It appears that if a movie perform's well at the box office, one can expect that title to show up quicker on DVD.

In a recent report from Variety, the time between a film's theatrical debut and its release on DVD -- for films grossing more than $50 million at the domestic B.O. showed an 11% drop to 136 days in 2005.

That loss of days outpaces the 4% domestic B.O. decline (or perhaps goes hand in hand with it) and comes after windows for similar movies remained the same in 2004.

These numbers come as NATO's John Fithian talked at last week's ShoWest conference about "misguided experiments" in simultaneous theatrical and home video release, while lamenting about the "relatively stable" theatrical window after 2004's four-day drop.

Meanwhile, even as they talk to Fithian about the need to preserve some sort of a theatrical window, studios continue to experiment with ways to lessen it and maximize dollars in both realms. At a Bears Stearns investor meeting late last month, News Corp. prexy-chief operating officer Peter Chernin cited Fox's "aggressive" theatrical window for Walk the Line as a way, along with high-def video-on-demand, "to monetize content 'in ways we never thought of.'"

Among $50 million-plus movies last year, Walk the Line had the third lowest window at 102 days, just under Be Cool at 93 and Yours, Mine and Ours at 97.

Disney's Bob Iger, who caused some problems last year with talk of collapsing windows, hasn't backed off but he has softened his tone a bit. In his keynote address on Monday at the TelecomNext trade show in Vegas, Iger did not talk about windows directly but stressed that the studio must "continue to evaluate business models or risk losing opportunities."

Eager to avoid further loss of theatrical dollars, studios have become more cautious about discussing their DVD release plans. Universal didn't confirm King Kong's March 28 release for weeks, even as rival studios touted tie-ins, and only went official with its April 4 release of Brokeback Mountain two weeks ahead of its disc debut. Fox homevid cut it similarly close with Walk the Line, a pic that was still playing well at theaters.

Cinemark Movie Club
Evan Jacobs