Movie studios talk $30 rentals for films still in theaters as Apple pushes for content on ...

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in iPod + iTunes + AppleTV edited March 2017
Hollywood studios are reportedly showing "greater flexibility" in negotiations with theater chains about the prospect of early movie rentals -- something that could affect Apple, which is also allegedly pursuing early streaming via the iTunes Store.




Warner Bros. kicked off talks a while ago by proposing $50 rentals just 17 days after a premiere, while a movie might still be in theaters, according to Variety. In exchange, the theaters would've got a cut of digital revenues.

Other studios such as Fox and Universal suggested that $50 was too much to ask however, and are now pitching exhibitors on cheaper pricetags with a slightly longer delay, several Variety sources claim.

At the moment both Fox and Warner Bros. are allegedly proposing $30 rentals some 30 to 45 days after a film's opening. Universal is sticking to a narrower window though, up to 20 days, while Sony is thought to be toying with the idea of later releases that might also be more expensive. Typically rentals don't become available until 90 days, at prices well below the $10 mark.

Other studios in negotiations are said to include Lionsgate, Paramount, and Sony, talking with exhibitors like AMC, Regal, and Cineplex. Disney is claimed to be uninterested, likely because many of its movies have long theatrical runs.

Exhibitors have been concerned about offering streaming too early, since it could eat into ticket and concession sales. For some studios though early streaming could be a way of compensating for declining DVD sales, while simultaneously maximizing the efficiency of marketing and catering to younger people used to being able to stream on-demand.

Even if early access does become a reality, not all titles may be treated equal. Universal is aiming to have all its movies available early, but Fox and Warner Bros. may be willing to hold some titles back, such as big franchise sequels.

In December a report indicated that Apple is also pushing for shorter rental windows on iTunes. That might make the service more appealing, though it would only be a competitive edge if it could obtain exclusives not available on competitors like Google Play or Vudu.

On Tuesday Apple released iTunes 12.6, which -- once iOS 10.3 and tvOS 10.2 become available -- will finally let people watch a rented movie on any device rather than one at a time.
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Comments

  • Reply 1 of 47
    Personally I love this idea, and I think they shouldn't settle on 1 price/timeframe. Make everyone happy.

    $50 = release day through first 2 weeks.

    $40 = Week 2 through Week 4.

    $30 = Week 4 through Week 6.

    $20 = Week 6 through Digital Release.
    Deelronedred
  • Reply 2 of 47
    I hate going to movie theatres...the screens are usually smudged and dirty, the people are generally not enjoyable to be around, the seating is uncomfortable, the snacks/food are disgusting and extortionist....it already costs me at least $40-50 to take my wife and son to that miserable experience. I'd gladly pay the same to NOT have to go there.
  • Reply 3 of 47
    Makes sense for families, maybe not so much for individuals or couples.
    edredlongpath
  • Reply 4 of 47
    stickista said:
    Makes sense for families, maybe not so much for individuals or couples.
    I think paying for the privilege of not having to go to a movie theatre is value enough.
    stickistaSpamSandwichedredwatto_cobra
  • Reply 5 of 47
    jdgazjdgaz Posts: 342member
    The studios could completely cut out the theaters and the other aggregators (HBO, etc( by providing a $10 - $15 month subscription to first run and full back catalog movies.
    edredlongpathicoco3
  • Reply 6 of 47
    StrangeDaysStrangeDays Posts: 6,813member
    i guess i'm an anomaly -- i think the $6-7 for a 24-hour digital rental is totally lame. 
    edited March 2017 randominternetperson
  • Reply 7 of 47
    crowleycrowley Posts: 5,735member
    Can't imagine ever paying so much for a rental, but choice never hurt anyone I suppose.

    How does $30 compare to the cost of going to the cinema in the U.S.?  Obv it's slightly different as the rental could be seen by many people, but it seems to be terrible value for money for one or two people, especially if they enjoy going into a proper theatre.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 8 of 47
    JinTechJinTech Posts: 330member
    Personally I love this idea, and I think they shouldn't settle on 1 price/timeframe. Make everyone happy.

    $50 = release day through first 2 weeks.

    $40 = Week 2 through Week 4.

    $30 = Week 4 through Week 6.

