Problem 1: Grandparents enjoy watching movies, but they don't enjoy the hassle of going to the movie theater.

Problem 2: Grandparents want to see more of their families.

Problem 3: You feel obligated to visit your parents/grandparents but it can be mind-numbingly boring. And you don't want to sit in the living room for hours listening to medical complaints.

Solution: Suppose the AARP (a seniors organization) worked out a deal with the major film studios to allow seniors to stream new movies to their homes on the same day the films are released to studios. And let's say the price is high, perhaps $100 for a two-day streaming rental.

Now you have a situation in which the grandkids might want to visit the grandparents just to see the new movie that is out. That's doubly true if the grandparents have a huge screen TV.

A typical grandparent would have twenty-or-so family members and friends who might be interested in a new movie. That brings the cost down to $5 per viewer if everyone wants to pitch in. Or grandpa could pick up the entire tab to sweeten the deal.

Professional movie theaters would still have a huge quality advantage over home theaters, especially for 3D. And some people simply prefer doing things with crowds because it makes the event more exciting. So theaters should continue to do fine. My guess is that the revenue stream from grandparents would more than compensate for lost theater attendance. And the grandparents would be happy to see more of the grandkids.

It would be easy enough to test this plan in a limited market. Pick one theater and draw a circle around it on the map. Market this new streaming service for seniors within the circle and see how the theater performs compared to its peers.

You'd have cheaters of course. Young people might add grandma's name to their house deeds just to be able to watch new movies at home. But I think the cheating could be in the 10% range.

Would this idea work?

Rank Up Rank Down Votes:  +33
  • Print
  • Share


Sort By:
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 21, 2013
I think the problem in this proposition is that early access to movies is not as exclusive as you make it sound. It is trivial to get it for free from the internet, even before it is in theaters. The other problem is that the actual problem, spending quality time with family, is not really solved.
+3 Rank Up Rank Down
May 15, 2013
It already exists! (but your pricing is a much better deal)


Be the First in Line, Every Time

PRIMA Cinema enables you to redefine movie night by watching just-released Hollywood films from the comfort of your home. Imagine hosting a red carpet premiere in your custom home theater for a cinematic experience unlike any other. Until PRIMA Cinema, only a select few entertainment insiders were able to screen a theatrically-released film in their home. No longer.
-1 Rank Up Rank Down
May 14, 2013
There is a reason most people like to visit their grandparents (or in my case, parents). That burden will certainly diminish any enjoyment of the movie such that this might work on the kids once, but not twice.
May 14, 2013
My mind went to the same place as AtlantaDude's - I assumed you were going to suggest streaming video in the home so Grandma could feel connected. It would also be good for parents who have kids that get home before them - have grandma keep an eye on them (or at least make them aware that she COULD be watching).

As for the movie idea, I don't see that working. Yes, some people dislike movie theaters, but I doubt you'll find 20 people that want to cram into Grandma's livingroom (most Grandmas have downsized and have limited seating). And with today's mobile society, it's rare for Grandmas to be living that close to a large number of children or grandchildren. Mine were 1-1/2 and 3 hours away. Plus, Grams wouldn't be that interested in seeing the next Star Trek movie.
May 14, 2013
I was sure I'wasn't the only one who thought about you going in a different direction, and the third comment I saw proved me right. However, my direction is a little different than of AtlantaDude.

How about opening a service which would film a documentary of important events in your family (or a service which edits the home-made movies in a professional way) and make a 2 hour movie of it?
May 14, 2013
The movie industry is about as forward-looking as the music industry, so I think the chances are, roughly speaking, zero. Mark Cuban tried something akin to this with "Bubble", releasing the DVD the same day as the movie hit the theaters, though that was far from a Hollywood blockbuster.

I think the poster who had the idea of setting up a high-def cam for grandparents to watch their families was on the right track. Instead of just having a Skype session, though, would be to make it the equivalent of a private reality show: cameras throughout the house, then once a week edit a 1-hour highlight reel. You could start by auto-deleting everything where there was no one in the room, or where the people where sitting still and not talking. That alone would get you down to probably ~8 hours of footage, and the family could manually cut the rest in a relatively (no pun intended) short time. What the movie people would sell is the package of the cameras and the editing software.

