Hollywood, Apple are said to mull feature film rental plan, defying theaters

“Movie studios are considering whether to ignore the objections of cinema chains and forge ahead with a plan to offer digital rentals of films mere weeks after they appear in theaters, according to people familiar with the matter,” Anousha Sakoui reports for Bloomberg. “Some of the biggest proponents, including Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures, are pressing on in talks with Apple Inc. and Comcast Corp. on ways to push ahead with the project even without theater chains, the people said. After months of negotiations, the two sides have been unable to arrive at a mutually beneficial way to create a $30 to $50 premium movie-download product.”

“The leading Hollywood studios, except for Walt Disney Co., are eager to introduce a new product to make up for declining sales of DVDs and other home entertainment in the age of Netflix. They have discussed sharing a split of the revenue from premium video on demand, or PVOD, with the cinema chains if they give their blessing to the concept,” Sakoui reports. “But the exhibitors have sought a long-term commitment of as much as 10 years for that revenue split, which the studios have rejected, the people said.”

“Deals with potential distributors such as Apple and Comcast could be reached as soon as early next year to sell digital downloads of major films as soon as two weeks after they debut in theaters, the people said,” Sakoui reports. “Those pacts would give the studios a way to issue an ultimatum to the theater chains: Agree to a deal, or we’ll start selling the movie downloads anyway. The movie houses could fight back by boycotting films slated for sale via download days after their theatrical debut.”

Read more in the full article here.

MacDailyNews Take: Movie theaters are dying anyway. Beyond exorbitant ticket prices, one only look at what they’re charging for concessions to see their abject desperation. Play hardball with them and they’ll fold like a cheap suit.


  1. I like going to the theater to see the movie on the big screen. I give the movie the a week plus another weekend to decrease the crowd before seeing the film on a weekday. The ticket prices at “Hollywood Blvd. Cinema” are reasonable and my wife and I can enjoy dinner and beverages with the show.

    1. I don’t know the setup you’re describing, but am curious about what you might mean by enjoying dinner and beverages with the show? if it’s prior to or after the movie, then all well and good, but if you’re dining during the show, presumably others are too, which means that they will all be making a certain amount of noise and you’ll all need a certain amount of light to see what you’re eating, which means that the cinema won’t be properly dark and loads of you won’t be paying attention to the movie because you’re eating. How does that work out in practice?

      If the movie is worth going out to and spending the admission money, then it ought to be compelling enough to hold people’s exclusive attention for a couple of hours. People go to the ballet, concerts or theatre without needing to eat hot food while watching ( or at least that’s how it is in my country ), why not eat before or after the movie?

  2. Malls and Movie Theaters may be dying in the US, but that doesn’t mean the same is happening all around the world. In many other regions of the world theaters (and malls) are striving.

    1. I very much prefer the idea of watching a movie at the cinema, but other people are ruining it these days. People seem got be unable to leave their phones alone during the movie, will talk to each other and eat noisily. I’m reluctantly giving up on the idea of going to the cinema and moving towards viewing movies at home in more controlled circumstances.

      When the cinema works well, it’s a stunning experience, but you spend quite a bit of money and the experience frequently gets diminished by the selfish behaviour of others.

      1. I agree completely – given an otherwise empty theater, I would always choose that. Beside, at home, it is a guarantee that my wife will be the one interupting my movie watching experience, and she doesn’t do that when we go to a theater. 🙂

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