I miss movie theaters. As someone who hasn’t been inside a theater in well over a year (NYC theaters just opened a few weeks ago), I’m ready to sit on a creaky chair, ruin my posture, and snack on some salty popcorn. I even miss paying an absurd price for a ticket, which ranges from $13-$17 depending on the theater.
Let’s focus on price for a second. In most situations, theaters were closed due to the pandemic so studios either released straight to VOD or delayed the release. Because of this, many studios skipped the theatrical experience in favor of video on demand for a premium price of $19.99.
After I paid $19.99 to rent The King of Staten Island last June, my dad said, “$19.99? Expensive movie!” Is twenty dollars an absurd price to pay for a movie at home?
If you’re an average person, then you’re probably not shelling out the money to pay for a premium movie when there are hundreds of movies to choose from on services like Netflix, Amazon, Disney+, Hulu, etc. Throw in the fact that streaming services also provide binge-worthy TV shows like The Office and many moviegoers are passing on a $19.99 movie.
What if the movie was from Marvel or Star Wars? What if Leonardo DiCaprio says the hell with Apple TV+ and releases Killers of the Flower Moon straight to VOD for $24.99? What are you willing to pay for giant blockbusters with popular IP and star power?
This question will be put to the test with Black Widow, which will release in theaters July 9 and on Disney+ with Premier Access, which comes with a $30 rental fee. So in addition to a Disney+ subscription, subscribers will need to pay $30 to access Black Widow if they want to watch it at home. If not, then they can see it in a theater.
Will I pay $30 for Black Widow?
Probably not, but that’s because I will see it in a theater. However, if I want to watch the film with a group of friends or family members, I might elect to watch it on Disney+ since the $30 price split between a few people will be less than a movie ticket.
The Black Widow new got me thinking about the future of premium VOD and rentals. What would I be willing to spend to watch a movie I desperately wanted to see? Is there a price that’s too high?
To test this theory, I ran down some highly-anticipated movies that either just came out or will come out in the future and determined how much I would pay to watch them at home. Since I’m the only one answering, I’m paying full price for the movie and watching it alone for this hypothetical. I’m not factoring in the split cost of watching with other people.
Black Widow – $19.99
$19.99 might be expensive for indies or a mid-budget film, but for a Marvel movie with a rumored budget of $200m, $19.99 is a fair asking price for Black Widow. If theaters weren’t open, then I would pay the $30. In fact, if I could own Black Widow, I’d easily pay the $30. But since it’s only a rental, $30 is a bit steep for one guy.
Tenet – $19.99
There’s no test involved here because I bought Tenet for $19.99. Inversion!
Dune – $30
Let’s pretend you had to pay a premium price for Dune instead of watching on HBO Max. Dune is one of my most anticipated movies in 2021. With a stellar cast and Denis Villeneuve (one of my favorite directors) at the helm, I’m willing to pay at least $30 for this sci-fi epic. More worms, more money.
F9 – $50
It’s hard to put a price on your family, and Dominic Toretto is my brother. I’ve waited four years for my Fast & Furious family to return to theaters. I’d pay $50 right now to watch one of my favorite franchises tear up the (TV) screen.
No Time To Die – $100 or more
I lied. I pay $100 for No Time to Die. I need Bond back in my life. Also, shoutout to me for this analysis. Spot on?
How much money would you pay to watch a movie at home? Leave your thoughts in the comments or tweet us, @unafraidshow.