Ladies and gentlemen, get ready to see the theater experience to crumble before our very eyes. The digital revolution has already revolutionized the way we consume our media. Physical media has almost become a thing of a past (with Blu-ray largely turning into a product for super-geeks to get their special feature or hi-res fix), and fairly soon, I wouldn’t be surprised if we were witnessing the beginning of the end of theater chains.
In the past, we’ve reported on the service Screening Room, which would allow consumers to rent films currently playing in theaters for an inflated price point — with some of the money going to the theater chains. We’ve also reported on certain studios approaching said chains and trying to shorten the window between theatrical and home release. Now, it sounds like Apple is trying to split the difference between the two.
According to Bloomberg, Apple is pushing for Hollywood to give them access to their movies earlier. The report continues, stating that some studio execs are pushing to allow home rentals as early as two weeks after the films debut theatrically. Just imagine. In a world where this is already implemented, come January 1st of next year, we would’ve been able to see Rogue One: A Star Wars Story from the comforts of our own.
We’ve already seen the digital market upset the physical media market. More often than not, you’re able to purchase big budget features a solid month before their physical release, and that has to be cutting into the bottom line of physical media. The report also states that this is an attempt from Apple to become a more prominent contender on the online market for film. Depending on the price point they’re looking at for these rentals, that could very well be the case.
While on the surface, this may seem like a risky move for studios, it’s actually rather ingeneous. Most of a film’s grosses are received in those crucial first weeks of release, and in switching quickly to online, studios are potentially more likely to get sales where they’d normally receive none. That being said, this could be a move that cuts into their home release sales.
Of course, the ones set to lose the most are the theater chains, and there’s no word on whether or not, like with The Screening Room, that the theater owners would be a receiving a cut of the grosses, though considering how big Apple is, we’d be surprised if they were even being considered as a part of the conversation. With all these different companies working to create a quicker home theater experience, it seems the writing may very well be on the wall for most theater owners.
What do you think of this? Do you think theaters will ever go out of business, or do you think a service like this, as well as a standard home theater service, can co-exist peacefully? Let us know your thoughts down below!
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