Beginning with new releases of Jan. 8, 2013, according to an e-mail from one wholesale distributor to libraries, Universal Home Entertainment has informed public-library buyers that Universal "will be moving all libraries to a 28-day new-release window. ... A distributor may not street a Universal Studios Home Entertainment title to library accounts during the 28-day window." This will bring libraries in line with the 28-day release windows Universal negotiated in 2012 with both Netflix and Redbox, which allows time for the studio to focus on sales of its new releases.
Apparently, Universal just clued in to a study published this summer in Consumerist about the popularity of public libraries as sources for home-movie viewing. Or perhaps they got some heat from Netflix and Redbox about the libraries cutting into their business. In any case, checking out that new movie won't be happening on the title's official street date -- no matter your place in the waiting list.