Oscar-winning director Steven Soderbergh's new movie breaks some major Hollywood rules, and not just because it stars porn actress Sasha Grey. It's also available now on Amazon a full 3 weeks before it hits theaters.
It's not the first time Soderbergh has experimented with different ways of releasing his films. His 2006 film Bubble was released simultaneously on HDNet Movies and to theaters, with a DVD release coming a mere 4 days later.
Traditionally, studios have been reluctant to dabble in simultaneous releases because they worry that people will skip the theaters to watch from the comfort of their own home. But as piracy and digital downloads become the norm, that choice isn't really in the studio's hands anymore. Yet people still go see movies in theaters for the experience, so why not make some cash via digital sales and rentals at the same time for people who wouldn't go to the theater in the first place?
It's an interesting experiment, one that may become more and more common in the future. I makes sense especially with independent films that are traditionally given limited releases to theaters. And movies staring porn stars, as it's awkward to jerk off in a movie theater.