October 24, 2016
        Hollywood Contenders: New Oscar Predictions for October                Nicole Kidman, Hugh Grant, Naomie Harris, Lily Collins get Honors at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                "Manchester by the Sea" leads the Gotham Award nominations                Tom Ford, Marc Platt and Kenneth Lonergan to be Honored at 20th Annual Hollywood Film Awards                Tom Cruise is in his action hero comfort zone with "Jack Reacher: Never Go Back"                "Moonlight" could be A24's big Oscar horse this year                Ewan McGregor steps behind the camera with "American Pastoral"                Hollywood Contenders: A second crack at Golden Globe predictions for 2016                "The Accountant" seeks to help give Ben Affleck another blockbuster                85 countries will be competing for Best Foreign Language Feature nominations at the Oscars                Tom Hanks to receive Hollywood Actor Award for "Sully" @ Hollywood Film Awards                "Certain Women" showcases Laura Dern, Kristen Stewart, and Michelle Williams                Ben Affleck is perhaps Hollywood's biggest and most diverse superstar                "The Birth of a Nation" looks to survive controversy and contend for awards                "The Girl on the Train" hopes to transport Emily Blunt to the Oscar race        

“Tower Heist” offered on Video on Demand 3 weeks after theatrical debut

HollywoodNews.com: It could be a game-changer or could just be an irrelevant blip (it’s so hard to tell sometimes). The Los Angeles Times is reporting that Universal has announced a (very) limited test run with offering premium-priced Video On Demand for Brett Ratner’s all-star caper comedy Tower Heist (trailer) just three weeks after the film’s November 4th theatrical debut.

Long-story short, if you live in Atlanta or Portland and get your cable TV via Comcast (which now of course owns Universal), you will have the option of purchasing a (I presume) one-time viewing of the Ben Stiller/Eddie Murphy film for ‘just’ $59.99 just three weeks after the theatrical opening weekend (which I presume means the start of its fourth weekend in theaters). Other online or cable companies will allegedly have the option to offer this same service at the same time, but we’ll see if anyone else bites. The price point is obviously intended to appeal for larger families or large groups of friends who don’t have to see the newest releases right away, but don’t want to wait until DVD and the other various home-video platforms.

If you live in LA, New York City, and I presume other big cities, a first-run evening ticket is about $12. So factor in a family of four seeing an evening show is going to run them $50 alone before concessions and any parking fees are included. Even in cities where tickets still remain under $10 (less than you’d think), the bill can easily end up topping $60 when you add in family-sized refreshments and the like. The difference between this VOD offering and last Spring’s disastrous ‘Premium VOD’ is that this will offer consumers the chance to see the movie while it’s still in first run theaters and well-before it’s available on DVD and other OnDemand-type sources.

So while I can think of no one who would pay $60 to see a first-run film at home by themselves or even with another party, I do see the theoretical appeal of a bunch of friends or a larger family getting together and taking it in. What’s your thoughts? Is this another botched attempt to circumvent the theatrical experience, or does the swiftness of said debut make it a more attractive option for larger parties?

Photo by Universal Pictures

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About Scott Mendelson

Mendelson's Memos: The basics - 30 years old, married with one child, currently residing in Woodland Hills, CA. I am simply a longtime film critic and pundit of sorts, especially in the realm of box office. The main content will be film reviews, trailer reviews, essays, and box office analysis and comparison. I also syndicate myself at The Huffington Post and Open Salon. I will update as often as my schedule allows. Yes, I'm on Facebook/Twitter/LinkIn, so feel free to find me there. All comments are appreciated, just be civil and try to keep a level discourse, as I will make every effort to do the same. Read more at Mendelson's Memos:

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