Click to Skip Ad
Closing in...
Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Harvey Weinstein Says Quentin Tarantino Has Changed The Last Chapter Of 'The Hateful Eight' Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance Review: ‘Slow West’ Starring Michael Fassbender, Kodi Smit-McPhee & Ben Mendelsohn Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Sundance: Keanu Reeves Opens The Door To Trouble In Teaser Trailer For Eli Roth's 'Knock Knock' Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: 8-Minute Video Essay Argues Steve McQueen's 'Shame' Is Actually A Critique Of The Modern Metropolis Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' Watch: The Tampon Scene From 'Fifty Shades Of Grey' You Won't See In The Movie Recreated With 'The Sims' 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins 'Death Proof' Star Zoe Bell Leads Latest Additions To Quentin Tarantino's 'Hateful Eight' As Filming Begins Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Ranked From Best To Worst: Every Sundance Dramatic Grand Jury Prize Winner Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck Watch: 'Saturday Night Live' Sketch 'Fanatic' Written & Directed By Paul Thomas Anderson And Starring Ben Affleck The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2003 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 The 10 Best Films Of 2002 Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson Check Out These Minimalist, Old School Paperback-Style Posters For The Films Of Wes Anderson First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' First Look: Leonardo DiCaprio Gets Grimy In Alejandro González Iñárritu's 'The Revenant' The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival The 30 Most Anticipated Movies Of The 2015 Sundance Film Festival 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment 2015 Oscar Nominees Get The Honest Poster Treatment "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice "Carry Bolt Cutters Everywhere": Werner Herzog Has 24 Amazing Pieces Of Advice The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far The 25 Best Horror Films Of The 21st Century So Far Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' Watch: 3 Graphic, Very NSFW Clips From Lars von Trier's 'Nymphomaniac Vol II — Director's Cut' The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season The 20 Best TV Shows Of The 2013/2014 Season From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki From Worst To Best: Ranking The Films Of Hayao Miyazaki Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point Christopher Nolan Says His Howard Hughes Film Is Dead, But He'd Still Like To Do A Bond Film At Some Point

Would You Pay $59.99 To Watch 'Tower Heist' In The Comfort Of Your Own Home?

Photo of Kevin Jagernauth By Kevin Jagernauth | The Playlist October 6, 2011 at 3:50AM

Yeah, We Wouldn't EitherAnd so the dance between the major studios and movie theater owners continue, and no, we're not talking about the 3D glasses debacle. You might remember that earlier this year a legion of filmmakers -- Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Michael Mann, Todd Phillips, Guillermo del Toro and more -- issued an open letter to the industry in support of movie theaters, as the major studios were pushing a plan to make movies available on VOD sixty days after their hit theaters. Well, they tried it anyway. Launching on DirecTV, a handful of movies including "Unknown" and "Just Go With It" were made available for $29.99 to order up on your home theater system and basically, no one cared and the program flopped. The solution? Charge even more money.
5

Yeah, We Wouldn't Either



And so the dance between the major studios and movie theater owners continue, and no, we're not talking about the 3D glasses debacle. You might remember that earlier this year a legion of filmmakers -- Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron, Michael Mann, Todd Phillips, Guillermo del Toro and more -- issued an open letter to the industry in support of movie theaters, as the major studios were pushing a plan to make movies available on VOD sixty days after their hit theaters. Well, they tried it anyway. Launching on DirecTV, a handful of movies including "Unknown" and "Just Go With It" were made available for $29.99 to order up on your home theater system and basically, no one cared and the program flopped. The solution? Charge even more money.

That's right. It's an idea hatched in Bizarro World, but THR reports that Universal will test the waters soon with a plan whereby customers can order up this fall's "Tower Heist" for the rock bottom price of $59.99 three weeks after it hits theaters on November 4th. A few caveats though: this will only be available to Comcast customers and only in Portland and Atlanta (for some reason). It's really just a small test to see a) who is brain dead enough to do this and b) how it affects the box office (if at all). So, would you pay $60 to watch "Tower Heist"?

Of course, that's an unfair question to some degree. The thinking here is that instead of going to theater with your friends/family and paying $12/head, plus gas and popcorn and whatever else, per person, $59.99 could theoretically be a cheaper option if you just stayed in. But here's the rub: at $60, it's not like you get a copy of the movie when you're done watching. It's basically a super expensive rental. For those with families and excellent home theater systems, sure, we suppose this might work. But for the average everyday moviegoer? We think it'll be a tough sell. $59.99 is simply a scary number no matter how you slice it and with audiences already fed up with the cost of movies as it is, we think the knee jerk reaction to the price will keep most people from ordering up at home.

For the record, Ratner, who actually signed that open letter in the spring, was not involved in the decision to take his movie the premium VOD route. But this battle is far from over. As studios look to try and find new sources of revenue as the home video sales/rentals decline, and as theater owners fight to hang on to their audiences while the window between big screen and DVD/Blu/digital release dates shrink, it's going to get ugly. But charging movie audiences more for less, is not the way to go. People pay for the theater experience for a reason and as we've said before it's up to multiplex and arthouse owners to make sure that the viewing experience is impeccable (fully lit projectors and properly framed movies would be a start). And on the studio side, trying to push audiences to stay home runs entirely counter to what makes taking in a movie -- with an audience on a big screen with great sound -- special in the first place. It seems completely counter-intuitive to try and reverse that. So let's try some new ideas guys, instead of beating the old ones into the ground.

This article is related to: Films, Tower Heist


The Playlist

The obsessives' guide to contemporary cinema via film discussion, news, reviews, features, nostalgia, movie music, soundtracks, DVDs and more.


E-Mail Updates