updated 06:25 pm EDT, Wed October 12, 2011
Universal backs off of same-as-theater rental plan
Universal has quietly dropped its plans for $60 same-day-as-theaters movie rentals. The test, which would have started with the November 4 release of Tower Heist, was shelved after movie theater chains threatened to withdraw the regular movie. It would have had minimal impact with just Atlanta and Portland having the option.
Although the price is roughly six times that of a regular movie ticket, theaters had presumed that viewers would just stay home and invite friends to split the cost. They had already objected to more conservative plans that would have seen the studio wait a month before putting the movie up for rent.
Advocates for the $60 rentals had noted that there are many with families or unusual work schedules that often simply can't make time to go to theaters or have to make sacrifices to do it.
The opposition deals a form of irony to studios, which themselves have often done as much as they can to discourage anything that jeopardizes their legacy DVD and Blu-ray sales. Universal, Starz, and others have dropped content from Netflix or have required minimum 28-day delays. iTunes and other pay-per-movie stores can often sell the full copy of a movie right away but sometimes have to delay rentals. [via AllThingsD]