OR: they could sign people up for a service for a low fee, offering them low-cost cameras and professional editing services, in exchange for a waiver to the rights to the video (except for the grandparents, of course). Then the studio could either mine the thousands of hours of different families for a sort of reality TV movie, or maybe sell it to seniors who don't have a family to watch.
May 14, 2013
This has nothing to do with Grandpa and the movies. It involves something you (Scott) said in an earlier post.
My question is this- Why are you changing from a one handed to a two handed backhand?
This has been on my mind for days.
My guess is it has something to do with generating more power. The string and racket technology in today's game has made finesse and coming to the net almost extinct.
On the minus side to a two handed backhand though is the loss of range that comes with a two hander (especially as we get older and slower).
Anyway, I was hoping for an answer.
May 14, 2013
Sounded interesting until you mentioned AARP.
May 14, 2013
I don't think your idea is going to pick up much steam except amongst the wealthy emotionally unbalanced folk. It's abusing the relationship between the grandparents and their descendents, making them only come to visit when they want to watch a movie. If you get bored, help them get out and around, they probably want to do that just as much. What you're doing instead is just like those people who use the handicap parking cards of the elderly.
May 14, 2013
Actually, my pickiness involved the proposed test. I don't think people consistently head for the nearest cineplex any more than they consistently head for the nearest restaurant or supermarket or mall. We're still an automotive society, and people will drive for even a marginal preference.

I can see seniors preferring a mall cineplex with easy parking and that nice food court, instead of the one you have to get on the freeway for. Others might choose a cinema based on proximity to a given restaurant or bar, and yet others may drive a distance for a bargain showing, or the probability of meeting high school classmates.

A proper test would involve a given movie and all the cinemas in a given market -- we're talking a metropolitan area, encompassing nearly every cinema a resident of that market might reasonably drive to. Anything smaller will yield only anecdotal data.
May 14, 2013
It would be another way for Hollywood to segment the market, certainly, and it adds something new to the current segmentation scheme.

But where I think it would fail is the theaters would rebel. They make most of their profits off the concessions - and unless they got a big cut of the pie, I don't see them supporting a system which would get their customers out of their theaters, where they enjoy monopolist pricing on popcorn and Pepsi.
+13 Rank Up Rank Down
May 14, 2013
You've targeted the least tech savy demographic with the least disposable income, not to mention the likelihood that the grandparents and grandchildren will have quite different tastes in movies.

I can see this idea flying like a cast iron hang glider.
May 13, 2013
no, the cheating range would be much greater than 10%.
May 13, 2013
They should make movies with alternate soundtracks. For example, Grandma has read "The Great Gatsby", but is she going to enjoy the rap music soundtrack in Di Caprio's new movie? No. Rather let the theater rent her headphones that play an old-timey soundtrack.

(Also this week, Regal theaters announced subtitle glasses for the hard-of-hearing. A couple of graphs must have intersected -- the diminishing cost of electronics, and the increasing number of old baby boomers)

May 13, 2013
That's age discrimination! The opposite from what you normally see, sure, but it still applies. I would imagine that the vast majority of the AARP members who take advantage of this would really be "taking advantage" of it.

I was thinking about something similar, but not at home. This probably exists...

A theater with several small viewing rooms - as low as 10 seats and maybe as high as 50 - where wealthier people can have "private" viewings with their friends and family. Charge $50/seat or more, and let them choose which of the new releases currently playing they want to watch.

I thought this idea might work best in Hollywood or New York, where the rich and famous may want to see a new movie but don't want to deal with the crowds. Private parking and private entrances keep the paparazzi at bay.

If the theater is not reserved, anyone can drop in and watch a show with a dozen or so strangers who all want to see the same thing but want a more luxurious evening.

Add food, drinks, couches, recliners, etc., to top it all off.
May 13, 2013
I think you'll have a hard time finding movies that are appealing to grandparents, parents, teenagers, and children.
May 13, 2013
Probably won't work as many grandparents are not as tech savy as their grandchildren and would require a day for the grandchildren to help them set up the streaming movie access.

Actually that could be a better idea: A day especially devoted to children and grandchildren setting up technology for their elders.

( I recently had to set up Favorites list for my 70 something mother and her 2nd husband since they pay for and have the most massive cable package but the remote baffles them. They didn't even know that they had availability for On-demand free movies much less unlimited access to the premium channels for On-Demand movies. )
May 13, 2013
You're going to have to head to the maroon-red column of beads on your abacus to list the number of pitfalls with this particular idea. I would say fraud would be about 90% and utilization would be low. I don't even know where to begin with listing the problems with this idea...
May 13, 2013

That same thought occurred to me, but decided not to mention it on account of the conservative nature of the film industry. For I dont know how long (quite possibly through today) they regarded TV as a problem instead of as an opportunity, preferring to do everything they could to keep the theaters going. No doubt they will reject his idea for the same reason.
May 13, 2013
I thought you were going to go in a different direction with this. Immobile grandparents, kids and widescreen TVs - I thought you were going to suggest setting up a continuous Skype feed with cameras in the kids playroom linked to the TVs at grandma's house.

I think most grandparents would rather watch that than "Meet the Fockers, III" or whatever.
Get the new Dilbert app!
Old Dilbert Blog