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It's almost baffling that the average movie theater experience has remained unchanged for the better part of a century. Entertainment continues to evolve, and it's becoming clearer that distribution needs an overhaul. We've reported at length about the possibility of studios providing VOD options for new releases over the course of the last few months, but now it seems that studios are even toying with the possibility of significantly reducing the previously suggested $50 price tag to a mere $30.
A recent Variety report indicates that some major Hollywood studios are inching closer to the opportunity to provide premium on-demand streaming for new releases. Rather than wait for the full 90 day minimum of a theatrical run before offering a home version (which is currently the norm), the system would instead shorten the mandatory theatrical window to as little as 17 days. We've reported on systems such as this before, but the difference here is that the price tag seems to be dropping from $50 to $30 for the early rental, with a portion of the revenue going to exhibitors who sign on for the deal.
Dropping that price tag by $20 is a significant change for this early VOD concept. Although the $50 price was pretty easy to scoff at, $30 could be a steal for a family, when we consider the increasingly steep cost of an individual ticket -- not to mention concession prices. It's also cheaper for studios, as a shortened window between theatrical and home release would cut down on overall marketing costs.
We should note that this change isn't going to happen overnight. Some major studios such as Disney aren't entertaining the idea, and the companies that are all seem to have a wide variety of ideas regarding how to implement these concepts. It could take several years for us to see any significant developments occur, but it's now clear that streaming platforms like Netflix have begun to inspire innovation within traditional distribution models.
It's difficult to say exactly how this will impact movies and movie distribution, but we would argue that it could prove beneficial for smaller films. Many people regularly make the argument that they opt not to see mid-range dramas in theaters because (unlike big superhero blockbusters) the big screen doesn't necessarily enhance the experience. By offering these films on-demand earlier than ever before, studios have a chance to find an audience for more intimate movies that otherwise might be swallowed up by big budget blockbusters. A perfect example of this is The Edge of Seventeen, which shared theaters with films like Doctor Strange and Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them; if there had been an outlet to get the movie onto small screens earlier, arguably more people would've seen it.
What do you think of this suggestion? Do you like the idea of streaming a new release for $30 from the comfort of your home, or do you stand by the traditional theater model? Let us know what you think in the comments section below!
If you happen to be on the lookout for more information concerning the rest of 2017's highly anticipated theatrical debuts, make sure to take a look at our comprehensive movie premiere guide and fill out your moviegoing calendars accordingly!