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For $20K You Can Watch Theater Movies at Home

By - Source: The Wall Street Journal | B 57 comments

How much are you willing to pay to not have to sit next to the guy with the annoyingly loud laugh?

Going to the cinema is not an experience everyone enjoys. While there are some very strict no smoking rules to ensure you don't get stuck sat next to someone puffing away on a cigar, things aren't exactly on the up and up when it comes to pleasant cinema-going experiences. The tickets and food are more expensive than ever, there always seems to be a guy next to you filming snippets on his phone for no good reason, and then there are the inevitable talkers, bratty kids and texters. It's enough to make you want to stay at home and wait for whatever movie you're there to see to hit Netflix or Blockbuster.

Well, the wealthy need wait no more.  What if you could pay $20,000 to watch movies that are currently in theatres from the comfort of your own home? Prima Cinema Inc. is proposing a service that would bring movie fanatics the same titles as theatre-goers but in their home. However, with a base price of $20,000, the service isn't going to be cheap. Yes, you heard that right, that's a base price. Aside from the $20,000 it's going to cost to buy into the service, you'll be charged $500 for every movie you watch.

While it might seem completely bonkers, the LA-based company has approximately $5 million in backing from the venture arm of Best Buy and General Electric's Universal Picture. They hope to start delivering movies to customers as soon as a year from now.

Charging people a premium to watch first-run movies at home might seem like a great idea, but such a huge asking price is probably going to hurt Prima Cinema's adoption rate. The Wall Street Journal reports that the company wants to be in 250,000 living rooms by 2015. However, we can't imagine there's a quarter of a million people willing to pay $500 per month, on top of an initial $20,000 payment for Prima's 'digital delivery system.' Going to the movies is bad, but it's not that bad.

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  • 16 Hide
    bob_white , December 10, 2010 2:56 AM
    Why not just buy out every seat in the theater
  • 13 Hide
    Gigahertz20 , December 10, 2010 3:59 AM
    Just think of the quality of pirated movies coming out as soon as the movie hits theaters if this happens.
  • 10 Hide
    americanherosandwich , December 10, 2010 4:22 AM
    Sweet! I can now start pitching my idea about bringing movie theater popcorn to sell at these people's homes. $350 for a small, $375 for a medium, and $400 for a large with a free refill!
Other Comments
  • 16 Hide
    bob_white , December 10, 2010 2:56 AM
    Why not just buy out every seat in the theater
  • 3 Hide
    gzhang11 , December 10, 2010 3:06 AM
    bob_whiteWhy not just buy out every seat in the theater


    thats a good idea, but considering there are over 400 seats in most theaters it would end up costing about the same as the premium service in the long run.
  • 5 Hide
    Travis Beane , December 10, 2010 3:08 AM
    bob_whiteWhy not just buy out every seat in the theater

    You should see the state of the screens at all of my local theatres.
    I'd rather wait for it to come to DVD. I very rarely go to a theatre.

    People who laugh loudly or scream constantly, talking on phones, texting, crunching on food etc., I can barely stand it. I prefer the comfort of my futon and 23" monitor.
  • 8 Hide
    kinggraves , December 10, 2010 3:09 AM
    I have a service that allows me to watch any movie before it's even out in theaters, it's called a torrent, and it doesn't cost me 500 dollars. Thankfully for them, Hollywood doesn't put out any movies that are worth being in a rush to watch, so they need not worry about piracy.
  • 0 Hide
    oxxfatelostxxo , December 10, 2010 3:16 AM
    i think that would cost you closer to 1000 a movie or more, plus no movie theater i know of will let you reserve the whole thing on opening day.
  • 4 Hide
    BladeVenom , December 10, 2010 3:25 AM
    You can get a private screening cheaper than $500. So this sounds like a Fail.
  • 5 Hide
    bak0n , December 10, 2010 3:32 AM
    If they give you the rights to sell seats for the movie then it might not be a bad idea :p 
  • 13 Hide
    Gigahertz20 , December 10, 2010 3:59 AM
    Just think of the quality of pirated movies coming out as soon as the movie hits theaters if this happens.
  • 3 Hide
    rohitbaran , December 10, 2010 4:00 AM
    Quote:
    Charging people a premium to watch first-run movies at home might seem like a great idea, but such a huge asking price is probably going to hurt Prima Cinema's adoption rate

    Kind of sums it up.
  • 10 Hide
    americanherosandwich , December 10, 2010 4:22 AM
    Sweet! I can now start pitching my idea about bringing movie theater popcorn to sell at these people's homes. $350 for a small, $375 for a medium, and $400 for a large with a free refill!
  • 4 Hide
    skine , December 10, 2010 5:24 AM
    Given that there are 8 million millionaires in the US, I don't really think they'll have that much trouble getting 250,000 (about 3%) to bite.

