A new poll suggests people only really want to pay around $6 for theatrical on-demand movies. The poll was taken after Universal Pictures announced they were going to release Trolls World Tour for $20 on its theatrical release date on-demand. There's currently under 400 theaters in North America opened, so studios have been pulling their larger releases, though many are looking to see how the Trolls sequel does with this model to see if it's worth pursuing in the future.
According to the new poll results, "U.S. adults say the on-demand price range that they'd be willing to pay for a movie currently in theaters is $5 to $8, with the optimum price being $6." This particular poll was conducted between March 19th and March 21st, 2020 among a national sample of 2,200 Adults. The interviews were taken online with a range of different ages, races, gender, and region. While $20 does seem a bit much, one has to take into consideration the price of going to a movie theater these days.
When compared to movie theater pricing, $20 is a steal for a family to watch a movie that is currently in theaters. However, you lose out on the theater-going experience. According to the same poll, 40% of people say they would be willing to rent a theatrical release for $20. 35% say they have less interest in doing so. 30% of those polled also said they'd be more inclined to spend that money on a streaming service like Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, Apple TV+, and others. This was more on the younger side of the spectrum, with older groups less likely to sign up.
Studios and movie theaters are going to have to figure something out in the near future since things don't seem like they are going to change any time soon. AMC doesn't expect to open its doors for at least 8 to 12 weeks, which could change at any time. China just experimented with opening theaters again, only to close them right back up. So studios, are going to have to figure out a new model in order to survive. The on-demand method could work, though it looks like the price point might scare some people away.
For now, streaming is the place to be. Disney+ has seen more subscribers since social distancing began and so have other services. Out of the people polled, most of them were already subscribed to one or more streaming services. As for what they were watching, comedy seems to be dominating just about everything right now, which makes a lot of sense. For now, we'll just have to wait and see how our current events end up effecting the entertainment industry in the long run. It's already beginning to look like the current system will change forever. The Hollywood Reporter was behind the survey.