Hollywood wants to offer $30 movie rentals next month

By on March 31, 2011, 5:41 PM
Would you pay $30 to rent a movie? Hollywood hopes that you will.

Late next month, a service called Home Premiere will allow consumers to view films on-demand two months after they exit theaters. This is before they're out on DVD, which is typically three months after leaving theatres (Netflix gets them even later). For the privilege of seeing such films earlier from the comfort of their own homes, viewers will be charged a mere $30 for a two-day or three-day rental, according to Variety (we checked, and the story was not published on April 1st).

Hollywood thinks that families will jump on the opportunity. Apparently, they will calculate the costs of paying for movie tickets for everyone in the household, possibly the need for hiring a babysitter, and the savings of not purchasing food and other concessions.

Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, and 20th Century Fox want to offer the service through DirectTV (20 million customers) and some Comcast markets (in certain cities for an undisclosed period of time). The Digital Entertainment Group, which helped Hollywood launch and brand Blu-ray, will assist in building the Home Premiere brand. The companies will initially offer films such as "Just Go With It," "Cedar Rapids," "The Adjustment Bureau," "Paul" and "Hall Pass."

Apparently, the idea is to offer flicks that have disappeared from theaters and have a large appeal among adults who didn't rush out to see it on the big screen. Studios believe those folks will pay a hefty sum to watch the movie at home. We're sure most would agree that $29.99 for a VOD rental is outrageous, but it's cheaper than paying theater admittance for a large family. Despite that poor value, theater operators seem concerned about the service as it could encourage some people to stay home.

We seriously doubt the project will be successful. On the bright side, hopefully this will move us closer to a future with shorter a window between theatrical and video-on-demand release.

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