Would you pay $50 to watch new movies at home?

By Shawn Knight · 81 replies
Mar 10, 2016
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  1. Napster co-founder Sean Parker is reportedly backing a startup called Screening Room that aims to let customers rent first-run movies that are still showing in theaters (even beginning the same day they are released in theaters).

    The company's secure anti-piracy set-top box will cost $150 while individual movie rentals will go for $50 each. Customers would have a 48-hour window to view a film according to sources briefed on the matter as reported by Variety.

    Sources say Screening Room is preparing to share as much as $20 of the $50 rental fee with exhibitors to make up for lost sales. The $50 rental would also include two free tickets to go see the film at a nearby cinema so theater owners would have a chance to make money from concession sales.

    $50 may sound like a hell of a lot of money to spend on a single movie rental (and it is, in certain situations). If you're single, this makes very little sense. Those with families or those that want to host movie watch parties with friends could certainly see the value here.

    Simply divide up the cost of "admission" among friends and it's suddenly pretty affordable. If you spring for a few pizzas or Chinese takeout, you can eat for far cheaper per person than what you'll pay at the theater. And if your host has an awesome home theater setup, well, that's an added bonus. Oh, and you won't have to deal with *****s in the theater that'd rather play or talk on their phones than watch the movie they paid to see (don't forget the people that bring screaming babies, either). And did I mention, it's far cheaper than the alternative?

    Some of my fellow tech writers are labeling the whole idea as absurd but I think it's a pretty great idea given the right circumstances. What do you think? Would you be willing to spend $50 on a movie rental to host a movie watch party for your friends or family? Let us know what you think in the comments section below.

    Lead image courtesy Audio Dimensions

    Permalink to story.

  2. ChuckyJ

    ChuckyJ TS Rookie

    Yes I would.
  3. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    No, I don't want to watch the newest movies yet, I still have a huge backlog of movies I haven't gotten to yet.
    If it was 50.00 a year for unlimited, I might, but they need to add more to the pot than just movies, like Amazon does.
    You can watch current movies at the same time as theaters on Amazon for a tiny fraction of that cost now.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  4. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,376   +286

    No, not for $50, it's too dear.

    £20 is the most I would pay, maybe £25 at most ($35)
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  5. tonylukac

    tonylukac TS Evangelist Posts: 1,372   +69

    I usually pay $1.50 per blu ray at redbox, so no. Watched about 1 last year. Birdman gives me chills.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  6. BSim500

    BSim500 TS Evangelist Posts: 388   +663

    $50 just to rent one movie which needs a specialist proprietary DRM'd-up-to-the-eyeballs box and has time limit restrictions? LOL. No thanks. I always have some backlog somewhere. And I don't suffer from WICS (Whiny Impatient Consumer Syndrome). And since most of our friends don't go to the cinema either, we're all on the same "delay" which means they haven't seen whatever DVD/BR we get either. And once you strip out all the unneeded remakes (and remakes of remakes) plus all the "it's getting old now" Marvell Super hero cash-in stuff, the amount of films we're buying each year seems to be shrinking rather than growing to match Hollywood's chronic creativity brain drain... :D
  7. hahahanoobs

    hahahanoobs TS Evangelist Posts: 2,040   +678

    I thought Intel was supposed to do this back when they introduced Quick Sync....
  8. TomSEA

    TomSEA TechSpot Chancellor Posts: 2,714   +855

    No way in hell. I can go to an IMAX and see a full-blown version of a new release movie for a matinee price of $15. Or do what tonylukac does and pay a buck-fitty to rent one from RedBox.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  9. 9Nails

    9Nails TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,215   +177

    I think $50 is to high. Even if it came with a free BD Disk, or unlimited streaming, or even 2 free theater tickets. I feel that I can wait a few months for a film to release to rental. It's not that important that I see a film straight away. I have a family of 4, and the most I pay now is $34 for a film at the theater.
    cliffordcooley likes this.
  10. Cycloid Torus

