For years and years I’ve wished that we had the option of watching movies at home the day they arrived in theaters. There are a few movies I must see in the theater, particularly with my Marvel-movie crew, but, for the most part, I thought I’d be happy to pay a little extra and sit on my own couch with a new release.
With the COVID-19 outbreak, my wish has come true, but under conditions that are absolutely dreadful.
As it turns out, I was fooling myself in regards to happily paying a little extra for new movies at home.
Let me clarify.
True, I would gladly pay for the kids movies because I’m fortunate enough to be able to spend a little extra if it brings my children some kind of escapism for a few hours. I offered to pay for Onward–they responsibly said they could wait for it to come to Disney Plus. I offered to get Emma–they weren’t that interested. The Call Of the Wild–they didn’t care to see it. Trolls World Tour–nope.
Well, okay then.
That then leaves the movies that I want to see. The Gentlemen–can only buy it for $14.99. The Way Back–can only buy it for $19.99.
I don’t want to own these movies. And, as it turns out, my price point for renting is probably around $9.99, even for brand new films. I see that some of the older Amazon Prime Cinema films are starting to lower their prices. Movies like Harley Quinn: Birds of Prey has lowered its price to around $5. I’m sure that makes it far more appealing to the casual viewer and I think they’ll make more money in the long run (under these strange conditions) by using that strategy. Yet, The Hunt and The Invisible Man are still hovering around $19.99. There’s just no way I’ll pay that much to rent a movie I don’t want to see that badly, and I don’t think most other people will, either. There’s plenty for me to watch on Netflix, Disney Plus, and Amazon Prime Video.
I feel awful for the average workers in Hollywood. My unwillingness to pay $20 for a movie rental/purchase directly impacts them–I’m sure of it. The actors and the directors are probably going to be okay, but the regular folks are losing work as Hollywood halts production.
What would I be wiling to pay $20 for? Those are the movies that are being delayed. Mulan, Black Widow, James Bond: No Time To Die, Wonder Woman: 1984, Top Gun: Maverick, GhostBusters: Afterlife, Morbius, A Quiet Place: Part II, The New Mutants–these are all movies that have been postponed that I would have rented the day they came out. Would I have paid more than $20? Probably not, which is why they are being delayed. They could lose out on a huge international box office if they went directly to Video On-Demand.
So what are the lessons here? First, be careful what you wish for. Second, I’m far cheaper than even I realized.
I hope you’re all staying safe. I hope everyone can get back on their feet soon. And I hope all those people who work behind the camera in Hollywood are being taken care of.