Saturday, April 21, 2012

Why I will (probably) be a movie pirate

OK, here's the scoop. I'm really looking forward to The Avengers. I mean, highlight of the summer movie season, willing to go to a theater for it-level. Which I don't normally do. I watched the two Iron Man movies, and they were a blast. But I hadn't been big on the Marvel franchise in general. But now that Avengers looks so butt-kicking, I decided I need to watch the other three films in the canon over the next few weeks.

I watched Thor in late March and really liked it. So now that leaves me with the second Hulk film (the first one was pre-modern Marvel canon), and Captain America. After I watched Thor, I flipped through iTunes and thought about renting Captain America right then and there. But not having any idea when I could watch it, I decided to hold off on the rental until I knew I'd be able to watch it. This was going to be the weekend.

So yesterday I check the rental, and it's now out of rental window and only available for purchase. Sorry, not going to happen. Here's the problem to me. I don't want to own a digital copy of Captain America forever and ever. I'd really like to watch it, and I have no problem paying $4-$5 for the privilege of doing so. $20 for a forever copy, though, not gonna happen. So the oddities of the studio licensing systems (it's not iTunes' fault) are trying to push me to find an illegal source for the movie so I can watch it before I go to a theater to see the next film in the series. How does this help the movie studios?

Look, it should just be simple. You open a movie in the theater. It runs however long it runs. It then goes into a short window when you can buy it on disk or digital - about a month or so at most - and that way you can monetize the folks who either want to own it or can't wait to rent it. Then you go rental (digital and disc), and then a month or so after that you let Netflix and the other "free" streaming services have it. Plus then the TV channels can get it. Simple, effective, maximizes revenue, and as a result should cut down piracy.

Hollywood, I'd like to pay you to see Captain America this weekend. You don't seem to want my money, though.