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content