Yes, Some Are Paying $20 to Rent New Movies – But Is This The Right Price Point?

The two movies circled in red are the only movies above that we haven’t seen yet

There are two movies right now we’d like to see that were ever so briefly in theaters and haven’t seen yet: I Still Believe and Emma.

So, are people willing to spend $20 to rent a theatrical movie at home? It seems the answer is yes… Especially if that movie is The Invisible Man. And I have a feeling that Trolls World Tour from Universal, which will be available to rent for $19.99 for a 48-hour viewing window beginning April 10, will be an even bigger at-home hit for parents looking to keep their kids occupied during this time of social distancing.

Are People Willing to Pay $20 to Rent a Movie? The Invisible Man Seems to Suggest Yes

Admittedly, am wrestling with the price: $19.99 for a 48 hour rental. Now, before anybody jumps on me for hypocrisy. For saying that I want to see more new movies released during the time the theaters are closed. This doesn’t mean I want to pay 20 bucks to see every one of these movies as a rental.

Why am I hesitating? I pay $15 and change for a large popcorn, butter and large soda with almost every movie we see and don’t think twice. It’s not really a financial quandary and yet it is.

Most of us look at price tags. We weigh the pros and cons of our hard earned money.

When Trolls World Tour releases on VOD on April 10 for the same price presumably, I think that will be an almost instant buy. We enjoyed the other Trolls movies and our grandchildren like the Trolls. Just for them to be able to rewatch 4-6 times in 48 hours is well worth the money.

Get to it, then, why am I hesitating over these other two movies?

Neither one of them were movies I really, really wanted to see, nor my wife. I Still Believe more than Emma and also it’s really the fact that they are rentals, not owned titles.

(subconscious saying: excuses, excuses!)

If I’m patient 60-90 days, I’ll save $30 USD or so, because the rental price will drop from $19.99 to $5 or so. That’s what happens with all new movie titles eventually, especially when they end up on streaming. Thirty bucks for a couple months worth of patience for movies that I want to see, but not see badly.

So, why not just wait?

Maybe I can catch one or both of them HBO Max (am subscribing when that is released) and that would even further increase the savings. Will HBO Max launch in May as planned?

(no good reason for them not to, captive large audience at home, this is the golden time to release a new streaming service)

Wonder how many others are doing the same ying-yang dance with these VOD rental prices? I don’t really understand why we can’t own the title now, instead of having to rent it when the price ultimately will be the same in a couple months. If it’s a movie you’re going to want to see more than once, absolutely that rental price is reasonable (ahem, Trolls World Tour), but if it turns out being one of those one and done movies or, worse, one that can’t even be finished then the $20 price just seems like double punishment.

Also, weighing in my mind is that for $21/month I can see that same movie every day once per day as long as it’s in theaters. It just lowers the VOD rental value significantly, even though right now that plan is on hiatus and theaters are closed. If the theaters reopen in a month from when they closed — that would be the weekend of April 17 — then maybe these two movies will still be available to see in the theater?

All this indecision … over thirty bucks. What can I say, these are strange, unusual times. Part of me wants to support VOD and just pay the $40, shut up, watch and (hopefully) be entertained. The other part says wait it out and use that $30 to fill the gas tank for a work week.

(yes, I’m still working right now)

Or, perhaps best idea yet, buy $30 food and donate to the food back for others who aren’t able to work right now. Kara paid for groceries for a woman the other day. A lot of people are out of work right now, so this whole post waffling over paying $20 for a VOD rental being worth it might seem ill-placed. We are very, very lucky to have an extra $30 when some are wondering where their next meal might be coming from.

Decisions, decisions. Perhaps all of the above is the right answer. Gas, food bank donation, shut up and rent the darn movies.

What do you think of a $20 VOD rental price? Too high? Priced fair? Are you waiting until the rental price drops in 60-90 days or buying it on physical media or digital when it’s released?


18 thoughts on “Yes, Some Are Paying $20 to Rent New Movies – But Is This The Right Price Point?

