Universal drops plan for ’Tower Heist’ VOD release

LOS ANGELES (AP) — Universal Pictures has dropped plans to release the Eddie Murphy-Ben Stiller action comedy “Tower Heist” for home rental just three weeks after its theatrical debut next month.

The studio’s decision Wednesday came after some theaters had threatened to boycott the movie, saying such early availability of video-on-demand films at home might prompt audiences to skip seeing the pictures at cinemas.

There usually is a window of three to four months between a studio film’s release in theaters and its debut for home viewing. But looking to make up for declining DVD revenue, studios have been experimenting with narrower windows to gauge consumer interest — and how much they might be willing to pay to see movies at home earlier.

Universal had planned to charge $60 to rent “Tower Heist.”

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