What you need to know
- You can now rent some films still in theaters.
- NBCUniversal is the first to try this new market.
- Rentals are $20 per movie.
With movie theaters shutting down across the US and much of the world due to the COVID-19 pandemic movie studios are scrambling to save their existing and planned new movie launches. Earlier this week, one studio – NBCUniversal – is using the opportunity to offer early rentals of new movies.
The concept is the same: pay money, rent a digital film that you can stream to any of your devices. But price-wise, it's very different.
Seeing as these are movies that are out in theaters now, or about to come out the rentals cost $19.99 (£15.99 in the UK), which is about 4x the usual cost. However, when you factor in the price of an actual movie ticket and add multiple people to that tally, $20 could be cheaper. It's certainly more convenient.
Trolls World Tour (DreamWorks Animation) is set to release on April 10th both in theaters (where available) and through Home Premiere on the same day.
Last weekend, Disney released that latest Star Wars film "The Rise of Skywalker" early to take advantage of many people under quarantine.
Update: Disney/Pixar have also released for purchase (not rent) the new children's movie Onward for $20.
But starting today, the Microsoft Store (and other digital outfits) are offering three films that are still out in theaters, including:
- The Invisible Man (opens in new tab)
- The Hunt (opens in new tab)
- Emma. (opens in new tab)
- Onward (opens in new tab) (Disney, buy)
Microsoft's same rental agreement applies to Home Premier: you have 14 days to watch the movie at any time, and once started, you have 24 hours to finish it.
It's uncertain if other movie studios will follow NBCUniveral, but this is a clear first step in what could be a permanent change to the "movie-going experience." Many theaters are unlikely to re-open after the pandemic due to the enormously high costs of running those properties. And for those that do re-open it's unclear if crowds of people will flock back to sit in a crowded room with the threat of contagion still existing.
Putting that aside, for those who have had a crazy week, you at least have a few more options to keep yourself entertained if under lock and key.
Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.
Does this work the same as movies anywhere? If I rent this on the Microsoft store can I watch it on amazon, Vudu, etc on my xbox or tv?
Nope, that only applies to owning the movie, not renting.
Interesting idea. Seems expensive at first, but if you have multiple people watching and factor in much cheaper food and drink options, it's not so bad. I hope it succeeds, just because options are good.
I hope it succeeds, I'd rent new movies for that price. I haven't been to a theater since The Matrix Revolutions was in theaters.
I was 3 then and now I'm adult enrolled for voting. Proud of whoever you are! Not a lot of people can stay away from going to a theatre that long.
As someone who's been into home theater for a while, this is amazing. For the most part, my family and I don't see movies in theaters, but we wait until disc or streaming rentals/purchases. I've been aware of some extremely expensive new release movie streaming services targeted towards the "rich and famous", but this situation with the Coronavirus seems to be triggering some new trends. Having newer movies rentable at a "reasonable" price (i.e. roughly two adult tickets or less) is pretty cool. More expensive than a later rental, sure, but less than watching in a theater all things considered.
All this means is Usenet and torrent sites will get better quality movies to download at the same time as theatrical release.
£15.99, the price of two cinema tickets roughly. For someone on their own this is overpriced, but for a watch party of maybe 3 people splitting the cost it's ok. I wouldn't pay that much for a digital film that I only watch once
This is a great idea, although adding multiple people to the movie isn't the best scenario right now. They should do what Disney did with Onward. Give you the option to buy it as well. Like just go ahead and put it out there. Some movies I want to buy right away. I don't rent or go to the movies really so buying should also be a staple point.
There have hardly been any movies out this year worth seeing. Certainly nothing that's out now.
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