Audiences in South Korea will get to watch the Warner Bros. blockbuster The Dark Knight on demand a full two weeks before its DVD release. According to Daily Variety, the move makes Warner Bros. the first Hollywood studio to release a major motion picture on VOD before home video. The film raked in nearly a billion dollars at the box office worldwide, setting a new record for the highest-grossing weekend in history. The DVD and Blu-ray versions of the blockbuster are also expected to do huge business when they hit retail in the U.S. on Dec. 9.
Warner Bros. is reportedly using South Korea as a testing ground for the practice of launching movies on VOD because if the country’s strong digital infrastructure. Dark Knight will be offered Friday on IPTV channels Mega TV and Broad&TV, and the Home Choice digital cable TV service.
Directed by Christopher Nolan, The Dark Knight opened in July and took in $158.3 million, setting a new record for the highest-grossing opening weekend in history. Its predecessor, Batman Begins, debuted in 2005 and grossed $371 million worldwide. A third film is in the works, but the high-water mark set by Knight will be tough to reach again without Heath Ledger in the role of The Joker. The actor’s untimely death shortly before the release of the film had audiences curious to see one of his final performances.
Initially, there had been reports that Warner Bros. was planning to re-release The Dark Knight on IMAX screens in January in order to raise more awareness of the film during the awards season. However, according to Superhero Hype, those plans have been scrapped.