The ultimate perk: First-run movies at home

A new company is offering just-released films to the high-end home theater crowd -- for astronomical prices.

By Bruce Kennedy Apr 10, 2013 8:06AM

People watching a movie in a home theater (copyright Andersen Ross/Photographer's Choice/Getty Images)Think your home theater setup is pretty sweet? Then you might get a bit jealous or even upset when you hear about the latest, high-price perk the ultra-rich are getting for their insanely palatial viewing chambers: first-run movies.

The Hollywood Reporter says a relatively new company called Prima Cinema is offering a just-released film service to anyone with a home theater and the financial wherewithal to pay for it. According to the newspaper, Prima charges $35,000 "for a special digital box that allows films to be delivered safely over the Internet, then $500 for each title (a movie can only be viewed once over the course of a 24-hour period)."


Prima was set up in 2010 and began its service last year. It's backed by Universal Pictures, a division of Comcast (CMCSA), Syncom Venture Partners and the investment arm of Best Buy (BBY).

Company CEO Jason Pang says Prima's formula for success comes from its ability to bring an exclusive and highly desirable service to a small number of very, very affluent consumers.

"There are thousands of people out there, if not tens of thousands of people, that could buy this product," he told the Los Angeles Times. "We found the secret sauce to make billionaires act like little giddy schoolchildren."


And when you consider that some rich folks fork over several million dollars for a drop-dead home theater experience -- and that a top-of-the-line, 3-D projector runs about $100,000 -- $35,000 to see first-run films in the extreme comfort of your home might start sounding reasonable.


And of course, some snob appeal is also involved. For years, movie industry actors, producers and others -- known as the "Bel-Air circuit" -- have had first-run films couriered to their homes and then back to the studio. So now, with enough money and Prima's service, you can live like a Hollywood insider.


It's possible Prima could have unintended consequences for film exhibitors. But "nobody I've talked to thinks Prima will be cannibalistic," Universal Pictures Chairman Adam Fogelson told the LA Times, "because the clientele is too exclusive -- their customers aren't likely to go to theaters often, if ever."


More on moneyNOW

Apr 10, 2013 1:11PM
Hollywood turns out shlt these days anyway so who cares.
Apr 10, 2013 3:41PM

My next house will have a theater in it.Thank God we`re living in times when this

is all we have to worry about.

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