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Today theatrical films are served up in theaters the same way they are at home, either on discs or streaming online. So, if that's the case, why does it take so long for films to make the jump for home viewing? It's possible that gap is about to shrink significantly. While the structure of a film's life span, from box office, to home rental, to television, has been in place for a very long time, some studios are reportedly looking at ways to reduce the gap between a film's box office and rental debuts to as little as two weeks.
The deal, according to anonymous sources, would set up a premium tier of movie rental for new releases that would cost somewhere between $25 and $50 per viewing of a film once it hit home streaming services. The decision is based on the fact that home media sales have been stagnant for some time, and the studios, who rely on that revenue almost as much as they do box office ticket sales, are looking for ways to jump start it.
The gap between a film's box office debut and it's home media release used to be as much as six months, but now it's about 90 days, though in a few cases the gap has been even smaller than that. If a deal like this were to go through, it would certainly cut into theater companies bottom line. While a $25 or $50 rental cost may seem steep, for couples or families, especially in expensive markets like New York or Los Angeles, that's how much a trip to the movies costs them now. Being able to spend the same, or less, money without having to deal with the theater could be a very attractive offer.
The Cinemark theater chain admits to having talks about this premium rental option with some of the studios, though they've given no details about where things stand.
There is one area where this could actually have a detrimental effect on the studios. The prices that streaming services and television pay to air movies is based on their box office performance, bigger movies charge larger fees, so if the studio does trade box office success for early rentals, they could also lose revenue on the final piece that makes up movie revenue.
Would you pay $50 to see a popular film at home two weeks after it hit theaters? Let us know what you think of this deal in the comments down below.