Disney Is Lone Holdout From Apple's Plan to Sell 4K Movies for $20

09/12/17 03:24 PM EDT
By Ben Fritz 

Apple Inc. has signed new deals to sell movies in ultra high-definition with every major Hollywood studio except the one with which it has long been closest: Walt Disney Co.

At an event Tuesday where he announced the new Apple TV 4K, the tech giant's head of software and services, Eddie Cue, said the device will offer Hollywood movies in the high-resolution format, called either 4K or UHD, for ultra-high definition. Logos for most major studios briefly flashed on a screen behind Mr. Cue, including Time Warner Inc.'s Warner Bros. and Comcast Corp.'s Universal Pictures.

Mr. Cue said those studios' movies will be available in UHD at the same price as high-definition movies. Participating studios have agreed to a maximum price of $19.99 for 4K movies, currently the highest price for HD movies, according to a person with knowledge of the deal making. Apple had pushed studios not to raise film prices above that threshold.

An Apple spokesman didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

The one absence from Apple's list of big studios selling movies in UHD is Disney. It wasn't immediately clear why the company behind Star Wars and Marvel couldn't reach an arrangement with Apple. It currently sells its films in 4K on other digital stores, such as Wal-Mart Stores Inc.'s Vudu, for $24.99.

A Disney spokesman declined to comment.

Disney's absence is particularly notable given a longstanding close relationship between the two companies. Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger is on Apple's board of directors and Disney was the first studio to sell television shows and movies on iTunes.

Some other Hollywood studios were concerned about the price for UHD movies being too low, which led to negotiations going down to the wire in recent weeks. Ultimately, however, all but Disney reached an accord with Apple.

Write to Ben Fritz at ben.fritz@wsj.com

 

(END) Dow Jones Newswires

September 12, 2017 15:24 ET (19:24 GMT)

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