Still-in-cinema movie rentals may be available within a year

Going to the cinema is great – a huge screen, a great soundsystem, the latest releases ready to feast your eyes upon. But then there's the queues. And the chatty teenagers. And the overpriced food. And the inability to pause what's going on to nip out to the toilet after drinking a bucket of coke. 

As home cinema setups have got better, many have longed for the ability to take current cinema releases home for rental instead. And, according to a Bloomberg report, that may soon be a possibility.

According to Stacey Snider, Fox studio chief, talks have "started to coalesce around a concept" that would see films still in cinemas available at home, in as soon as six to 12 months time.

Negotiations needed

There are still details to be hammered out of course, and they remain the same concerns that have forever surrounded the idea.

Timing and pricing are the sticking points. Snider states that a likely charge will be somewhere "less than $50", though the likes of Apple TV and Comcast would be looking to have that considerably lower – somewhere nearer $30. [That may seem a lot for a movie rental, but consider the ability to cram your home with 10 or so pals that would otherwise have paid for an individual cinema ticket.]

As for release timings, the aim would be to have rentals available within the window of a theatrical run. And again, the rental services would prefer this sooner, while cinemas would rather later. 

It's cinemas of course with the most to lose here, with bums on seats the key revenue driver for them in a world where piracy and home releases are still eating into their profits. But the spectre of day-and-date piracy is also a huge concern for the studios pumping hundreds of millions of dollars into big releases, and this may be just the kind of quality incentive to turn some pirates away from their illegal activities.

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