Sony & Disney start streaming their movies before they leave theaters … in South Korea

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Wreck-it Ralph

Two major movie studios are finally opening up their business models so that people can “buy a ticket” at home when new movies are still in theaters.

Both Sony and Disney are among the first studios testing this new service, which makes its debut in South Korea, reports the Wall Street Journal. The move is being done to help curb piracy overseas by allowing people to rent movies a few weeks after they’re released in theaters. For example, Django Unchained was released just three weeks after its debut in theaters across the country. Disney’s Wreck-it Ralph and Brave are also part of this new trial service.

So why is South Korea getting this new service before other, more prominent markets? Some of it has to do with how high online piracy is in that country. (And since the current model isn’t working, why not try something new?) But South Korea is also the either largest market for movie sales.

There’s another big thing preventing studios from testing out a service like this in the U.S., too. The number of theater owners would likely protest pretty hard, considering they have the most to lose from a “watch at home” model for newer films. Still, if consumers demand it, they might have no choice.

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