Apple reportedly in talks to offer movies on iTunes that are still in theaters

midian182

TechSpot Editor
Staff member

Good news for those who dislike crowds, queues, and the noise of other people eating: Apple is reportedly in talks with a number of Hollywood studios to allow movies that are still in theaters to be rented on iTunes.

Bloomberg reports that major industry players such as 21st Century Fox, Warner Brothers, and Universal Pictures have confirmed they are looking to offer “high-priced, home-video rentals of new movies shortly after they open in theaters.”

Some executives have reportedly been pushing for titles to become available to rent just two weeks after their theater debut. There’s no word on exactly how much “high-priced” would be, but expect to hand over a lot more than standard rental prices for the privilege. In all likelihood, it will be more than a cinema ticket, too - anything from $20 - $50.

While the system may eventually become a reality, there’s no guarantee Apple will win the rights to show the movies. Bloomberg notes that Hollywood execs may “end up choosing another technology platform.”

Theaters usually have the exclusive rights to new movies for 90 days or more before they become available on DVD and to rent online. With cinema attendance flat, companies are looking for new ways to increase their revenue. The system could be beneficial for studios, consumers, and whatever platforms show the movies.

Warner Bros. chief Kevin Tsujihara said the early rentals, which are encrypted, could also deter piracy; by allowing those who can’t or won’t go to the cinema a way of watching new movies at home, it offers an alternative to piracy. But then there doesn’t seem to be anything stopping people filming what’s on the TV.

The high price may put some people off early rentals, but the cost could be shared out among friends. Plus, the huge TVs and sound systems found in many of today’s homes come close to recreating the cinema experience, you just need popcorn and someone sat behind you kicking your seat.

Napster co-founder Sean Parker believes people will be willing to pay the high price. His Screening Rooms startup aims to offer a $150 anti-piracy set-top box and charge $50 to watch a movie on the day of its release. And for the super-rich, there’s the $400,000 (plus rental costs) home Imax cinema experience.

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Skidmarksdeluxe

TS Evangelist
And if the talks between the studios and them breaks down, they can always fall back on the one thing they're peerless at... sueing. I'm sure they have the highest paid, oiliest, slickest, dirtiest, most underhanded, corrupt legal team in the world bar none.
 
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Radical

TS Enthusiast
$50 to watch at my home day of release? No thanks.
That was my initial reaction to this idea too, however, if you're a family with two kids, $50 is probably not too far off what you're likely to pay for four tickets, plus snacks.

Add in the time and effort for travel, parking, and queuing, and suddenly this idea starts to make sense.

Watching films without having to wear pants is also a plus...
 

Bigtruckseries

TS Evangelist
Theaters themselves will be fighting this because they make more revenue off the "services" than they do off the movie itself.

A lot of people would be put out of work if this deal went through.

One of my underachieving cousins works in a theater. I'd hate to see her lose her job.
 

mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
That was my initial reaction to this idea too, however, if you're a family with two kids, $50 is probably not too far off what you're likely to pay for four tickets, plus snacks.

Add in the time and effort for travel, parking, and queuing, and suddenly this idea starts to make sense.

Watching films without having to wear pants is also a plus...
I'm still not going to pay $50 to watch something in my own home, when I have a ton of cheaper alternatives. People pay $50 for a night at the movies because a movie theater is the only place you can watch it.

If I'm staying home to watch a new movie, a movie I don't get to keep afterwards, then the most I will pay is $25. Maybe $30-35 if it's UHD or (good) 3D.
 

cartera

TS Evangelist
This would potentially kill all but the IMAX cinema's I think. However, lets be honest it was/ is inevitable.
 

ChubbySerb

TS Rookie
$50 to watch at my home day of release? No thanks.
That was my initial reaction to this idea too, however, if you're a family with two kids, $50 is probably not too far off what you're likely to pay for four tickets, plus snacks.

Add in the time and effort for travel, parking, and queuing, and suddenly this idea starts to make sense.

Watching films without having to wear pants is also a plus...
LOL
 

Radical

TS Enthusiast
I'm still not going to pay $50 to watch something in my own home, when I have a ton of cheaper alternatives. People pay $50 for a night at the movies because a movie theater is the only place you can watch it.

If I'm staying home to watch a new movie, a movie I don't get to keep afterwards, then the most I will pay is $25. Maybe $30-35 if it's UHD or (good) 3D.
Aha! See, that figure of what you'll pay keeps creeping up. What if it was 4K and you could rewatch it as many times as you like in 24 hours? What if you invited three friends over and split the cost? Maybe you could set up your own neighbourhood theatre and make a little money by offering beer and snacks for a few dollars.

I get why you don't like it, but I think you're looking to the past and not seeing the new ways this could be, maybe, better.
 

Radical

TS Enthusiast
This would potentially kill all but the IMAX cinema's I think. However, lets be honest it was/ is inevitable.
Or, it might lead to hundreds of smaller, neighbourhood-style cinemas opening up. Not sure of the legality of this, but it would be cool if it happened.
 
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mbrowne5061

TS Evangelist
Aha! See, that figure of what you'll pay keeps creeping up. What if it was 4K and you could rewatch it as many times as you like in 24 hours? What if you invited three friends over and split the cost? Maybe you could set up your own neighbourhood theatre and make a little money by offering beer and snacks for a few dollars.

I get why you don't like it, but I think you're looking to the past and not seeing the new ways this could be, maybe, better.
My price only crept up for the 'additional' content - same way tickets increase when you go to see the 'digital' version or the 3D version of a movie.

You really think they would let you set up a theater in your own home? You can't/aren't supposed to re-show the DVDs you own to an audience. Knowing Hollywood, they'll just say 'it is for a single household only' and only let you watch it once.
 

Radical

TS Enthusiast
My price only crept up for the 'additional' content - same way tickets increase when you go to see the 'digital' version or the 3D version of a movie.

You really think they would let you set up a theater in your own home? You can't/aren't supposed to re-show the DVDs you own to an audience. Knowing Hollywood, they'll just say 'it is for a single household only' and only let you watch it once.
Yeah, but this isn't Hollywood. It's Silicon Valley walking in and trashing the joint, just like they did with CDs, video rentals, taxis etc etc.

Few industries have taken on the internet and won...