Coming Soon to a Living Room Near You

A recent report claims that studios and Apple are thinking of sending more new movies directly to iTunes at the same time they are in theaters. This isn’t something new. You can already find some “in theaters” movies in iTunes and Apple often features a section of these. But they are usually not major releases.

On the one hand, this could be bad for theaters and those who love them. If there are opportunities to see a new movie without leaving the house, then some percentage of the movie-going public will do that, and theaters may not be able to make enough money to stay open. After all, their costs are largely fixed, with space leases, maintenance and employee expenses about the same even if people aren’t showing up. And if they can’t cut it, then they will close. Will we simply end up with fewer theaters? Or, none at all in some communities.

But the idea of watching at home appeals to many. When my wife and I first became parents, our weekly movie-going stopped and didn’t start again for years. It is just too hard with a small child at home to get to the theater. But we had plenty of time at home where we would have gladly paid the same amount of money to stay on top of the latest releases.

Cost could be another factor for some. Taking a family of 4, 5 or even more to the theater is a major expense now. At home you pay the same price no matter how many people are in your living room.

Watching first-run movies at home may be bad news for theater owners, but it could actually be good news for movie producers. It may present them with higher profit-per-viewer. What they are talking about here is a $30-$50 price tag on these films. So you’ll be paying the same price for a family to see it. But you get to pause the movie and use your own bathroom too.

On the technology side, this is only now starting to get really attractive as it is easy to own a 60-inch 1080p screen in your house. And not that bad for an even larger 4K one. So the idea of getting out to view movies on “the big screen” isn’t that much of an advantage anymore.

What do you think? Looking forward to $30 first-run movie rentals? Or, do you think it will destroy movie theaters forever?

Comments: 6 Responses to “Coming Soon to a Living Room Near You”

    2 years ago

    I think it would be a great option for couples with a few kids OR for couples that could have friends over to share the cost; otherwise, it would be too expensive for a single such as myself.

    2 years ago

    I see both sides of the issue. There is a distinct appeal to seeing some movies on a very very large screen with a great sound system. But having the option to see them at home has advantages that you point out in the article.

    2 years ago

    price would be too high for all but larger families. the choice of going to cinema or staying in and watching with friends is a good idea. What we all want is choice.personally i would not pay that to watch a first run at home.I think it would be beneficial for the disabled if they could afford it !!

    David Peters
    2 years ago

    I personally will never pay 30 for a movie rental. I can wait a few months and purchase it for less. Apple still hasn’t any plans on releasing 4K or UHD movies, so renting a 1080p movie just isn’t appealing enough. Netflix and Amazon have 4K movies, I’d rather watch those.

    2 years ago

    Many, perhaps most older people find it easier to watch movies at home rather than drive to a theater. However, $30 for a movie would be more than most would willing or able to pay.

    2 years ago

    $30 is more than I am willing to pay to see a first run. I am content to wait until most movies are on either Netflix or Amazon.

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