    Their target customer is the type who already has theater-quality equipment in their home, not your average American household.
  • 3 Hide
    distanted , December 10, 2010 6:41 AM
    I'm pessimistic that most of the people who have the kind of cash to spend $500 on a single movie 1) have two hours of free time to watch Hot Tub Time Machine 2) wouldn't see a $25 Blu-Ray six months later as the smarter investment.

    But, maybe I just don't want to imagine that there's 250,000 people in my country that have nothing better to do with their money than to pay $500 for a first-run movie, on top of the $20,000 cover charge, while I have to run a cost assessment of feeding my daughter's Christmas hamster over the next three years.
  • 0 Hide
    joe nate , December 10, 2010 7:32 AM
    I hope that I can start a company that will allow me to have everyone pay me $100 dollars every time I fart, belch, or say the word "is" by 2012.

    Sounds about as realistic as their business plan.
  • 1 Hide
    RisnDevil , December 10, 2010 8:24 AM
    I agree that what this will primarily do is make pirated movies that much better. And sadly, I think there are enough people with oppulent sums of money that this will easily reach their targeted install base.
  • 5 Hide
    fergie , December 10, 2010 8:47 AM
    I can't believe this goes on in cinemas. In England everyone sits quietly and you certainly wouldn't see someone using a phone. you'd be chucked out for any of those things. sounds like there are lots of disrespectful bastards out there.
  • 0 Hide
    rickl7069 , December 10, 2010 9:01 AM
    Well, If I was Multi-multi millionaire, 500 for first run doesn't actually seem that bad. After all, the super rich would dump more than that for a bottle of dinner wine. The only bite is the buy in, but that's just a one time fee.
    I don't see a problem selling this.
  • 0 Hide
    g00ey , December 10, 2010 10:05 AM
    But there are some theaters that offer VIP seats that have a higher comfort standard and you can even get drinks while you watch the movie...
  • 0 Hide
    alidan , December 10, 2010 10:32 AM
    gzhang11thats a good idea, but considering there are over 400 seats in most theaters it would end up costing about the same as the premium service in the long run.


    within 75 miles of where i am there is 1 theater that is worth going to. it charges 16$ an adult and close to 30 a 3d movie. there are about 500 seats to amy worth watching movie, thats anywhere from 8000 to 15000 a movie, and with at least 4 movies worth seeing a year, thats 32000 or 60000.

    now lwt me pitch this idea.lets convert a multiples movie theater into a private screening cinema. some rooms give you 4 seats, some rooms give you 20 and you pay 100$ baseline for the room and 25 for a movie per seat. the 100$ covers a 30 minute cleaning after you leave, and pay for power

    with the rooms having a 50-100inch projector, 1080p and a mid range computer would be all thats necessary, and give them nice 7.1 speakers. you could fill a 15 screen theater into about 100 of said rooms, and people would pay that much for private screenings, and the lesser size would be acceptable because of what they are getting.

    or how about skip thearters alltogeather, and sell an on demand package for 50$ and let people rent any non blockbuster movie the moment it comes out, because most people wont spend that much money to see it in thearters, but would if its a day long at home experiance.
  • 0 Hide
    hixbot , December 10, 2010 10:36 AM
    I assume the movies come with 4k resolution, or else it wouldn't be worth it.
  • 0 Hide
    millerm84 , December 10, 2010 12:59 PM
    Personally my 50in Plasma and a Bluray player seems like a better option. $20-25 for new releases, or just rent from Netfilx for $15/month, and I don't have to put up with crap in the theater. Last movie I went to the theater for was Harry Potter me an my wife waited a full week and went to a late Monday night show to avoid the tweener teenie-boppers and their phones. Now if I could just convince my wife that staying home with a new disc was better then fighting the movie crowd I'd be set.

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