Prima Cinema Promises 'Theatrically-Released' Movies in Your Home
No, this isn't an ad for some illegal download site, this is an actual legitimate company - offering exactly that. How much would you actually pay "to screen a theatrically-released film in their home"? How about around $500 a movie. That's the estimated price per picture for Prima Cinema, a new California-based company that has finally installed its first home entertainment system to distribute what they claim are theatrical run movies at home. It came up as a $20,000 (per year) listing on Uncrate, but the actual official website seems to carefully skirt around specific details regarding first-run films. Is this really going to work?
According to the website for Prima Cinema, which was first announced in press releases in 2010 (see THR), the service is based out of a rack-mountable box that they claim can provide: "PRIMA Cinema presents theatrically-released Hollywood films, in the comfort of your home… Until PRIMA Cinema, only a select few entertainment insiders were able to screen a theatrically-released film in their home. No longer." Well how about that! The site explains a "PRIMA Cinema Player and the PRIMA Biometric Reader [a fingerprint scanner?]. Films are automatically delivered to the PRIMA Cinema Player over broadband." So it's just downloadable new release movies in a proprietary, expensive set-top box. Let's dig a little deeper into this.
If you take a closer look at the investors on their site, it lists a few key names: "backed by Best Buy Capital, the investment arm of Fortune 500 global retailer Best Buy Co., Inc., Universal Pictures, a major motion picture/television studio and distributor, as well as Syncom Venture Partners, a venture capital firm specializing in media and communications." This might just be the same Universal that experimented with that $60 home release of Tower Heist, that never actually happened because movie theaters started to balk. Prima's Board of Advisors also contains some very notable Hollywood figures: ex-MPAA head Sid Ganis, director Peter Farrelly, Fox's Ira Rubenstein, and NetJet's Lauren Fryefield, among others.
I hate to say it, but this entire service kind of sounds like the paid non-pirated version of theatrical movies for rich people. If you can afford the outrageous "one-time fee of about $20,000 for a digital-delivery system and an additional $500 per film" (via Wall Street Journal 2010), you can get these movies in your home. Though the website doesn't list specifics, it sounds like it may only be Universal and/or Fox movies, considering they've got imagery from Bourne Legacy in every photo. But nonetheless, they're trying to get back into the game of non-pirated theatrical release movies at home, but with a select demographic it seems.
If you're interested in checking this out, visit primacinema.com. That website lacks quite a bit of actual info on the service, and even the FAQ is considerably vague, besides promising that "PRIMA Cinema… will support 3D films." Hooray…? I wish they had a more specific pricing info, details on when exactly movies will be available (upon release or a few weeks later?) and which studio's films are "supported", if limited. Still, an interesting new development in the release game that seems to be quietly sneaking out - the first install was in June, quoting a $35,000 price. Will expensive home offerings change Hollywood? Thoughts?