The Dark Knight Rises should be made available now on VOD
First, let’s separate the emotional reactions to what happened in Aurora, CO the other day from the business of Hollywood. Because the shooting took place in a theater showing THE DARK KNIGHT RISES, that’s hard to do. But for the purpose of this editorial, we need to acknowledge that regardless of what happens in the world, Hollywood is still a business and Hollywood still needs to make money. It seems callous to say it, but it’s true. With that said, early box office numbers for THE DARK KNIGHT RISES are lower than what most people thought and the prevailing sentiment is that the lack of early success is because Americans are scared to go to the theater for fear of a copycat terrorist opening fire on them.
Regardless of how you feel or whether or not you would avoid going to the theater because of one isolated incident in Colorado, the fact remains that there are probably millions of people out there that are making alternate weekend plans because of the shooting. Mothers and fathers are trying to decide at this very moment, whether it’s worth taking the risk, regardless of how big a risk they perceive it to be. And as CNN keeps breaking news about girlfriends, husbands, infants, toddlers and grandparents all dying for no reason, America keeps getting more scared.
So what does Warner Bros. do about this? THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is one of the most anticipated movies of all time and WB can’t get people into theaters. Theater chains are losing money hand over fist as it is and there’s no way they can afford to put security guards and metal detectors in front of every theater. There is no way to convince the public this won’t happen again. Which is why WB should make THE DARK KNIGHT RISES available via video on demand now.
This is the only option for Warner Bros. If people were going to the theater anyway, the availability of the film on demand, via DirecTV, Netflix or the Playstation Network, isn’t going to change that. But what it will do is get people to see the movie that are scared to go out. Charge $50 or more for a two day rental; it doesn’t matter because families will pay for it, if only because that $50 is comparable to what it would cost to see it at a theater and it also give them what theaters can’t; piece of mind and security. Theater owners will of course raise a stink about it, but theater owners don’t have an answer for what happened. I’m not saying to do this for every film, but THE DARK KNIGHT RISES is a strange, once in a lifetime (hopefully) case and exceptions should be made.
I doubt this will happen, but it’s an idea WB should consider, if not now, then maybe next weekend or 30 days from now. If WB is concerned about leaving money on the table, this is a quick, inexpensive way to make it back.