Sony Hunts For Morons Willing To Pay $25 To Rent A Movie

Has Sony got a deal for you if you’ve got a Sony Bravia HDTV that can connect to the internet: Rent Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 30 days early for the low, low price of $24.95. Movie blogger Colin Boyd gushes about the fantastic offer on his site (citing a ZDNet story), Get the Big Picture:

So first, buy a $1000 TV, and second, cave in to your child’s every whining want and spring more than twice as much for a rental than if you just waited a month. Good luck with that, Sony. This one’s destined to be a windfall.

I could understand it if this were The Dark Knight or something, but Cloudy didn’t do anywhere near that kind of business. Of course, the studio’s biggest hit in the US this year has been Paul Blart, so there’s not a hell of a lot of choice for this kind of bold and rather silly promotion.

Now Sony just waits for customers to decide to pay more to rent a movie than it costs to buy a DVD or buy two tickets at a movie theater, sits back and watches the profits roll in.

Sony’s ‘Cloudy’ with a Chance of Corporate Stupidity [Get The Big Picture]


Edit Your Comment

  1. NeverLetMeDown says:

    Why does this make someone a moron? Ever thought that, maybe, the fact that YOU don’t consider paying an extra $20 to rent the movie now rather than later doesn’t mean that EVERYBODY doesn’t feel the same way? Sure, there will be a low take rate for this, but some people will buy it, and it’s another data point toward figuring out what people WILL pay. Maybe the right price point is $10. Maybe it’s $8. Who knows.

    • bhr says:

      @NeverLetMeDown: honestly. There has to be a group somewhere who will find this appeals to them. If they buy Sony is + whatever over money they wouldnt have made to begin with. Then they just release the movie to rental as usual in 30 days and make that money. Its an all reward no risk deal

    • duncanblackthorne says:

      @NeverLetMeDown: You’re an idiot.

    • Bunnies_Attack! says:

      @NeverLetMeDown: I have to agree.. the target here isn’t some guy and his kid watching a movie just for the hell of it but if you have a TV like that, you’re at the point where its your kids birthday and instead of renting a bouncy castle or pony or whatever you’re paying $25 to keep a dozen kids entertained for 2 hrs watching a movie they can’t otherwise see (out of theaters and not on DVD yet)…. and possibly justifying the purchase of that expensive tv to your wife…..

    • jivesukka says:

      @NeverLetMeDown: I agree with you completely – somebody must want this or Sony wouldn’t have done it. I wounldn’t do this ever, I rather just buy it. I am just more excited when I see companies trying new things, especially when it can lead to something awesome and affordable.

      • SG-Cleve says:

        @jivesukka: I know who might want to do this – the people who look at this as being cheaper than taking a family of four to see it at the theater.

      • DoubleEcho says:

        @jivesukka: If Sony only does things that people obviously want, what’s their excuse for the rootkit crap? I’m sure everyone was just chomping at the bit to have that software installed without their knowledge!

        • NeverLetMeDown says:


          They weren’t asking people to buy the rootkit as a service, though. Poor analogy.

          Presumably, when Sony launches a new product, they do so because they believe that somebody’s going to buy it.

      • Rectilinear Propagation says:

        somebody must want this or Sony wouldn’t have done it

        @jivesukka: Not necessarily. Plenty of companies have offered products and services that the public didn’t want.

      • kmw2 says:

        @jivesukka: Somehow I don’t see this leading to either excitement or affordability.

  2. Saboth says:

    Apparently some exec thinks “Well, if they have that tv, then it is just like watching it in the theater, and they probably have some popcorn at home, so we might as well charge them the same price as an adult and 1 child with popcorn.”

    • ilovemom says:

      @Saboth: Since we’re making value judgements. Maybe Sony thought: “Gee, if you’re a big enough moron to spend $1000 on a TV, well you’re probably stupid enough to spend $25 to rent a movie”

      But hey, I’m the guy watching Zoolander every time it comes on TV, so who am I to judge intelligence?

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @Saboth: If they are charging for popcorn then they better provide the popcorn.

  3. bloggerX says:

    I’ve seen better buys, actually.

  4. chiieddy says:

    1. Sony just waits for customers to decide to pay more to rent a movie than it costs to buy a DVD or buy two tickets at a movie theater
    2. ???
    3. Profit

  5. Colonel Jack O'Neill says:

    Who’s gonna rent a movie for $25.
    For that price, you can go and buy it.

    • Veeber says:

      @Colonel Jack O’Neill: If they were making it available the same day the movie came out maybe I might consider it. It would be a lot easier for me to watch this at home instead of trying to drag the kids out to see it. I could even have my neighbor’s kids over and make a fun night out of it. But 30 days before the DVD releases? not a chance.

  6. Rectilinear Propagation says:

    Sony would no doubt argue the high price for the rental is not only related to its early access, but also because it’s less than the cost of taking the whole family to the theater (and most renters of this film will be families).

    Then they should have done this a month before it came out in theaters not a month before the DVD comes out. Heck, do it right after it stops playing in most theaters for people who ended up missing it. But offering an expensive rental a month before you could buy it for less makes no sense.

  7. Cantras says:

    Go get the book at the library! It’s free!
    You can *buy* the book for less than that.

