A group of Hollywood studios wants to remind consumers that they can rent movies — including recent releases not available on Netflix — from a wide array of digital providers, through a four-day promo offering discounts on titles starting at 99 cents.
Dubbed the “Ultimate Movie Weekend,” the special sale runs May 31-June 3 and will offer select titles from Lionsgate Entertainment, Paramount Pictures, Sony Pictures, Universal Pictures and Warner Bros. Notably absent from the campaign: Disney and 20th Century Fox (which Disney recently acquired).
It’s touted as the first coordinated, multi-studio and multi-platform promotion of its kind in the U.S., spanning the five studios and 18 internet and pay-TV services. Retailers participating in the Ultimate Movie Weekend will offer 50-250 movies at discounted prices — as low as $2.99 for recent releases and 99 cents for catalog movies. Each retailer sets prices independently.
Recently released titles available through the promo include “Aquaman,” “A Star Is Born” (2018), “Bumblebee,” “Robin Hood” (2018), “Spider-Man: Into the Spider-Verse,” “Step Brothers” and “First Man.” Older movies being offered at discount include “Wonder Woman,” “Fifty Shades of Grey,” “Forrest Gump,” “The Hunger Games” and “The Wizard of Oz” (1939).
Digital-video providers on board include Amazon, Apple’s iTunes and the Apple TV app, NBCUniversal’s FandangoNow, Google Play, Microsoft Movies & TV, Sony’s PlayStation Store, Redbox On Demand and Walmart’s Vudu. Participating cable and satellite TV operators include Altice USA’s Optimum and Suddenlink TV, Atlantic Broadband, Comcast’s Xfinity TV, Cox Communications, AT&T’s DirecTV and U-verse, Dish Network, and Frontier Communications.
The home-video trade group Entertainment Merchants Association coordinated the promo, which is based on similar initiatives last year in Australia, France, and the U.K. The hope is that the limited-time discounts will attract new customers and spur “infrequent digital renters” to become more habitual, according to EMA president/CEO Mark Fisher.
The EMA said it’s supporting the campaign with a “significant” media buy, along with social media marketing and direct-to-consumer outreach. Richard Smith, senior VP of domestic digital sales for Paramount Pictures, chaired EMA’s Ultimate Movie Weekend planning committee. “This is the first effort of its kind in the U.S., and the breadth of participants demonstrates that the home entertainment industry is making it a priority to communicate the value proposition of digital rentals to consumers,” he said in a statement.
Here’s the list of the 29 recent releases in the promotion (note: not all of these will be available at discounted rates from all retailers): “A Star is Born” (2018); “Aquaman”; “At Eternity’s Gate”; “Ben Is Back”; “Bumblebee”; “Cold Pursuit”; “A Dog’s Way Home”; “Dragged Across Concrete”; “Escape Room” (2019); “Fantastic Beasts: The Crimes of Grindelwald”; “First Man”; “Glass”; “Hell Fest”; “Holmes & Watson”; “The House With a Clock in Its Walls”; “Instant Family”; “Isn’t It Romantic”; “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part”; “Miss Bala” (2019); “Mortal Engines”; “Nobody’s Fool”; “On the Basis of Sex”; “Overlord”; “Replicas”; “Robin Hood” (2018); “Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse”; “Stan & Ollie”; “The Mule”; and “What Men Want.”
More info on is available on the EMA’s Ultimate Movie Weekend website (ultimatemovieweekend.com).