What makes the Weinstein Company’s strategy for the “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel truly unusual is that the film is bypassing all transactional windows — from theaters to DVD sales and rentals to pay-per-view — and going straight into a subscription window.
Netflix has been successful over the years at taking advantage of the weaknesses of competing services, and based on its fourth-quarter earnings call, the company appears to be sticking with its current plan. But over time, three factors could impact the perceived value of what Netflix offers and eventually force it to shift strategies.
Moviepass, which is trying to launch a Netflix-like all-you-can-eat plan for moviegoers, is getting a second chance to launch thanks to a partnership with Hollywood Movie Money, which gives its users access to movie tickets across 36,000 screens in the U.S.
MoviePass will soon begin offering a $50 all-you-can-eat monthly subscription video plan that will let users watch any movie they want at any participating movie theater. That might help some cinephiles save money. But will it get more-casual viewers into the seats?
Hollywood studios will soon let viewers rent newish feature films from the comfort of their living rooms for $30 each. While the studios hope the new premium VOD window will stem sharp declines at the box office, there’s no guarantee the plan will work.
The film industry has performed well at the box office as of late, buoyed by 3-D releases like Avatar and Alice in Wonderland. And now Hollywood is looking to cash in even further — by raising prices for movies by as much as 10 percent. But will the increase drive people to look for cheaper entertainment elsewhere?
Beginning last Friday, movie theaters owned by national chains Regal Entertainment (s rgc), Cinemark Holdings (s cnk) and AMC Entertainment raised ticket prices an average of 8.3 percent, according to BTIG research analyst Richard Greenfield. The increase varies by movie to movie (depending on whether it is a 2-D, 3-D or 3-D IMAX print) and by theater to theater, but the bulk of it is coming from 3-D titles, which have scored big at the box office over the last year.
Growing interest in 3-D films was the top reason that Hollywood box office outperformed expectations last year, with box office receipts rising 10 percent and 3-D movies accounting for 11 percent of total box office in 2009, compared to just 2 percent in 2008. The recent success of Avatar, which has grossed about $750 million domestically, and Alice in Wonderland, which has pulled in $275 million since opening just a few weeks ago, has further pushed demand for 3-D entertainment. Read More about Is Hollywood Overestimating the Appeal of 3-D?