Four major studios are making the first launch of Home Premiere by offering movies for rent at $30. Warner Bros., Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox have agreed to start the rentals two months after their theatrical opening day. The rental period is set for only a two- to three-day viewing period and depends on the movie’s distributor.
It all sounds exciting and different for those who have the right equipment to back up the $30 movie. On the other end, I wonder if there is a large enough audience to fulfill the need. DirecTV seems to think so, and will exclusively launch Home Premiere to its 20 million U.S. customers. Cable networks will launch the service in certain cities for a set period of time at the end of April.
Warner Bros.’ “Unknown” and Sony’s “Just Go With It” are projected to start the launch. However, Variety reports that titles could change as the rollout gets closer.
The studios told Variety that premium VOD draws from audiences who rather not make the trip to the megaplex because of the size of their families or the expense to hire babysitters or pay for food and other concessions. On the serious side, if audiences get used to staying home watching movies, they might stay away from theaters all together. We will have to wait and see if that is true.
Besides, waiting two months after movie’s theatrical run wouldn’t hurt the box office for theater chains. Most movies collect their coin predominately the first three months of their release. If a movie is still drawing well at the box office, the studios say they wouldn’t release the movie on premium VOD.
The big launch date for Home Premiere is not set in stone yet, but the studios speculate at the end of April. Of course, I am sure it depends on the movie’s distributor.