    $20 = Week 6 through Digital Release.
    Depending on the movie, some of the films are already available after the second week on iTunes for half the cost of $40.
    cali
  • Reply 9 of 47
    boltsfan17boltsfan17 Posts: 2,135member
    crowley said:
    Can't imagine ever paying so much for a rental, but choice never hurt anyone I suppose.

    How does $30 compare to the cost of going to the cinema in the U.S.?  Obv it's slightly different as the rental could be seen by many people, but it seems to be terrible value for money for one or two people, especially if they enjoy going into a proper theatre.
    A matinee time ticket is usually just under $10. After matinee, adult tickets are $13. If you get drinks and snacks/popcorn, you are well over $30 going as a couple.  

    EDIT: Wanted to add IMAX ticket prices where I live are $20 a ticket. 
    edited March 2017
  • Reply 10 of 47
    SpamSandwichSpamSandwich Posts: 30,727member
    Studios should definitely experiment and find out what works. Variable pricing on movie tickets could be another area of experimentation for them. Some movies, quite frankly, are not worth full price.
    mike1
  • Reply 11 of 47
    nhtnht Posts: 4,394member
    sog35 said:
    crowley said:
    Can't imagine ever paying so much for a rental, but choice never hurt anyone I suppose.

    How does $30 compare to the cost of going to the cinema in the U.S.?  Obv it's slightly different as the rental could be seen by many people, but it seems to be terrible value for money for one or two people, especially if they enjoy going into a proper theatre.
    Tickets are $12-$15
    Plus you gotta drive there $4
    Popcorn, soda $30

    So for 2 people you are looking at $60 easy.

    Then time costs. To get good seats will take a hour. Plus another hour for travel.

    I'd rather just pay $$$ and watch it at home on my 120 inch projector 
    With reserved recliner seats the in theater experience is much better now.  If I want the perfect seats I just keep clicking until I find a showing where it's available and stroll in halfway through the previews.  Given they are recliners the seat density isn't as high and the high quality pleather is generally cleaner seeming than the older cloth seats.

    Even with a good home theater system the in-theater experience with the right crowd is better.  I have a projector setup as well but until we get affordable 4K projectors the seating distance for 1080p is equivalent to sitting in the last row of a THX theater if you sit at the appropriate distance from the screen to get to 60 pixels per degree resolution. I sit closer and ignore both the occasional rainbows and visible pixel structure.
  • Reply 12 of 47
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    This never would have happened if Steve Jobs was alive.

    I maintain that the only reason we don’t yet have a cable/satellite GENOCIDER (not even “killer”) through the Apple TV is that Steve died before a deal could be made. Now we’re stuck with this madness until the industry suffers a collapse a la the video game industry in 1983.

    sog35
    said:
    Popcorn, soda $30
    Just sneak in some Dots or Combos, for heaven’s sake. Who needs to eat three times a day?
    Then time costs. To get good seats will take a hour. Plus another hour for travel.
    Just arrive so you’re in the theater 15 minutes early.

    The problem is the cultivated “culture” of “seeing it on release day” or “seeing it early.” Who gives a fuck? Go a week later and get whatever seat you want in a theater that isn’t crowded. How sick and disturbed do you have to be to define your culture–or your person/social standing/ability to converse with friends and coworkers–by the number and timing of the Hollywood productions you’ve seen?

    Paying ownership price to rent a film? Are these people fucking nuts?
    edited March 2017 SpamSandwichStrangeDayssockrolidedredrandominternetperson
  • Reply 13 of 47
    Movie theaters for the most part today provide a poor experience while my family of 5 will cost $60-$80 for this poor experience. Give me release week rentals and I will easily pay $50 and be happy. For the few movies that deserve the big screen I will track down an iMax experience.
    bdkennedy1002
  • Reply 14 of 47
    mike1mike1 Posts: 1,819member
    It's all about choice. It behooves the content owners to deliver the content to wherever the consumer want to watch it, when they want to watch it. For some films, I like the very large screen and better sound system that I just can't replicate at home. Others, don't need that experience and I might pay a higher rental charge to see a movie that's still in theaters. And then there are some, where's I'd just wait for the normal rental cycle. As somebody else mentioned, a sliding scale based on release date may be part of equation. The market will always decide the best combination of price, convenience and location.
    randominternetperson
  • Reply 15 of 47
    zoetmbzoetmb Posts: 2,398member
    Suicide for movie theaters even if they share in the revenues because over time, the windows will collapse, just as they did for home video.   Once movie theaters die, then every movie becomes the equivalent of a "direct to video" film.   Budgets will then collapse as well (not that a high budget guarantees a good film -sometimes the opposite is true.)  Take a look on the streaming services where 75% of the movies are already unknown cloned crap.   That will grow to 90% of films if this happens.

