In one of his swashbuckling summertime adventures, Indiana Jones searched for the elusive Holy Grail. Movie studios are on their own search for the celluloid equivalent: day-and-date release. According to a Reuters story, Comcast's
Studios like Disney
Theaters quite understandably hate day-and-date, since it would conceivably cut into their business. Comcast's suggested price-point range is quite fascinating, though. Individual moviegoers would generally scoff at paying $30 for a film, while families would more readily perceive a value. It can easily cost parents $30-$40 at the very least to visit a movie auditorium and concession stand with a few kids in tow.
Getting theater operators such as Regal Entertainment
For instance, I remember reading some years ago about the idea of debuting a movie on pay-per-view for one night right before it opened in multiplexes as a way of capturing more revenue and promoting the weekend release. Again, theaters despise this, but imagine if Comcast ran the upcoming Pirates of the Caribbean sequel simultaneously for only the first weekend on cable, or maybe three weekends out, as part of a kind of revenue-sharing deal.
One thing I do wonder is this: Which studio would actually have the guts to go through with Comcast's model? Seriously, would Disney collapse the window entirely for Pirates? If studios really want to go for this, then they would have to try it on their biggest blockbusters, because those tentpole pics would probably make the most sense since there would be so much interest on both sides of the consumer aisle -- those who enjoy getting out among people and going to cinemas, and those who like to isolate themselves in a cocoon and gloat over their epic home theater systems.
We'll get to day-and-date eventually. I'm glad Comcast is injecting itself into this debate, as I look forward to the day when we can see how consumers react to it.
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Fool contributor Steven Mallas owns shares of Disney. As of this writing, he was ranked 4,027 out of 28,542 investors in the CAPS system. Don't know what CAPS is? Check it out. The Fool has a disclosure policy.