In what could be seen as a further blow to the sanctity of the theatergoing experience, theater chain AMC has agreed to a deal with Paramount Pictures that will allow some of those studio’s films to be released to streaming services a mere 17 days after they leave theaters. For decades, the studios maintained a three-month gap between a movie‘s theatrical run and its release on home video—VHS, DVD, on demand, whatever. That way, audiences who didn’t want to wait three months to find out whether the Force awakens with a hangover or not had to go to the movies and find out.
But that incentive has narrowed, and the wait between theatrical release and home video continues to shrink. (Steven Soderbergh released Bubble in theaters and on-demand simultaneously back in 2006.) This is bad news for theater chains, who are finding it harder and harder to compete with home theater systems and their lack of sticky floors and squalling children. But it’s good for the studios, who make money no matter where a film is viewed, and will no longer have to wait so long between revenue streams.
For the moment, the shortened release gap is a pilot program, and will only affect the films Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension and Scout’s Guide To The Zombie Apocalypse. So we’re still a ways off from being able to quickly stream a good movie.