Window of opportunity

Published March 29, 2020

When it was announced that we should all lock ourselves away and keep ourselves entertained within the four walls of our house, I didn’t get too carried away thinking of all the things I could achieve. It’s not like that. But I did think I might be able to blog a bit more than I have so far (read: no blogging at all).

Unfortunately, marshalling the mind towards cohesive paragraphs isn’t that easy when there’s a global apocalypse happening outside the window. What I have been managing to do is distract myself with music, movies and books, and then write about those. So that’s something.

Now I’m pushing the boat out and trying a full blog post, but only because it’s writing about films. It’s a start.

View from the window

We’re seeing unusual activity in the movie world, just like in many others, where things that weren’t thought possible have been forced into being - forever there has been no way digital streaming consumers can have movies the same time they should be in the cinemas… but lookie-what-we-have-here: Bloodshot, Emma, The Invisible Man, Military Wives.

It’s difficult to know whether this early release schedule will be sustainable or will remain in place once (if!) things get back to normal, but it has made me ponder a few things.

Money, that’s what I want

At first the cost of these immediate release rentals seems outrageous. £15.99 for a rental? But it would cost that or more to go to the cinema and you get all the benefits of seeing it in the comfort of your own home. If you like it that much you could watch it twice within the rental window. So then it becomes a more palatable cost…

…until you get to the realisation that you’ve rented it and later, when it comes back in the buying window, you have to make the choice again. At the moment, six or so months behind as we are, we choose whether to rent or buy a movie based on our existing collection, how much we think we’ll like it, etc, etc. That inevitably leads to some mistakes but for the most part works.

The new system would be immediate rental, then if you like the movie, purchase later. So technically, you’re buying it twice. Which is fine if you like it that much and it’s worth it. And then actually the studios make double the money they would have.

Popcorn city

I don’t think cinema goers have anything to worry about. Whilst I can’t stand going to the cinema, I do get the appeal of the big screen, the huge sound, the immersion. I don’t think that’s going to go away, even if it isn’t ruling the roost to the same degree.

And at this point, people will be so grateful to leave their houses, I suspect there will be plenty of business to be had.


I’m curious too, about the bonus features. For example, Bloodshot ended up being a better movie than expected but probably not one I would want to watch again, or purchase later. But the visual effects were incredible - and so the bonus features about how it was made, which are surely being finished as we speak, well that would still be interesting to me. I’m guessing the only option is to buy the movie when it emerges for purchase, specifically just to see the extras.

It’s also a wonder how the 3D and online communities will adapt because they gear most of their content to DVD releases as that’s when everyone gets to see the behind the scenes stuff. Will that still be true in this unknown future?

Behind the curtain

And of course, the big question we all have on our lips is what happens to the window when this is potentially over and cinemas re-open. Many of the studios have shortened the gap between cinema and digital release because they’re going where the audience is. That’s eating up content that would ordinarily have been released in a few month’s time. And we know they’re not making any more stuff at the moment.

It’s all very well us having our cake and eating it now, but there’s going to be a cake-free gap at some point when the entertainment machine starts rolling into action again. What happens then?

Maybe that’s when I can actually get some blogging done.

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