There's been a lot of handwringing and teethgnashing about the future of movies, specifically with the advent of piracy and all the new ways in which we watch movies. Yesterday came the latest attempt by a studio to find that sweet spot that will maximize profits.
Summit dropped a press release announcing that they'll making "Source Code" available on-demand Friday, July 8, 2011, two weeks before offering it for sale on DVD or Blu-ray:
“As the way a consumer’s consumption of feature films evolves, we are always looking for new ways that meet these demands,” said Steve Nickerson, President, Summit Home Entertainment. “While we are optimistic about the consumer appetite for this type of home entertainment release pattern, we are only conducting a test in this case and not making an overall policy shift at this time. Once the results are in we will analyze the data and see what the consumer has to say.”
To which we say, Hey, why not? As much as we love movies, we've long been puzzled by people buying them. You can listen to a good Radiohead album a few hundred times, but how often are you gonna watch "Saving Private Ryan"?
And with today's technology--streaming video, super cheap hard drives, iPads, smart phones, TiVo--owning a disc with a movie baked into it makes even less sense.
More important is the inevitable future of media storage and dissemination. Apple, Amazon and the rest are already offering cloud storage, which, like hard drives, will plummet in price thanks to Moore's Law. And eventually rather than all of us putting our individual copies of "Spurce Code" into the could, we'll buy access to one copy that everyone shares access to.
Finally, "Source Code" is a great choice for trying this experiment. It's an OK movie that fell short of being really good, and was a disappointment at the box office. But there are no doubt a few hundred thousand people who'd be interested in watching it on-demand, but would never think to buy it--unless they spotted it in the overstock bin at Target.