Hollywood Considering $20-$30 Movie Theater Sidestep

Illustration for article titled Hollywood Considering $20-$30 Movie Theater Sidestep

Time Warner Cable just pitched the major Hollywood studios a new idea: "home theater on demand." It would allow people at home to watch movies just 30 days after they're released in the theater for $20-$30.


This 30-day home distribution method cuts the general 4-month movie-to-DVD wait time significantly, which means that movie theaters will have more competition earlier in a film's run. (It should be noted, however, that no studio has signed any new deals just yet.)

Such would be extremely bad for theater owners, as their share of ticket sales grow significantly as a film remains in theaters. It'd also be a kick in the nuts to services like Netflix, who've catered to studios' absurd requests in order to gain a pittance of access.

I'm not saying the idea of streaming new releases to homes is a bad idea—it's progress, to some extent—but the 30-day window just feels silly, especially priced at $20-$30. It won't thwart torrenters, who've probably watched the film by day 3. And it won't necessarily serve families on a budget, who probably already passed on the theater release due to price, and with a little more patience can buy a rewatchable DVD/Blu-ray.

So as a product, I don't really understand the appeal. And as a business model, it doesn't seem to make much sense, either.

With all the screens on which we can watch movies, it's necessary for Hollywood to eye up different avenues for distribution. But they should tread carefully, as movie theaters—who rely on them for nearly 100% of their content—have proven profitable for films for decades as part of a contrived but successful system. If studios are going to upset such a balance, that's their right. But they'd better have an equally enticing, equally evolved, equally aggressive digital distribution plan in place—not a toe-testing, uninteresting one like this. [WSJ]




Let's see...I went to see Iron Man 2 in IMAX, on a midnight showing. I bought my ticket through Fandango, which charged a "convenience fee".

I was charged $20 for said ticket. I had some jerkwads who kicked my seat consistently, and some kids who kept texting during the entire movie right next to me, which was REALLY distracting with seeing their cell phone screen flashing every few minutes.

$30 to watch a movie that's been recently released with a family of 4 - that's $7.50 each. I also don't have to spend $50 on popcorn, drinks, candy, hot dogs, etc. for the family of 4; I can make all that for half the price.

I don't have to deal with people texting, I don't have to deal with my chair getting kicked, I don't have to leave the comfort of my own home to watch it.