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?