question of the day: Would you pay $40 to watch a new movie at home?

Sony has a new plan to… I dunno what. And they don’t seem to know, either. The most likely upshot of this idea would seem to be getting movie consumers laughing in their face. BusinessWeek has the details:

[O]wners of the Sony’s Internet-connected Bravia TV could pay as much as $40 to watch a movie that would be streamed over the Internet to their set, says one person familiar with the Sony presentation. The concept is similar to one Sony tested last fall, when it made the Sony-released film Hancock, which stars Will Smith as a bumbling superhero, available to Bravia owners with an online connection for their TV sets. Sony charged $9.99 for a 24-hour viewing period (the streaming started whenever you wanted during that period) for a two-week period from Oct. 28 to Nov. 10—after the film’s July 2 release in movie theaters, but two weeks before its DVD release. Sony also mailed a free Blu-ray DVD of the movie to those who signed up.

Cuz paying 40 bucks is almost exactly like paying 10 bucks and getting a blu-ray as a bonus.

Industry experts have speculated for years that there is a market of people who would pay a fairly steep price to see movies at home before they’re available on DVD. With rising theater prices making an outing ever more expensive, families might gather with friends in their living rooms. That said, the audience could be very limited.

What? They actually think this makes sense? Their logic is tortured:

“The fact that this $40 pay-per-view model has worked for major sporting events suggests that there may be an opportunity for a handful of films every year—event films and franchises with the same young male demo as sports would be good bets,” says Tom Adams, whose firm Adams Media Research analyzes trends for the film industry.

What? Because people will pay $40 to watch an event that otherwise they’d have to get on a plane to get to, and then pay probably at least $40 to get a seat at — if the event isn’t sold out — they will willingly pay $40 for a movie they can see in their own neighborhood one-quarter that price?

What are these people on?

Would you pay $40 to watch a new movie at home?

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Mon, Aug 31, 2009 11:32am

Wow, um, no. Not even if it was available at home at the same time as it was in theaters–which is the only way I can see that even being a remotely viable plan.

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 11:47am

Cuz paying 40 bucks is almost exactly like paying 10 bucks and getting a blu-ray as a bonus.

Well, it is if you have four people watching it, especially if everyone chips in equally on the cost, and it only gets cheaper the more people you have. Got some new movie, and got a group of five or six people or more going to see it? You’d actually save money.

It’s not like a theater, they have no way to know or control how many people one $40 ticket admits.

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 11:50am

Forty dollars? No. For myself, no more than $15–what I’d pay for a matinee and refreshments. However, a family of four can easily spend $70+ for a night out at the movies, so forty dollars might be a steal for them. But if streaming a “new” movie at home meant having to wait until the two weeks before it hit home video, what’s the point? Netflix, a $5-6 24-hour digital cable rental, or just buying the Blu-ray is the better deal.

Lanna Lee Maheux-Quinn
Mon, Aug 31, 2009 12:14pm

No. If I wanted to watch my movies at home, I’d watch them all on DVD.

I go to the movie theatre to see everything on the Big Screen.

We don’t have a home theatre system that rivals the movie theatre. If we did I might think differently, but I doubt it.

Les Carr
Les Carr
Mon, Aug 31, 2009 12:33pm

I would pay top dollar to see a “new” and “exciting” film at home. E.g. District 9 will be released on Friday in the UK, and I will end up paying £40 to see it at our local multiplex; I would happily give that money directly to Sony to see it at home – at the start of its cinema release, or even a couple of days before. Not after – not when everyone’s already seen it and it’s no longer an “event”.

Which films would I be willing to shell out my hard-earned cash for? Why, the ones that MAJ told me to!

Les Carr
Les Carr
Mon, Aug 31, 2009 12:41pm

I already feel embarrassed that I am going to have to admit to my grandchildren that we used to have to drive to a barn and queue up to watch movies. The day when I can watch the latest releases from the comfort of my own 72″ plasma screen just can’t come quickly enough for me.

Perhaps I wouldn’t feel this way if our local multiplex put more effort into audiovisual quality than it does its Ben and Jerrys concession.

PS Am typing this into a 1-inch wide form in the left hand adbar because the new MT4 layout isn’t respected by Safari 3 on the family iMac.

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 12:54pm

$40 for one movie? No way, Jose.

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 2:18pm

Some of my movie experiences of the last few years may make it possible for me to entertain the idea (as long as there is a group of people watching.) Theater going has become unappealing as rude people talk, bring crying children, talk on the cell phone, and, in one terrible night, start a huge fight. Not to mention various problems w/ sound and film quality.

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 4:23pm

Um, no. Because I am Teh Cheap.

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 6:35pm

This is particularly strange when you can already watch Amazon Video On Demand titles on your Bravia TV … and those you can buy (and thus rewatch indefinitely) for $10-$15 and rent for $2-$3.

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 6:55pm

I bet a significant number of people would be willing to pay that much or even more to see a movie well BEFORE it was available to the general public in any other way; for example a chance to see Inglourious Basterds or Antichrist sometime between their Cannes debut and their stateside releases. But I don’t think this is what the execs are planning, for a zillion different reasons.

Mon, Aug 31, 2009 11:34pm

Well hey, listen: if you have a nice enough TV and a big enough living room, and you could invite some friends over and watch the new Batman with some pizza and beers on the day it comes to theaters, you wouldn’t do it?

I’d be all over that.

And for families with a couple kids? You take 2 adults and 3 kids to the theater and you’ve spent over $40 already just on tickets!!

This is a fabulous idea, and the only thing I don’t like about it is that I don’t have Bravia tv.

Tue, Sep 01, 2009 5:23am

I think now watching movies online is much convenient than other options… there are so many websites which provide great list of various genre movies like

Tue, Sep 01, 2009 9:57am

God, the whole point of the movies is they get me out of the house. I watch enough movies on my ordinary, not-special TV and my computer screen (thank you, Netflix). I would never pay $40 to stay home and watch more… even if, technically, that would save money, since I go with my husband and thus spend $20 on tickets, often $5 on snacks, and at least $30 on babysitting. It’s an outing. You can’t stay in for it.

Tue, Sep 01, 2009 10:21pm

Hell to the no.

These people are on crack, right?