What Value Would You Place On Watching New Releases In Your Home?
Negotiations have been underway for some time on and off between studios and cinema chains regarding the release window for theatrical showings.
Universal, Sony, and Warner are all involved in the talks (notice the absence of Disney).
What is being discussed is shortening release windows to a 17 day waiting period before films are released onto VOD services. This is much shorter compared to the current 90-120 day window we have seen.
I’d easily put a value of $50 or $60 to screen a new release in my home. As a film enthusiast, I have spent a lot of time and money (too much according to the significant other!) setting up my home theater to have an experience that is most part, BETTER than going to a theater. No seats are too close or far, you can sit next to whomever you want, and if you are with a true drunkard you can pause the film for bathroom breaks and refills. Some of my favorite movie experiences in the past few years have been having a party with friends, eating & drinking before the film before we head to my theater room to start the showing. Afterwards we discuss the film and go back to re-watch scenes during our discussions. I go super nerd and download the latest trailers to show before the films too, which is always a fun touch.
Also, as a father of a toddler, it is extra challenging to get out of the house to see the newest releases, and VOD would EASILY remedy some of those times where we can’t find a babysitter or I have to go out solo to a theater to see the latest film.
I am well aware that I am fortunate to have the home theater setup I have, and I think viewing the latest blockbusters on a small 60″ TV is doing a disservice to the experience. (Projection is the only way to go baby!) And for special situations like Tarantino’s The Hateful Eight, or any film shot specifically in Imax format where that insane data would get lost on any 4K consumer projector, it is objectively a better experience at the cinema.
The thing that isn’t so exciting about all of this is that the theater chains want a guarantee that there will be no changes within the next 5-10 years. I don’t believe it will be that long. The current market is demanding shorter release windows. From the success of Netflix, Vudu (whom has great 4K streaming services I might add), and talking with peers the habits of moviegoers are definitely changing and the consumption of media moving towards the home.
Some of the bigger studios will be stragglers to shorter release windows, but I think 5 years or less before you will begin to be able to watch the latest Hollywood releases from the comfort of your couch. Whether you think that is good or not I suppose depends on if you romanticize the theater experience or if you work for a theater chain.