When I heard that Freakonomics was going to be released online a month before its release in theaters, I was delighted. This, I gathered, was the shape of things to come. A film by some of my favorite filmmakers coming straight to my living room. Cut out the middleman, woo hoo!
So imagine my surprise when I sat down this evening to watch the film on iTunes, and discovered that the price to rent the film is $10.99 for HD, or $9.99 for standard def. That’s the same price I pay when I drive to my local movie theater. Hmmm. Apparently Apple and Freakonomics are showing us the future of film distribution. And here’s how it works: cut out the middleman, charge the same price, and pocket the difference. Cha ching. They don’t call it Freakonomics for nothing, folks.
But me? I’m not buying it. I’d rather give my money to the middleman than get shaken down like this. Besides, paying that money to my neighborhood theater will at least benefit the local economy more than paying it to Apple will, now that they’ve blown past Microsoft in valuation. I’ll sit out this revolution until I have a better sense that it’s one I want to be part of.