Is Tower Heist worth $59.99 to view in your living room at home just 3 weeks after it debuts in theaters on November 4th? For that exorbitant price, I’d want an ironclad guarantee that Brett Ratner’s movie is going to make me laugh and cry and applaud – not to mention have Ben Stiller and Eddie Murphy watch it with me – or give me my money back. What’s going on here is a little video-on-demand experiment which Universal Pictures is trying with parent company, cabler Comcast, in just two midsize markets: Atlanta and Portland. The Los Angeles Times broke the news this afternoon. About 500,000 of Comcast’s digital cable subscribers can opt to buy. Universal will be watching whether box office receipts fall off in those cities. Right now the relationship between exhibitors and studios is completely dysfunctional because of Big Media’s many moves to shrink the traditional 90-day window between the time a movie debuts in theaters and when it’s available for home view. But I’m told Universal Pictures chairman Adam Fogelson has been working hard to calm the theaters about this latest salvo which comes not long after four studios including his made DirectTV deals to put in place video-on-demand 60 days after they premiered in theaters for $29.99. Now it’s 3 weeks for $59.99. Is $99.99 far behind?
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