Apple Planning to Offer Movie Rentals Few Weeks After Theatrical Release


Citing people familiar with the matter, a Bloomberg report is claiming that leading Hollywood movie studios, including Warner Bros. and Universal Pictures, are in talks with Apple and Comcast on ways to push ahead with the idea of offering digital rentals of films mere weeks after they appear in theaters, even without the approval of theater chains.


The publication notes that after months of negotiations, the two sides have been unable to arrive at a mutually beneficial way to create a $30 to $50 premium movie-download product. With the exception of Walt Disney, all Hollywood studios are eager to introduce a new product to make up for declining sales of DVDs and other home entertainment in the age of Netflix.

Movie studios are also open to sharing a split of the revenue from premium video on demand (PVOD), with the cinema chains if they give their blessing to the concept. However, theater chains have demanded a long-term commitment of as much as 10 years for that revenue split, which the studios have not yet accetpted.

Deals with potential distributors such as Apple and Comcast could be reached as soon as early next year to sell digital downloads of major films as soon as two weeks after they debut in theaters, the people said. Comcast, the largest U.S. cable provider, is also the owner of Universal Pictures.

Unless studios definitively decide against a PVOD window, exhibitor shares will remain under pressure, said Michael Pachter, an analyst at Wedbush Securities Inc. “They can’t recover because there will be the specter that it’s imminent,” he said.

All movie studios and theater chains have negotiated independently because of antitrust rules.


  • If they offer them in 4K with lossless audio, I’d definitely be game. Heck, even 1080p with lossless audio would make me happy. (I care more about the audio quality than the video quality. The video quality on iTunes downloads is already quite good.)

    Unfortunately, this is probably one of those things that would take a while to filter through to Canada.

  • My 1/2 cents

    Ha. And Trump plans to be president for a long time. Talk about

  • My 1/2 cents

    You do know that it’s streaming video not an album? Most of us care about video quality with acceptable audio.

  • Well, it’s streaming video AND audio. Pretty much every movie I know also has audio that plays along with the video. I’m aware that most people care more about the video quality of a movie than the audio quality, to the extent that many people just watch through their TV speakers. I’m not most people.

    I would rather watch a movie on a 37″ 720p display with amazing sound quality than watch a movie on a 65″ 4K TV with the sound playing through the TV speakers ANY day. I prefer watching movies at home instead of going to the theatre because it sounds better in my home. I just love audio, and watching a movie with lossless audio vs compressed audio makes a huge difference to me (I just bought a new $800 Blu-ray player because it has better audio quality than my old one). Lossless audio on Blu-rays is the reason I prefer to buy Blu-rays instead of purchasing movies on iTunes or watching the Netflix stream.

    So if they could give me that quality at home in a downloadable format, I’d definitely pay to watch movies that way over visiting the theatre, even if it sounded like a crazy high price like $20 to rent or $60 to buy. I know most people aren’t like me, which is why I thought I’d share my opinion.

  • TurdInator

    People like you doubted he could be president in the first place.

  • My 1/2 cents

    Yes….and that’s why the world is turning into sheet. Too many stupid people making decisions.