    Of course, the book and the movie have nothing in common besides the title, human characters, and food falling from the sky…

  8. savvy999 says:

    What they’re probably thinking is that this is more like a “pay per view event” (e.g., MMA, WWF, boxing) than a movie rental. Price points for those are in the $20s.

    They’re thinking wrong, since those events happen once in real time. Once the content is created and distributed, watching a movie kinda happens whenever you want.

    FWIW, I saw CWACOM in the theaters, dropped $36 on the fam to do so (stupid, mandatory “3D glasses fee”, and no theater within 50 miles had 2D). LOL that I’m going to pay more than a $1 in the future, to rent the DVD from redbox, and burn 10 copies of it for my nieghbors and their kids.

    • JulesNoctambule says:

      @savvy999: An industry friend tells me that studios plan to release as many kids’ movies 3D-only as they can just because they can charge more for a ticket and the limited releases mean parents will have to pony up if they want the kids to see it in the theater.

  9. Underpants Gnome says:

    So this is the kind of thing the MPAA is saying they need Selective Output Control on all of our HD devices in order to implement?

    No thanks, I’ll keep my composite jacks and wait a month and save $23.95.

  10. JohnDeere says:

    not even if it was available same time as the theater, and i had my own movie theater, and i had 10 buddies to split the price with. still wouldnt touch it with a 10 foot pole.

  11. GyroMight says:

    I didn’t read the article above but wasn’t there a similar offer out there that if you rented the movie they wanted to disable your analog ports?

    • Underpants Gnome says:

      @GyroMight: Selectable Output Control.

      My theory is that Sony is setting up a straw man here. They’ll release this movie a month early. it’ll show up on torrents. They’ll run crying to congress talking about how unless they plug our analog holes, they can’t offer us great services like this in the future.

  12. aka_mich says:

    Do they include a piece of sandpaper and broomstick to shove up your ass too?

  13. craptastico says:

    they’re probably making a list of whatever suckers pay this. that list would be priceless. they could probably sell it to every company hawking credit protection, auto warrantys and any other high margin sucker product imaginable and make a bundle.

  14. JGKojak says:


    You know- if they did this with, say, Star Trek or Harry Potter WHILE IT WAS IN THEATERS it would make perfect sense- but a month early- sorry, I can wait for Santa.

  15. elizass says:

    You guys really hate the free market, don’t you? Maybe you should tell the U.S. government to tell Sony how to price their products.

    • deejmer says:

      @elizass: What an awful argument. No one is saying the gov’t should tell them how to price. They are consumers pointing out how f’ing bad this is going to fail in the free market. Is this a classic case of “Glenn Beck” logic or what?

    • Rectilinear Propagation says:

      @elizass: This comment makes no sense. No one said Sony shouldn’t be allowed to do this, they said Sony was stupid for doing this (or that people who go for this are stupid).

      Perhaps it is you who hates free speech?

    • TheRealAbsurdist says:

      @elizass: You really hate freedom of speech, don’t you? No one is saying this should be regulated. They’re merely commenting on the stupidity that excess cash allows one, as well as expressing incredulity at what they see as a boneheaded move by Sony with very limited appeal.

  16. madanthony says:

    The only way I could see that this might make sense is if you were holding, say, a kid’s birthday party for 15-20 kids. Then it’s a little over a buck a head, they get to see a movie they otherwise wouldn’t, and you can have your own cheap eats.

    Still, it’s not like Sony is forcing anyone to buy it. It’s an interesting experiment in a new means of media delivery.

  17. Xay says:

    @JulesNoctambule: I’ve heard the same thing from an industry friend.

    But after coughing up money for the “3D” release of Toy Story 1&2, I am not paying for another 3D movie.

  18. Mikestan says:

    The title of this post should read:

    “Sony falls on its face with a bad idea, blockbuster style.”


  19. backbroken says:

    Tomorrow’s headline:

    “Sony Executive doesn’t understand why piracy is so popular.”

  20. davere says:

    I’d pay that kind of money if the movies offered came out at the same time as they do on the theater. I’d pretty much pay the same for a couple of us to watch the movie, and I wouldn’t have to be surrounded by teenagers texting and giggling.

    • Saboth says:


      Now you are on to something. I wouldn’t pay *the same* to watch a movie at home, but I’d pay maybe…50-75%. Like, if I could watch the new Star Trek at home a week after it was released in theaters, for $10-$12, Instead of $18-$20 at a theater (because…although my home theater is ok, it obviously doesn’t compare to the real thing…but then I can watch from the comfort of my home). As-is, I missed it in theaters and decided to just watch it on Netflix.

  21. m1k3g says:

    It’s SONY – they suck. There’s no other reason.

  22. coren says:

    Well now we see how they can afford to give it to Netflix half off…

  23. shades_of_blue says:

    Twice as much? Last I knew, it was $5.25 a rental at Blockbuster. At $25, that’s nearly 5x the cost. For that you should own the f*cker!

  24. pot_roast says:

    “cave in to your child’s every whining want and spring more than twice as much for a rental than if you just waited a month.”

    Nah, that’s where piracy comes in. Then the little sprog can watch it over and over and over again. Way to go, Sony!