    1. Sorry but adding in the cost of the popcorn you would still need to purchase and the soda again you would need to purchase, Simply put that doesn’t add up. Then adding the cost of gas which to most is a fraction of a gallon, all I’m saying is that 20 dollars to rent these movies is a joke price. The only reason everyone is charging this much is because of the pandemic which prevents people from going to the theater which means they are not getting box office money (even IMAX is more reasonable than this price just saying at average cost of 15 per ticket for the experience). Then you remember a lot of those same people are out of work because they are not allowed out of their houses. Then ask yourself huh should we charge the same 4 to 6 dollars or go for 20 which is outlandish when people have trouble paying their bills. Sorry but no excuse could be said to charge a whopping 20 dollars on a single day rental movie or hell even a week rental movie. That said its just my opinion, form your own opinion just don’t fall for the trap unless you really just have to watch that new movie right away for whatever reason…

      Liked by 2 people

      1. The $20 rental movie price point seems to be where they are settling in, wrong or right. I don’t disagree with anything you wrote. These are hard times and buying anything right now is an individual decision.


  1. I’ve been doing the same. Rather spend that much money on movies I know I’ll enjoy via Blu-Ray/4k purchases in the future or rent the same titles for a lot lower like you indicated. Granted, I don’t know how I’d feel about renting if social distancing wasn’t in effect. The idea of calling over a bunch of friends and watching a new movie for $20 is appealing, but that’s not the reality of the situation for me right now.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I guess it all comes to down to just how badly you want to see something. A Quiet Place Part II I would have paid $19.99 to rent on VOD. Emma, I Still Believe? Just having a real hard time justifying at that price … maybe I’m wrong and they are AMAZING movies and I’ll kick myself for waiting a little longer. It’s not like there aren’t a ton of movies to watch on streaming, including original titles.


      1. Agreed. Vivarium came out on VOD recently for a 5.99 rental price and I jumped on it. Was planning on seeing it in theaters so I was glad to see it at an more agreeable price.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. I somehow missed you mentioning Vivarium in this comment. I missed that movie somehow, too, but it sounds like it might be right up my alley. I just posted a FIRST LOOK on it, too. Seems very much in the vein of Twilight Zone, and I’m all over movies like that.


  2. 5 times a rental price, they are shooting themselves in the foot. I understand a premium for seeing it (vod) earlier but thats ridiculous. They are wrong on the price, they need to balance it better. I’d say 9.99 to 12.99 would be more in the impulse buy range. Where even if it was a movie you weren’t going to go see you’re like eh I got nothing better to do, but at $20 ill find something better to do. Now instead of seeing a bunch of movies to kill time, I won’t be seeing any at $20. It makes no sense. Lowering prices on things with fixed cost like digital goods can actually net more income. Steam does it with games. You have to strike that balance.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. Yeah, thats how i ended here. Saw someone talking on youtube about a movie that came out today and i was like that seems cool. Went to look up the movie (which is a whole other rant lol) but i found it and saw $20, i was shocked. At first i was like oh its for sale only, okay i guess to get as much as they can from it before it hits rental, fine. Then i saw it was $20 for renting. Hit google ” why is a rental $20″ lol. Its not only price expectations though, your talking about $10 an hour for entertainment you may not even like. A lot of people dont even make that and have to asks themselves do i want to spend 4 hours working to watch this now, and only for now. I think the problem is they are panicked and thats no way to do business. They need to take a deep breathe do test markets at different prices and run the models. I cant imagine they did that, but instead are more worried about a family or friends watching it together and not getting those individual ticket sales. Instead of realizing they have a chance to make their product more accessible, You dont have to plan a whole night to go out to see the movie. Easier access means more chances for sales. I run a small retail business and what may seem like a small difference in price can make a huge impact on sale. You dont want them to have to think about it. Remove as many barriers as you can. You’d be surprise the difference even a $1 makes in certain contexts.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. The problem is if lots pay the 24.99 the longer it takes the movie to be rented at 7.00 and the longer it will take to become available for free on the movie channels. Why would you pay movie theater prices if your not in a theater?


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