There were fewer detractors than I would have expected commenting on the first trailer for Brett Ratner‘s upcoming heist comedy Tower Heist starring Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy so perhaps some of you will want to bite on this deal. I hope, at the very least, you get a few people together because if I catch any of you spending $60 to watch this movie on your own I may have to sit you down for a good talking to.
So the deal is, according to the Los Angeles Times, three weeks after Tower Heist hits theaters on November 4, Comcast subscribers in Atlanta and Portland will have the option to rent the film On Demand at the price of $60.
Obviously, if you do the calendar math, we’re talking about this thing debuting On Demand on November 25 and Universal is thinking families home for the holidays will have some down time so why not watch a first run feature at home instead of heading out of the house? That, I am assuming, is the thinking here. But is anyone going to actually do it?
Back in April, Ratner, along with the likes of James Cameron, Peter Jackson, Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Guillermo del Toro, Roland Emmerich, Shawn Levy, Michael Mann, Todd Phillips, Adam Shankman, Gore Verbinski and Robert Zemeckis all came out against putting first run features out On Demand only 60 days after a film’s theatrical release, but Ratner didn’t have any part in the decision making.
Quoted by The Hollywood Reporter, a spokesman for Ratner said, “Brett was made aware of Universal’s PVOD experiment with Tower Heist yesterday. It is a test limited to Portland and Atlanta. Brett was told that the studio is fully protecting the theater owners against losses at the box office. Brett did not participate in the planning of this test.”
I love the part of that quote where it says “the studio is fully protecting the theater owners against losses at the box office.” What a joke, the studio is testing whether or not they can get away with this and take a TON of money out of theater owners’ pockets and skip the theatrical experience altogether. Nevermind the fact the current theatrical window is now down to 120 days. I just got home from watching a 70mm print of Cleopatra at Seattle’s Cinerama, 48 years (roughly 17,520 days) after it was originally released and I can tell you now, renting it On Demand wouldn’t be nearly the same.
So I ask, forget whether or not you actually live in Portland or Atlanta, would you, if you could, participate in this “deal”? Is there a film you would pay $60 to see three weeks after release?
Now think about that last question before you answer, we’re talking about a three week period in which you could have just gone to the theater to watch whatever film you were thinking of mentioning and I know you some of you were immediately thinking of mentioning The Dark Knight Rises, but considering Christopher Nolan is shooting that bad boy on IMAX cameras would you even want to see it any other way than on the big screen?
Interesting enough, that brings up another point, the only films people are likely to even consider using this service for — I would assume — are films they aren’t all that interested in seeing in the theater. I’m sure if you told audiences they could watch a movie for $60 On Demand three weeks before it was in theaters you may be likely to make some more money, but after? Well, I guess the folks that missed Bucky Larson: Born to be a Star could take advantage of such a situation.