It’s 2018, I want to watch new release movies at home

With Avengers: Infinity War playing in theaters and Deadpool 2 about to be released I’d like to take a few minutes to discus my hatred of movie theaters.  I really hate the theater going experience, right after Avengers: Infinity War came out I drove to my local theater at 3:00 P.M. on a Wednesday and the place was still packed, I literally turned around and went home.  Let me explain, I’m not a people person, like most I can fake it when I have to but I really don’t like most people, so having to go to a large gathering of people I don’t know makes me VERY uncomfortable.  Then you factor in that I’m paying ridiculous prices for popcorn and a drink (I have ADHD and need something to munch on while watching a movie).  Then you have to the fact that I can’t pause the movie to run to the restroom which almost always happens, so I end up missing a part of the film I paid to see.  Then you top all of that off with uncomfortable seating, freezing air, and the inevitable fellow movie goers who won’t shut the hell up, and I’ve come to hate going to the theater.

The last film I went to the theater to see was Deadpool and thanks to everything listed above I missed so much that when it came out on Blu-Ray I re-watched it and picked up on several things I missed at the theater.  I’ve reached a point where I don’t even go to the theater anymore, I just wait until RedBox gets the movie I want to see, rent it there cheaper then renting from a VOD service, and save a bunch of money.  The main problem with waiting until I can get it from RedBox is by the time they get it enough spoilers have come out and I don’t really care, so up-selling me on merch or hyping me to see the next film doesn’t work.

It’s 2018, I should be able order a new film though my VOD provider of choice and be able to watch the film in the comfort of my own home.

But letting people watch at home will encourage piracy!

Did the VCR kill TV?  Did the Cassette tape kill radio?  The CEO of Time Warner Jeff Bewkes said this in 2013:

“I have to admit it, I think you’re right.” The much-discussed fantasy series is HBO’s most popular, and “if you go to people who are watching it without subs, it’s a tremendous word-of-mouth thing,” the exec told investors. “We’ve been dealing with this for 20, 30 years—people sharing subs, running wires down the backs of apartment buildings. Our experience is that it leads to more paying subs. I think you’re right that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show in the world,” he said. “That’s better than an Emmy.”

Adobe Systems Senior Vice President & General Manager, Digital Media Business Unit David Wadhwani said:

I do not think people who pirate our software do it because they are bad people, or because they like to steal things. I just think that they decided that they can not afford it. And now, with the switch to subscriptions and with the ability to offer software at a cheaper price, we see that the situation is beginning to change and we’re excited.

Basically no one is going to pirate something they don’t like, and if they like it their more incentivised to pay for it to encourage the production of more things like it.  The reason most people pirate is due to lack of availability.

So what do I propose?

Well the studios don’t want to piss off the theaters, and the theaters don’t want to loose money from people staying home so they should team up to tackle the problem.  First of all the theater chains should come together and set up a joint venture to create a system to allow watching newly released movies at home.  Second they should approach the studios and ask them to jump on board with this new joint venture.  Third all the partners come together to give the people want they want and they all share the profits.

Ok I over simplified that but it’s a blog post not a thesis.  I’ll give two very basic descriptions of what I think would work, obviously they first one is the best idea.

  • Give all theater companies in the new joint venture 7 day exclusivity to show the the film without any online competition, then after 7 days allow VOD providers like Amazon, VUDU, Google Play, & itunes the right to sell a 24 hour rental for a set price across all services of no more than $20 USD and split the profits among all partners.
  • Sell consumers an overpriced box with built-in copy protection and allow customers to pay exorbitant prices for a movie.

As you can tell I’m not in favor of the second option, and that’s the one being proposed except there would still be a delay from the time the film comes out in theaters.  Of course it won’t work and that’s what the people behind it want, they want to make it cost a lot to get the box and then more to rent the actual movies because they want to say they gave people a legal option and they didn’t use it so there’s no reason to offer anything like it again, then go back to the old model.

If on the other hand they embrace the first method and allow a reasonably priced way to watch at home after a very short theater exclusivity period, then I guarantee piracy would go down.  It’s simple music piracy went down when services like itunes and Google Play could offer an album the day it was released, if studios and theater companies down pull their heads of out their asses and join the 21st century.  If they don’t get their acts together companies like Netflix, Amazon, YouTube, and itunes will take over and start making people decide that the “hot new movie” in theaters isn’t worth it and just stay home, and if that happens theater companies will go out of business and the studios will be at the mercy of Netflix, Amazon, YouTube and itunes.