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Hollywood studios roll out $30 on-demand rentals for new titles


If you think paying $8-per-month for a streaming-only Netflix subscription isn’t worth the money, then you’re going to hate this new plan by some of Hollywood’s largest studios.

According to Variety, Warner Bros, Sony, Universal and 20th Century Fox have all signed on to to launch a “premium” video on-demand” service that would offer up movies just after their run in theaters, but before they’ve made it to DVD or other on-demand services, for the whopping price of $30 per rental.

The service, known as Home Premium, will reportedly debut at the end of April on DirectTV, providing access to its nearly 20 million customers. Comcast cable subscribers in “certain cities” will also have access to the service “for an undisclosed period of time,” Variety reports.

First on the roster is the film “Unknown” from Warner Bros and Sony’s new Adam Sandler comdey “Just go With It.” Each film offered through Home Premium will only be available for two or three days.

While $30 may seem an exorbitant cost to pay for a video rental, the studios seem pleased with the plan. Warner Bros, Universal and Fox have already warded off Netflix and Redbox, preventing them from offering their films though on-demand distribution until 28 days after the movie becomes available on DVD.

Not everyone’s happy with the plan, however. Theater owners argue that making the films available via on-demand so soon after their theatrical debut will hurt the already struggling theater market.

“These plans fundamentally alter the economic relationship between exhibitors, filmmakers and producers, and the studios taking part in this misguided venture,” said the National Association of Theater Owners in a statement on Thursday.

Films will be made available through Home Premium 60 days after their theatrical run. This is more than fair to theater owners, say the studios, because most of their money made on a film comes in during the first three months of the film’s run.

Whether or not customers will be willing to drop $30 — more than the cost of two tickets to see the film in a theater — on a home rental remains to be seen.

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