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$30 home rentals of brand-new movies would kill movie theaters

Published Mar 23rd, 2017 3:03PM EDT
Netflix Vs Movies
Image: YouTube

With movie theater attendance on the decline, Hollywood studios are exploring new and creative ways to generate additional revenue. One of the more intriguing ideas being discussed would have some of the bigger studios make certain movies available for in-home purchase while they’re still playing in theaters.

According to a new report from our sister-site Variety, “six of the seven biggest Hollywood studios” are contemplating scenarios under which consumers would be able to rent a film as soon as 17 days following its theatrical debut. Interestingly enough, Disney appears to be the lone studio with seemingly little to no interest in turning the status-quo on its head, likely due to its arsenal of extremely popular movie franchises (such as Star Wars) that can reliably generate insane amounts of cash at the box office.

As for the other six studios, the main sticking point currently preventing the implementation of sweeping changes to the way we view movies remains price. While some studios have floated a $50 pricepoint for early access to movies, other studios are reportedly willing to accept a more wallet-friendly pricepoint in exchange for longer exclusivity window.

Fox and Warner Bros., for instance, are considering making films available between 30 to 45 days after their opening, but at $30 a rental, a price they believe won’t give customers sticker shock. Universal, which is seen as being the most aggressive negotiator in these talks, would like the home entertainment debut to remain in the 20-day range.

Allowing consumers to purchase current movies shortly after their debut seems like an inevitability at this point. While certain films like La La Land, Get Out and Beauty and the Beast can still compel movie lovers to get up off their couch and fork over as much as $15 for a single ticket, movie studios and theaters these days face an unprecedented amount of competition from streaming services such as Netflix.

With each studio having to reach an agreement with each movie chain independently, Variety adds that each studio has its own vision for how such an agreement should be structured. As for when we might see a movie studio actually sign such an agreement, that may still be a ways away.

Incidentally, the notion of paying big bucks for access to new release movies is far from novel. Famously, Sean Parker has a company called The Screening Room which would have consumers pay $50 for the ability to rent movies while still in theaters.

Yoni Heisler Contributor

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large for over 15 years. A life long Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW. When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.