Would You Pay $30 To Rent A Movie That's Still In Theaters?

For movie fans, there is that odd stretch of time between a film’s initial release and when it hits the DVD/On-Demand market. Maybe it’s playing in a second-run theater or maybe it’s just in limbo. Regardless, DirecTV is betting that customers would be willing to pay a premium to watch movies during that lame-duck time period.

According to the L.A. Times, DirecTV is talking to studios about offering an on-demand service that would allow it to charge upwards of $30 for customers to rent movies 60 days after after opening in theaters and at least a month before hitting the DVD shelves.

From the Times:

DirecTV is looking to introduce its product by the end of June with movies from 20th Century Fox, Sony Pictures and Warner Bros. Walt Disney Pictures is also in talks to join the initiative, the people said, while Paramount Pictures and Universal Pictures are not expected to participate initially.

It almost goes without saying (but we’ll say it anyway) that the theater owners are not pleased with this idea.
“If a film has a four-to-six week window to a home, we’re not going to give it screen time,” said the CEO of Regal Entertainment before asking if you want the #4 value meal.

“We do not intend to screen movies released under such circumstances,” echoed the CEO of AMC. “We understand the problem that studios are facing when DVD sales are nosediving, but we don’t see premium VOD as any kind of solution.”

But let’s forget out about the theater owners for the moment and get back to you, the movie-watching public. What do you think of the $30 price tag?

For moviegoers in big cities, where ticket prices average around $12, this isn’t much more than the price of a night out for two. It’s actually less if you figure in the cost of food. The same goes for families who go to the movies together.

But is it all worth it just to get a few weeks’ jump on the DVD release?


DirecTV poised to launch premium video-on-demand as theater executives voice outrage [L.A. Times]