Well, the times, they are a'changin,' and after so many years of fierce resistance several major studios look ready to move into this brave new world. Variety reports that Warner Bros., Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox are teaming up to launch Home Premiere, which will act as "the industry's official brand" for on-demand movie releases.
Here's how it would work in a nutshell: Home Premiere will launch via DirecTV (and eventually other providers) and will allow customers to watch movies a scant two months after their release for $30 a pop, with the Liam Neeson action film 'Unknown' and the Adam Sandler comedy 'Just Go With It' being the first films available when the service launches next month.
That $30 price tag may seem initially unreasonable, but it showcases who the studios are expecting to take advantage of this system: families. A trip to the movies for a family of five is an increasingly expensive excursion and the option of waiting two months and paying significantly less than the cost of several tickets must sound enticing.
However, there's one fatal flaw: if someone is willing to wait two months to treat their family to Liam Neeson breaking spines in 'Unknown', what's stopping them from waiting one more month to just buy the DVD or Blu-Ray for the same price? Heck, what's stopping them from waiting that additional 28 days and just watching the movie for a buck when it hits their local Redbox? If someone has the patience to not see a film during its initial theatrical run, what's stopping them from just waiting a little longer?
The original Variety article does address this, saying that initial plans to offer movies on-demand four to six weeks after theatrical release were squashed when major theater chains balked, worried that such a small release window would hinder their chances of making more of that sweet, sweet cash money (and in all fairness, it would).
The only thing left to see now is whether or not people are ready to embrace Home Premiere. What do you think? Would you pay $30 to watch a movie after it's out of theaters but before it hits disc? If you have a family, does this sound convenient to you?