Most of us are familiar with the process of seeing a movie advertised, thinking “I’ll wait for the rental,” and waiting for what seems like forever until it’s available to watch at home. Apple is reportedly in talks with a number of Hollywood studios that are looking to change that by offering rentals for movies that are still in theaters, according to a report by Bloomberg.
Companies including 21st Century Fox, Warner Bros, and Universal Pictures have all confirmed recently that they are looking to offer premium rentals for films still in their theatrical runs. Some have even said that they would be open to offering movies for rent as soon as two weeks after they premiere in theaters.
Sources say that companies are considering Apple and its iTunes platform for multiple reasons — the store’s popularity and encrypted files among them, though they could end up going with someone else. Piracy is a major problem with films in theaters already, and early rentals could make this even worse. While there isn’t much of a way to stop someone from pointing a camera at the TV, the encrypted files could at least keep the releases from instantly finding their way on to torrent sites.
While piracy could be a problem with early releases, it is also part of what is spurring the studios to offer early rentals at all. When a customer who either doesn’t want to or can’t go to a theater has no other option than piracy, it becomes an easy decision. If, on the other hand, a rental is available, this could be enough to deter that potential piracy.
Of course, these rentals wouldn’t be the same price as the $3 or $4 rentals consumers are used to seeing for releases that have been around for some time. Instead, rentals could cost anywhere from $25 to $50. This might be a deal breaker for some people, but if you can’t stand the crowds of a theater and want to see that hot new release, it could be worth it, especially if you split the cost among a few friends.