This is turning out to be a huge year for Star Wars fans. And an expensive one.
In December, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” arrives in theaters, the first new Star Wars film in a decade. On Friday, April 10, the first six films in the Star Wars saga arrive on high-definition digital download for the very first time. Besides wondering what took so long, consider this: each digital film will cost $19.99 to buy.
Look, as a Star Wars fan, I’m as happy as anyone that the films are finally going to be available to stream on my mobile devices. However, $19.99 per film seems like a lot to pay for each part in a film franchise that started in 1977.
Since that time, Star Wars fans have been able to buy some or all of the films in numerous formats. These have included Betamax, LaserDisc, Video 2000, DVD, and Blu-ray Disc. And this doesn’t include the several waves of restored and remastered versions of the first three films that have also been released.
Why did it take so long for Star Wars films to arrive on digital format? Licensing issues, it seems.
While Fox holds rights to the physical distribution of all six movies, Disney has the digital distribution rights to all of them except the first one.
Greed is probably another reason for the delay.
The Walt Disney Company bought Lucasfilm in 2012 for $4.06 billion. What better way to whet the appetite for the newest film than to release the original six in a new format a few months before?
I will almost certainly purchase the three original Star Wars films on digital format when they become available this week. I’ll hold off on buying the other three titles until later.
Starting Friday, the films will be available on Amazon, Google Play, iTunes, as well as other major digital distributors. Bonus material includes never-before-released conversations between legendary Star Wars artists, deleted scenes, and Star Wars: Discoveries From Inside features.
“Star Wars: The Force Awakens” is set to hit theaters Dec. 18, 2015.
You can preorder each of the six original films on iTunes at these links: “Star Wars: The Phantom Menace,” “Star Wars: Attack of the Clones,” “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” “Stars Wars: A New Hope,” “Star Wars: The Empire Strikes Back,” and “Star Wars: Return of the Jedi.”