Universal to Make Theatrical Movie Releases Available as $20 Digital Rentals on Same Day

MacRumors

macrumors bot
Original poster
Apr 12, 2001
48,740
10,144



Universal Pictures is set to make new movies on global theatrical release concurrently available for rental via iTunes, Amazon, and other digital platforms, NBCUniversal has announced (via Deadline).


New releases including The Invisible Man, The Hunt, and Emma will be available to watch online as soon as this Friday, March 20, with each movie offered as a 48-hour on-demand rental for the suggested price of $19.99 in the U.S., and equivalent prices in international markets.

In addition, DreamWorks Animation's Trolls World Tour, which is scheduled for cinematic release on April 10 in the U.S., is set to become available domestically in theaters and on demand on the same day.

The announcement followed a historically poor weekend at the box office, as measures to limit the spread of the coronavirus pandemic saw theaters close and consumers prepare for a collective shut-in at home.
"Universal Pictures has a broad and diverse range of movies with 2020 being no exception. Rather than delaying these films or releasing them into a challenged distribution landscape, we wanted to provide an option for people to view these titles in the home that is both accessible and affordable," said Jeff Shell, CEO of NBCUniversal, in a statement. "We hope and believe that people will still go to the movies in theaters where available, but we understand that for people in different areas of the world that is increasingly becoming less possible."
According to The Hollywood Reporter, the move doesn't apply to the studio's entire 2020 calendar, and decisions regarding other titles and the duration of the policy have yet to be made.

Several films, including the next James Bond installment No Time to Die and the ninth Fast & Furious movie, have already been delayed because of the virus. Apple has also suspended all active filming on Apple TV+ projects from outside studios, temporarily pausing work on "The Morning Show," "Foundation," "See," "Lisey's Story," "Servant," and "For All Mankind."

Article Link: Universal to Make Theatrical Movie Releases Available as $20 Digital Rentals on Same Day
 
Last edited:

Relentless Power

macrumors Nehalem
Jul 12, 2016
33,239
34,244
Personally, I welcome this, as movie theaters obviously will probably never be the same moving forward, and this gives a luxury for those who want to pay a premium to view the film in their privacy of their own home given the circumstances. It saves me (And plenty of others) the time and distraction of having to deal with those who are not courteous of others when viewing movies in theaters.
 

rbailerum1

macrumors newbie
Jun 30, 2008
23
21
This is nice, but $20 when it would have cost $12 to see it on the big screen? Universal needs customers during this theatre shutdown, but they are charging a premium to rent movies? Normally it would cost $20 to purchase the movie (which isn’t normally released this soon on iTunes). Not following that.
 

nicho

macrumors 68040
Feb 15, 2008
3,306
2,019
...and on various file sharing sites shortly after.
Makes me wonder if there wouldn't be a market for a (much cheaper) version of this hardware, to fully compete with cinemas in the future:

Perhaps the most intriguing aspect of Private Theatre is that IMAX is also selling a separate box (priced at about £7.5K/$10K) that lets customers watch new films as they're released at major cinemas. The box, called Home Premier, uses fingerprint recognition for security. Users still have to pay an unspecified rental fee for each screening on top of the £7.5K up-front cost, too. (Prima Cinema, which offers a similar service, charges $500 per screening.)

 
  • Like
Reactions: EmotionalSnow

zhenya

macrumors 604
Jan 6, 2005
6,685
3,287
This is nice, but $20 when it would have cost $12 to see it on the big screen? Universal needs customers during this theatre shutdown, but they are charging a premium to rent movies? Normally it would cost $20 to purchase the movie (which isn’t normally released this soon on iTunes). Not following that.
The reasonable assumption is that most of these will be viewed by at least a couple, if not a family or group of friends.
 

Sodium Chloride

macrumors regular
Jul 11, 2017
177
76
As an aside, Contagion is now the 2nd most rented movie at itunes
 
  • Like
Reactions: 2010mini

Vol Braakzakje

macrumors newbie
Aug 28, 2019
11
42
This is nice, but $20 when it would have cost $12 to see it on the big screen? Universal needs customers during this theatre shutdown, but they are charging a premium to rent movies? Normally it would cost $20 to purchase the movie (which isn’t normally released this soon on iTunes). Not following that.
That means you’ll have to watch it with at least 1 other person.
 

Infinite Vortex

macrumors 6502
Mar 6, 2015
397
690
BTW, time for me to buy a new TV and ATV.
I've done away with the ATV as my TV can play video content from iTunes directly. Its not like Apple lets you download 4K content anyway. For Apple Music streaming I can go from my phone instead with no need to have my TV on at all.
 

Steve121178

macrumors 603
Apr 13, 2010
5,233
4,410
Bedfordshire, UK
This is nice, but $20 when it would have cost $12 to see it on the big screen? Universal needs customers during this theatre shutdown, but they are charging a premium to rent movies? Normally it would cost $20 to purchase the movie (which isn’t normally released this soon on iTunes). Not following that.
I can't believe anyone has the cheek to moan about these prices.

It costs around £17 ($21) to watch a movie here in the UK on a IMAX screen, maybe £5 cheaper for standard screenings. $20 USD is more than fair to watch the latest releases from home.
 

wbeasley

macrumors 6502
Nov 23, 2007
332
182
if they release a film with rushed crap visuals, will you get the 2.0 version a few days later for free?

i get they are charging $20 for a household.
a family with kids will find this more attractive.
cheaper popcorn and coke as well.

everyone else (singles/couples) who feels it costs too much will just bit torrent it a day later.
we've been down this (music) path before.
 

bryn0076

macrumors member
Apr 3, 2010
66
74
BNE
It's a great idea that I would love to see succeed, I feel they've missed the sweet-spot with their pricing...
 
  • Like
Reactions: rjp1
Register on MacRumors! This sidebar will go away, and you'll see fewer ads.