Movies May Be Offered On-Demand One Month After Theatrical Release

Posted May 22nd, 2010 at 4:33 pm

Major Hollywood studios and Time Warner Cable are in discussions to create what is for now being called “home theater on-demand”. This initiative would deliver movies to homes as early as 30 days after they release in theaters. The Wall Street Journal has the story on how the normal four month wait period could be trimmed to just one month and be offered through on-demand. This would not change when movies would be released on DVD/Blu-ray as those would stick with the typical four month gap.

Each on-demand movie would cost $20-30. While that may sound high at first it is certainly not outrageous considering the price of movie tickets these days. A couple going to the theater would typically spend that much if not more (and that doesn’t include snacks). In this scenario a family could easily watch a movie for much cheaper than what it would cost them to head out to the theater. The question would then be if it was worth it to pay for an on-demand viewing or just wait a few months to rent it or buy a DVD/Blu-ray for a comparable price that could be watched many times over.

Warner Brothers, Disney, Universal, Sony, Paramount, and Fox are at least examining the idea of offering their films for “home theater on-demand”. Of course theaters for the time being would still have the upper-hand not just with having movies to themselves for a month but also in touting the superior experience specifically with 3D. I know plenty of people though that would rather skip out on the hassle and costs that theaters bring and stay home. Expect theater chains to fight this just as they did when Disney tried to shorten the gap to DVD release with Alice in Wonderland. They threatened to boycott showing the movie and Disney eventually caved.