October 07, 2011
| by Rachel Cericola
Earlier this year, we told you that DIRECTV would offer theatrical movies at home for a mere $30 a pop. It happened, and of course, was a massive failure. That said, those are some bargain basement prices compared to what Comcast has planned.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the service provider is planning to launch a similar VOD option, but for double the price. Comcast has partnered up with Universal Studios to put Tower Heist into homes just three weeks after the film’s November 4 release date. The cost to view that new release in the privacy of your own home, with your own snacks, will be $59.99.
If your immediate reaction is “who?” instead of “how much,” know that Tower Heist is an upcoming action comedy, starring Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy, Matthew Broderick, Casey Affleck, and Alan Alda.
The real hook, however, is not just the price. It’s all about location, as well. Comcast says that it will only make this option available to subscribers in Portland and Atlanta.
Would you pay that much to watch this film in your home? My knee-jerk reaction is that I wouldn’t pay that to have the actors come into my home to act out the actual movie. That said, if you have seating for a few people, it may actually be cheaper per head.
As mentioned before, DIRECTV tried a similar experiment earlier this year. The satellite service provider charged at-home viewers $29.99 to catch the Liam Neeson action flick Unknown and the Adam Sandler/Jennifer Aniston comedy Just Go With It 60 days after the theatrical release date. The move was considered a failure, with blame placed on late availability. That said, it was successful in drawing ire from the Hollywood community, with filmmakers such as James Cameron, Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Michael Mann, Todd Phillips, Guillermo del Toro, and others, drawing up an open letter (via Deadline) expressing concerns over lost revenue, increased piracy, and more.
Cinemark seems to think this recent move is just as much of a threat, announcing its own plans (via Businessweek) to boycott Universal if the company proceeds with its VOD plans.
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at www.rachelcericola.com.