Apple Wants To Rent New-Release Movies

By December 10, 2016
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Audiences who would rather watch the latest Hollywood blockbuster from the comfort of their living room instead of venturing out to a crowded theater may find their wishes coming true in the near future.

Apple is negotiating with several major studios, according to Bloomberg, with the hopes of bringing new-release video rentals to iTunes as early as two weeks after their theatrical opening.

Twentieth Century Fox, Warner Bros. and Universal all have confirmed they’re exploring options for higher-priced video rentals that would be available shortly after a film’s opening date, and Apple’s offer is one of several that is being considered. If a deal comes together, Apple could find itself with a significant advantage over rival digital streaming services.

While a 90-day theatrical exclusive is commonplace in the film industry, declining home video sales and diminishing returns at the box office – especially for smaller films – are said to be two of the key factors in these negotiations. The option of viewing a new release without leaving the house could offer a chance for more niche films to reach a wider audience and generate a bigger return on investment, which also could make studios less reliant on blockbuster tentpole releases.

Of course, one of the biggest hurdles is the encryption technology. Piracy is an ever-present threat to the film industry, and some studio executives are balking at the idea of making new releases available on a device whose encryption could potentially be broken.

This could make Apple a less-attractive option than some of its competitors, as the current encryption utilized by iTunes is difficult to crack, but certainly not impossible.

The cost to get a movie this way could cost between $25 to $50 per feature, the business outlet reported.

Despite several theater chains staunchly opposing the idea of a smaller theatrical window – and in some cases refusing to screen films that are available via online rental – sources indicate a service of this type is likely to be available within the next 18 months.

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Brent Hankins

Brent Hankins

Contributing Writer at GeekNation
Brent Hankins is a member of the Phoenix Critics Circle and co-host of the Drinks and Discourse podcast. He's also the proud owner of an Italian Greyhound named Sullivan. He's adorable (the dog, not the author).