Predicting DVD Release Dates

written by Mike Shea on 27 September 2003

The following article was written by Grant Karlin.

There is a significant shift taking place right now in the movie business, and it has nothing to do with Gary Coleman or Arnold Schwarzenegger running for governor of California. Home Video (DVD & VHS) sales and rentals now surpass box office receipts, which is no surprise to home theater fanatics like myself. We expect the trend to continue, if not accelerate. Half the reason for this is that movie theaters suck, and the other half is that home theater, propelled by the DVD, is an affordable and enjoyable experience. Studios finally realized that they could make tons of money on the DVD so they are pushing out the titles just as fast as they can.

I saw two movies in public movie theaters in 2003. My goal for next year is zero. Therefore, I keep track of what's coming out on DVD and pre-order plenty of them. It seems lately that movies are barely out of the theater before the DVD release date has been announced, so I was curious if there was a way to predict when this would happen. I looked at a bunch of recent DVD titles to see how much time had elapsed between the theater release date and when they were available to buy on DVD. This is a somewhat random, but by no means scientific, selection.

Movie Released in Theaters DVD Release Days until DVD came out Genre
Anger Management 3/5/2003 9/16/2003 195 Comedy
Old School 2/13/2003 6/10/2003 117 Comedy
The Matrix Reloaded 5/7/2003 10/14/2003 160 Action
Bruce Almighty 5/14/2003 11/25/2003 195 Comedy
Terminator 3 6/30/2003 11/11/2003 134 Action
Chicago 12/10/2002 8/19/2003 252 Musical
Daredevil 2/9/2003 7/29/2003 170 Action
Phone Booth 3/11/2003 7/8/2003 119 Suspense
A Mighty Wind 3/12/2003 9/23/2003 195 Comedy
The Italian Job 5/20/2003 10/7/2003 140 Action
Charlie's Angels 2 6/18/2003 10/21/2003 125 Action
Hollywood Homicide 6/10/2003 10/7/2003 119 Comedy
Dreamcatcher 3/19/2003 9/30/2003 195 Suspense
Down with Love 5/16/2003 10/7/2003 144 Romance
2 Fast 2 Furious 6/3/2003 9/30/2003 119 Action
Pirates of the Caribbean 6/28/2003 12/2/2003 157 Action
Confidence 4/25/2003 9/16/2003 144 Drama
Just Married 1/10/2003 5/21/2003 131 Comedy

The general rule seems to be about 4 to 6 months. More successful films such as "Bruce Almighty" or "Anger Management" are slightly longer, but there are many variables at play here. In the case of "The Matrix Reloaded," an upcoming sequel surely played into the timing of the DVD release, and for "Chicago," the Academy Awards had a lot to do with it.

Let's see if we can predict when current and upcoming movies are going to come out on DVD.

Upcoming Movie Theater Release Predicted DVD Release Genre
My Boss's Daughter 8/22/2003 12/31/2003 Comedy
Duplex 9/26/2003 1/21/2004 Comedy
Cold Creek Manor 9/19/2003 1/16/2004 Suspense
The School of Rock 10/3/2003 4/15/2004 Comedy
The Matrix Revolutions 11/5/2003 4/13/2004 Action

For "My Boss's Daughter," I'm guessing 131 days, the same as Ashton Kutcher's previous comedy, "Just Married." The "Duplex," which looks awful, will probably be out in the minimum amount I've seen, 117 days. "Cold Creek Manor" I'm giving 119, and "The School of Rock" I'm giving 195 (because Jack Black kicks ass). The Matrix Revolutions gets 160, the same as "The Matrix Reloaded."

I'll be watching to see how close my predictions are to the actual DVD release dates. Maybe in time I'll have this refined even more, or maybe this will be a moot point as someday soon the movies will just start skipping public movie theaters altogether, and the premieres will take place in home theaters like yours and mine. Wouldn't that be cool? I can barely wait for "Terminator 4: The Revenge of Arnold Drummond"!

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