Amazon.com Inc. (AMZN:US) began accepting pre-orders of Warner Bros. DVDs as the companies moved closer to resolving a dispute over pricing, according to a person with knowledge of the situation.
Home-video customers can order in advance the DVD and Blu-ray version of “Transcendence,” due out in disc format from the Time Warner Inc. (TWX:US) studio on July 22, according to the Amazon website. Seattle-based Amazon wasn’t accepting preorders of Warner Bros. films as it sought price concessions. The sides are close to an agreement, said the person, who sought anonymity because because the dispute is private and didn’t provide specifics of the talks.
Amazon, the world’s biggest online retailer, has been locked in disputes with media companies as it seeks to use its heft to impose better terms from its vendors. The company is in a standoff with Hachette Book Group over e-book pricing in a tussle that will help determine whether publishers can gain any leverage against the online retailer and biggest seller of e-books.
To increase pressure on Hachette, Amazon started delaying shipments and blocking some book pre-orders -- including big-name titles such as “The Silkworm,” J.K. Rowling’s new novel written under a pseudonym. The retailer later accepted orders and reduced shipping times for the book.
With Warner Bros., Amazon stopped accepting preorders to movies including “The Lego Movie,” “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Winter’s Tale.” The “Lego” film became available last week, ahead of its official DVD release this week. Customers yesterday were also able to order “300: Rise of an Empire,” and “Winter’s Tale,” both listed for official sale today.
Movie studios typically delay the home-video sale of movies until several months after they appear in theaters. “Transcendence,” starring Johnny Depp, made its U.S. theatrical debut on April 18; “Winter’s Tale” in February and “Rise of an Empire” in March.
The Wall Street Journal reported yesterday that Amazon and Warner Bros. were close to resolution.
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