WTF?! $3,000 to watch a first-run movie at home may sound absurd but if you're a celebrity, it's a drop in the bucket. Heck, you'd easily spend at least that on personal security and far more to rent out a theater for a private showing.
“Every product I can think of has a luxury version,” Fred Rosen thought to himself, “Why not movies?”
The retired businessman, who served as the president and CEO of Ticketmaster for more than 15 years, had a point. You can buy a belt to hold up your pants at Walmart for less than five bucks or drop $1,500 for similar utility at Gucci.
This thought led to the formation of Red Carpet Home Cinema, an outfit that aims to provide first-run movies to the wealthy in the comfort of their own home. The idea isn’t original, mind you – several others have tried and failed – but Rosen and business partner Dan Fellman have managed to secure contracts with several major studios including Paramount, Lionsgate, 20th Century Fox and Warner Bros, among others.
That means they’ve at least got a puncher’s chance at success.
The New York Times likened their service to a private club. Interested parties are subjected to a thorough application process and must have a credit card with a limit of at least $50,000. Customers must also purchase a $15,000 box that connects to their home theater system. First-run rentals command between $1,500 and $3,000 and can be viewed twice during a 36-hour period.
Red Carpet has been operating in beta in around 25 homes since December. Even if the service only musters a very small customer base, it could be worthwhile for studios.
“We are a niche offering — I’m too old for disruption — but even if a studio makes $25 million to $50 million annually from us, that’s found money,” Rosen said.
While most concede that traditional distribution methods could soon look different, change is never easy. The Times said that none of the companies that have signed on to partner with Red Carpet would discuss the service publicly. Several other major studios are still holding out and declined to comment.
Lead image courtesy Koksharov Dmitry via Shutterstock. Mockup courtesy Christian Northeast