Apple (Nasdaq:APPL) is partnering with Warner Bros. to launch a pair of Christopher Nolan-directed movies--The Dark Knight and Inception--as apps today in an effort to stimulate online movie sales to Apple devices in markets where movies aren't offered through the iTunes store.
The L.A. Times said there are about 23 countries that don't offer movies via iTunes. Instead, users will be able to download the app for free from Apple's App Store to iPods, iPhones and iPads and watch the first five minutes of the movies; they'll also be able to browse other content, including games and trivia. The full movie will be available inside the app for purchase; in the U.S., Dark Knight will be $9.99 and Inception $11.99, outside the U.S. prices vary from $7.99 to $23.99. It's the first time movies will be available to Apple devices without going through iTunes.
"We think this is an innovative way to build a global footprint on devices that are optimized for video viewing," said Thomas Gewecke, president of digital distribution for Warner Bros. The studio said more movies would be made available via apps later this year.
Apple has been the largest retailer of download-to-own movies for Hollywood, a segment that has begun to show some signs of wear as consumers turn to renting movies digitally instead.
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