    Even if this doesn't happen, movie theaters are already endangered, especially in cities where real-estate is expensive.   The reason why the crap concessions are so expensive is because theaters generally get only 5% of the ticket price in the opening weeks of a film and these days, there are only opening weeks.   We're a long time away from when films like "Star Wars" played in some theaters for a year.    Theaters don't make a lot of money.   In the first three quarters of 2016, AMC netted only $784 per theater location per day (including concessions and other revenue) and I believe that was a record.   And in spite of some new builds, we're already losing theaters.  New York City has lost 31% of the theatre locations and 17% of the screen count since 2001 and it's lost about 23% of the seat count since mid-2012 (due to both closings and lounge seating).  

    While there are plenty of bad movie theaters and I hate the trend of lounge seating resulting in only a third of the seats, there are also plenty of great ones.   IMO, seeing a film in a Dolby Vision theater or a true IMAX theater is not an experience that can be replicated at home even if one has a multi-million dollar home theater.   And it certainly can't be replicated watching on an iPhone, iPad, computer screen or on a crappy uncalibrated 55" Samsung TV with a soundbar.   While some movie theaters do indeed attract jerks who talk during films or text or spill their drinks on the floor, there is something to be said for the shared communal experience of seeing a film together - especially for comedies and popcorn movies.    But in an age when so many people do nothing but look down at their phones all day, I guess people no longer care.

    We've already killed the music industry, which adjusted for inflation, is now less than 1/3rd its former peak size in the U.S.   Do we have to kill the film industry as well?    Studio heads want this because it reduces marketing expenses and increases cash flow and they only care about the next quarter's stock price because they don't expect to survive long.   But it will kill the studios as well in the long run because as happened in the music industry, by killing movie theaters, it will kill any perception that movies have value.   
    tallest skiln2macs
  • Reply 16 of 47
    This is risky for the studios, as once the rental is available, a high quality digital file is available for anyone to download illegally for free. That could seriously cut into theater ticket sales.
    tallest skil
  • Reply 17 of 47
    sog35 said:
    i guess i'm an anomaly -- i think the $6-7 for a 24-hour digital rental is totally lame. 
    I use to think this way.  But what is the alternative?

    Netflix? They hardly get any new releases of quality now.
    RedBox? Cost $2, but pain in the ass to drive there, drive home. Then do the same thing again the next day. Just in gas alone that is $6

    Just load up on iTunes gift cards during the holidays which are usually 20% off.

    Most movies in the USA are $6 or $5. Take 20% off of that and its about $4-$5 a movie.

    The alternative (that my wife uses all the time) is to buy the DVD when it hits Target or Costco for between $10 and $20.  It doesn't make a let of sense to me unless it's a movie you know you'll watch 2 or 3 times, but oh well.
  • Reply 18 of 47
    linkmanlinkman Posts: 881member
    jdgaz said:
    The studios could completely cut out the theaters and the other aggregators (HBO, etc( by providing a $10 - $15 month subscription to first run and full back catalog movies.
    Surely you are kidding? A subscription for first run movies would be at least $150/month.
  • Reply 19 of 47
    Maybe I'm an outlier (although I think I'm pretty typical in this regard), but the "movie theater experience" is very different (and better) than watching a movie at home,  When I'm in a theater, I'm 98% absorbed by the movie.  When I'm at home, there are just too many distractions.  I went to see Doctor Strange in the theaters twice.  I'll watch it on Blu-Ray at some point, but it won't be the same experience.  If I'm going to be watching at home, I don't care whether it's in the theaters or year later, but it had better be cheap.
    StrangeDays
  • Reply 20 of 47
    tallest skiltallest skil Posts: 43,399member
    sog35 said:
    For myself I have a dedicated home theater room that is painted dark purple/blue. The ceiling is black. My screen is a 120 inch theater wide. I have a 7.1 sound system that produces 20hz at 120 decibels. The visual/audio and of course comfort is better than 95% of the theaters in my area.
    And no $10 snacks.
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