    Cycloid Torus Stone age computing. Posts: 3,006   +657

    $50 is cheap for this - think LAN parties and apply to movies. We had 2 8-10 port switches running all spread out in 3 rooms - the house roared. The kids LOVED it. Thank the powers that be, my kid had 3 close friends who knew how to tidy up afterwards.
  11. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,696

    No I wouldn't!
  12. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    If I had to sit in the room in the picture, no way. I don't like leather and I don't like damask. And the brass tacks are, for lack of a better word, tacky. :)
  13. cliffordcooley

    cliffordcooley TS Guardian Fighter Posts: 9,715   +3,696

    I'm fairly certain the only thing they control is the set-top box. You would design your own viewing room, including the TV of choice.
  14. No, I don't understand why people are so hung up on 'the latest release', there are a large number of movies going back decades that are fantastic and require no rip off. I could care what the latest, greatest in the theatres now stuff is. I enjoy movies back to about 1940 (film noir mainly at that age), but there is more good stuff around than one has time to watch. There are a lot of great movies in Cantonese/Mandarin, some good Korean, French, I even have a couple in Brazilian Portugese (Tropa de elite) add Japanese anime, you get the picture (no pun intended)
    p51d007 likes this.
  15. Technician

    Technician TS Addict Posts: 677   +114

    It was a joke... :)
  16. H3llion

    H3llion TechSpot Paladin Posts: 1,376   +286

    To be honest, with VR kicking off, once we can get a good 4k devices we can emulate cinema environment in our living rooms. I already feel it can be more immersive on my Samsung VR and the quality on that is poor. The illusion that you are looking at bigger screen is pretty awesome.
  17. infiltrator

    infiltrator TS Booster Posts: 164   +27

    It may be expensive for everyone else, but I don't have problems with expending that much money. I only live once and I want to enjoy my life to the fullest.
  18. EClyde

    EClyde TS Evangelist Posts: 1,302   +429

    They will sell but not to me
  19. Uncle Al

    Uncle Al TS Evangelist Posts: 3,329   +1,978

    Nope .... considering the "quality" of todays movies I don't think it's worth it. Far too many movies rely on FX and the "wow" factor, just not enough that have first rate dialogue, or thought provoking idea's that stick with you for weeks after seeing them. One recent one, "Grateful Eight" was one of the must vulgar movies I have seen or watched, but I give it's director an A+ for how it was assembled. That was some great production work. But still not worth $50. Does anyone have one of those $3 mattine's around them? God, those were great!
  20. mailpup

    mailpup TS Special Forces Posts: 7,182   +469

    Well, there is a theater that I usually go to that has $4 senior day once a week. Two days a week (Tuesday and Thursday) they have family day for $5 all day (in other words, not just for matinees). Not $3 but still pretty good.
  21. turismozilla

    turismozilla TS Addict Posts: 173   +55

    Fnck no, I would not, and anybody who says "yes, I would" better start giving money to a charity.
    wizardB likes this.
  22. Kraemepoo

    Kraemepoo TS Enthusiast Posts: 44   +20

    Sure. That means my wife and I can see movies without a babysitter, and don't have to pay 50 cents an oz for movie theater drinks and popcorn.
  23. MilwaukeeMike

    MilwaukeeMike TS Evangelist Posts: 2,889   +1,223

    Sounds like your fellow tech writers aren't thinking about other people's situations.

    They already have this... it's called pay-per-view and people throw parties, have their friends over and spend $100 to watch some boxing match that might only last for 5 minutes.

    For a new movie where you can host a party this is a great deal. My family has 3 people in it, and going to the movies is about $50 if we get snacks. It's $35 just to get tickets. Being able to host with others for movie nights would be great. Maybe it's having a bunch of the kid's friends over, maybe it's your own adult friends - one couple gets the pizza and drinks the other gets the movie.

    The downside isn't the cost - the downside is people won't be able to enjoy the experience of the theater. Especially now that they have recliners.

    Oh - and I'd bet you can pause it. Brilliant!
  24. mctommy

    mctommy TS Addict Posts: 216   +38

    I'd pay for it. As others have said, it's cheaper than having to pay for babysitters; you can have a movie night with your friends; you don't have to pay $15 for popcorn and pop; etc...

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