In an attempt to loosen movie studios' reluctance to add their catalogues to iTunes, Apple is in discussion with giant US retailer Wal-Mart.

A Variety report explains the two firms are attempting to figure out a way to share profit from movie sales. The disclosure follows recent news that Wal-Mart has been suggesting studios don't work with Apple, as it fears the potential loss of lucrative DVD sales in its shops.

It appears the deal could emerge in the form of pre-paid iTunes vouchers which consumers could use to buy films, TV shows or music. Wal-Mart would be able to sell these in its stores, and would keep a percentage of profits.

"Talks are in early stages and may not result in any deal," the report explains.

Despite initial reluctance, Variety is also claiming that the rest of the major movie studios are "very close" to reaching a deal with Apple, adding: "But (they) are holding off until the end of the key fourth quarter, when half of all DVD sales occur."

Wal-Mart is understood to have approached studios demanding the same deal Apple had achieved. The effect was to scare three majors away from an iTunes deal: Universal, Fox and Lionsgate had all been marked to join iTunes, but declined under pressure from Wal-Mart.

It's a complex moment for movie makers. While they feel the urge to adopt new business plans, they also know that DVD sales account for 40 per cent of their business.