They make movies for only one reason - to make money.
The movie theaters and the video rental stores take a good portion of the money associated with giving the consumer the opportunity to see the movie. For every dollar that they keep that is one less dollar that the studios get.
The following method would give the studios 99% of the revenues, would likely double or triple the total revenues for each film and would likely eliminate most if not all piracy. I believe that it is also a system that we the consumer would welcome with open arms.
It only cost pennies to make a DVD. When HD-DVDs become a reality that will not change. Picture a system whereby Hollywood sends HD-DVDs to supermarkets for distribution on the day that a new movie is released to the theaters. To minimize the costs of production, the HD-DVDs are in shrink wrapped plastic (a more expensive version with art work and jewel box could also be available). The supermarket buys the HD-DVDs from the studios at cost (pennies).
The supermarket resales the HD-DVDs for a dollar or uses specific DVDs (new releases) as a lost leader or promotion to bring customers to the store (anyone buying $20, $50, etc of merchandise gets a free copy of Spiderman).
I hate to use the word DIVX because many of you including myself still have a bad taste for that experience, but the fact of the matter is the stupid attorneys that put it together just were not businessmen. The HD-DVD players would be a DIVX type, ie they must be connected to the telephone line of the registered user (same system as Directv).
The consumer pays the following for viewing the movie:
1) Pick a number- $10 - $20 - $30? for each viewing of the movie while it is still in the movie theaters.
2) When the movie is no longer at the theater, the consumer only pays - pick another number - say $2.99 (same as rental) for each viewing.
3) When the registered player has a total of - pick a third number - say $12 worth of viewing a specific movie (after it is no longer in the theater) on a specific registered player, there is no longer any charge for viewing a movie on that registered player (the consumer then owns the movie).
4) When the consumer buys a new player, the statistics of the old player is applied to the new one.
Its a real simple concept. The movie studios get virtually all the revenues instead of the theaters or rental stores getting a lot. The consumer can watch first run movies at home for a premium. Alternatively the consumer does not have to pay $15 - $20 for a DVD that is only watched once but only a rental price for each viewing up to a number of viewing's that would equate to an amount that is less than what we currently have to pay to purchase a DVD today.
When a movie is not getting the audience that the studio wants, the studio could advertise discounts for each playing.
If this system where in place, it would take the money out of pirated copies. Why would anyone buy a second grade copy when for the same price or less, you could get a HD-DVD copy?
The studios would not even care if you lent your DVD to a friend, since the friend would only be able to watch the movie on a registered player connected to his own phone line.
In my mind it is the best of all worlds: the movie studios eliminate all the middlemen and keep all of the revenues as well as recovering all of their cost for distribution; the consumer watches HD movies at home for less money than it is costing them now and can have a movie library that is second to none. The only people that lose are the rental stores who do not pay the studios for DVD royalties and the pirates.
Just my 2 cents.