Movies have always been considered an affordable luxury, but with prices at $15.99 for one adult ticket in New York City, the word “affordable” is an iffy one.
And if Sean Parker, co-founder of Napster, has his way, movie tickets will cost $50.
In exchange for that wallet-whacking fee, you will be able to see the film in the privacy of your own home. Not just independent movies, mind. Parker wants to sell you blockbuster releases, via a $150 unhackable set-top box.
But first, he has to sell the concept to studios such as Fox, Sony and Universal. He may. Parker’s company, called the Screening Room, plans to entice Hollywood by offering a cut of that $50 (up to $20). Variety writes that some studios are interested (not, alas, Marvel), and currently the Screening Room is in negotiations.
That’s great for the studios. But what about the average viewer, who may or may not be able to spare $50?
Obviously, your mileage varies. But here are some points to consider:
- Are you watching the film with friends? Film night for three costs $47.97 here in New York. Pool your money together, and you can watch it with your bros and besties. Or are you watching the film by your lonesome, and money actually is an object?
- Do you like the idea of sitting in a theater with several hundred like-minded people, all cheering together? Or do you dread the cell phone that inevitably rings at the worst possible moment?
- Do you have a sound system that would make employees of Skywalker Ranch gnash their teeth in envy? Or are you planning on watching those epic special effects on a tiny monitor?
As for me, if given the opportunity, I would absolutely spend $50 to watch Batman v. Superman in my own home—after pooling my money with a few friends, that is. Why? Because tickets can be hard to come by when the entire city wants to see the same film on opening night. For the release of a smaller independent movie, it would just be movie-going business as usual.
Ultimately, I could see myself using the service two or three times a year. But that means the cost of the $150 set-top box might not be worth it to me.
So if you have a friend in New York City who purchases the Screening Room, let me know. I would be interested in kicking in a couple of bucks to see a movie with them … once every few months.