why can't I rent Iron Man?

For reasons that mostly escape me, Sasha and I thought to watch the 2008 film Iron Man this evening. We have a Mac and a Blu-Ray player, both of which allow us to rent films online, so it shouldn't have presented any problem. Rentals are four dollars, which seems a bit high when there's no delivery costs involved, but whatever - we don't want Hollywood to go broke. So we hit Amazon, and the film is up for sale, but not for rent. OK, fair enough. On to iTunes. Same thing. Blockbuster (which my Blu-Ray connects to) doesn't have it either. So let's review: a couple wants to watch a movie (a two-year-old movie which has a sequel in the theaters now) in the comfort of their own home, but they can't. There is no excuse for the film industry whatsoever. None. Are they afraid their film might be pirated? Two years after its release, if they think this movie isn't available at every pirate site in the universe, they are sadly mistaken. The only thing I can even remotely come up with is that there is some crazy thought that if you can't rent it, you'll buy it (ten dollars). All they need is one in two people doing that to make it work. And if that's working for them, good for them. And good for me, honestly, as it saves me from having to spend money on a movie. Of course, it also means I don't watch the movie, but that's probably ok, too.

Derek (Erb) commented:

Here in France we couldn't buy or rent movies on iTunes or any other online service until... last week!  Now we have a huge selection of movies, all dubbed of course <opposite of g here> for purchase and rent.

Thank the gods for my American iTunes account as we buy and rent American movies there weekly (every Friday night) which we watch on our Apple TV hooked up to the TV in the living room. We get the lastest movie releases, sometimes before they even come out in the cinema here, often in HD and immediately. Heaven! We also get American TV series the day after they are shown on American television. A bit of heave and bit of hell... America does not exactly have the best television in the world... but at least we get it with no commercials.

I can feel your frustration in not being able to rent Ironman. However I think you're attacking the entire industry based on the frustration of one film. At the same time that you could not rent Ironman you can rent Avatar, It's Complicated, Crazy Heart, Sherlock Holmes, The Blind Side, Precious, The Hurt Locker and tons of other movies more recent than Ironman. It's not that the industry hasn't put movies up for rental. It's that the lawyers who negotiated the distribution contracts for this film were short-sided and greedy. But that's the way the entertainment business has always been. Each individual product is sold and distributed separately. Why can I only buy The Imaginarium of Doctor Parnassus and not rent it? Probably the same reason: bad distribution deals. Why do some movies come out all over the world in the same week and other movies delay their international release for many months? Bad distribution deals. Personally I don't believe it's Hollywood as a whole but rather individual distribution deals.

In the medium-term all of this will be moot as some day, in the not so distant future, the notion of DVD rentals and purchases will go the way of CD sales... gone. Newspapers printed on paper will seem as old-fashioned as the Telex. Magazines on paper will also seem as outdated as black and white television without a remote control. Printed books will be remembered in our grandchildren's minds as being around at the same time as handwritten parchments lovingly crafted by monks and available only to the rich.

All of our entertainment will be digitally distributed. But, in the mean time we all get to go through the growing pains together.

However each step we make forward is a wonderous leap towards the future and brings us lots and lots of spoiled-childlike instant gratification along the way: choosing and dowloading a movie to rent over WiFi in a lounge at the airport just before boarding the plane? That's like science-fiction not that long ago. Today's newspaper arriving automatically on my Kindle when I turn it on in the morning? Magic and sorcery! The live video of the volcanic explosions in beautiful technicolour on my iPad while sitting in a moving train? Star Trek, Star Wars and The Twilight Zone come to life!

So.... have you seen Ironman 2 yet?


on Sun May 9 11:12:40 2010

Anonymous commented:

Just saw this which made me think of this post...





on Fri May 21 14:44:50 2010

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