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 idiots 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