Most consumers do their movie streaming with services like Netflix, taking a trip to the theater to see a new release as an occasional treat.
Thanks to a new distribution company, the richest one percent can combine the best of both worlds – the relaxed atmosphere of home streaming, for films that have otherwise been released only in theaters. It doesn’t come without its costs, however. Each first-run film can cost between $1,500 to $3,000 to keep the event really private.
A New Approach to Films
Red Carpet Home Cinema brings a luxury cinema experience to those with enough disposable income to fit it into the budget.
The company was founded by Fred Rosen, former CEO of Ticketmaster, and his golfing buddy, Dan Fellman, Hollywood’s foremost distribution expert. The company has contracts with Paramount, Lionsgate, Warner Bros., Annapurna, Fox Searchlight and Disney’s 20th Century Fox. There are about 40 movies available annually through the service, including many blockbuster films.
This type of service comes at a time when the film industry is changing the traditional format for releases. For example, Netflix had a very limited theater release for its film Bird Box and then offered streaming for the film a few days after it hit theaters. The expectation that consumers need to wait months before watching a new film in their homes is changing.
Service in a Class of Its Own
Netflix and traditional theaters don’t see Red Carpet as competition. The majority of their customers are not people who would seek out the services that Red Carpet offers.
Anyway, the service is painting itself with an “exclusivity” brush. Red Carpet has a demanding application process, requiring that participants have a credit card with a limit of at least $50,000, among other things. Once approved, the customers must purchase a $15,000 box to connect to their home theater system. The box is installed by a technician and comes with piracy protections.
Participating studios set the price for the movie rentals, with blockbuster films commanding higher fees, and dramas on the lower end of the scale. Each rental gives the customer two viewings within a 36-hour period.
Part of an Exclusive Club
Although there are nearly 46,000 Americans who make more than $2 million each year, Red Carpet doesn’t intend to market to all of them. The company could raise $300 million in annual revenue with fewer than 4,000 customers.
Red Carpet currently operates in just 25 homes. The company has been beta-testing its technology since December 2018. Future plans include marketing to celebrities and Hollywood executives. Red Carpet intends to let the film studios set the terms for their service, rather than trying to shake up existing business structures. So far, the partnership seems beneficial to both Red Carpet and the film studios with which it has relationships.