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'Sleep Dealer' To Hit Theaters, VOD Market Simultaneously

This story was written by Tameka Kee.

In a push to gain more exposure (and possibly more revenues) for its upcoming sci-fi thriller Sleep Dealer, Maya Entertainment has decided to make the film available for on-demand the same day it lands on the big screen.

While Maya Entertainment isn't the first studio to shorten the release window for a film (indie darlings like IFC sometimes debut art-house films in theaters and on-demand at the same time), release windows typically keep mainstream films from hitting VOD for about three to six months. But according to Doug Sylvester, president and COO of TVN Entertainment, a VOD provider that is working with Maya on Sleep Dealer, those windows are shrinking; Sylvester told Multichannel News that the wait times would "be eliminated altogether," particularly as studios scramble to maximize revenues from their content.

Fear of cannibalizing ticket sales has stopped many studios from simultaneous VOD and theatrical releases, but Maya Entertainment co-chairman Jeff Valdez told Multichannel that the company actually expects a box-office boost. (He says the buzz from having the movie more widely available will help drive ticket sales.) Valdez also said the VOD option would help prevent piracy: "I think people like having choices and if you don't give them the choices, they'll make them for you." Sleep Dealer will be available on-demand in more than 10 million homes when it premieres April 17.

By Tameka Kee

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