There’s been something of a boom in recent years when it comes to ultra-high-end home movie exhibition, often of first-run movies, being available at customers at extremely high prices. In 2013, company called Prima Cinema began offering first-run movies at home for $500 a pop- following a $20,000 set-up fee. Earlier this year, tech entrepreneur Sean Parker announced The Screening Room, a controversial service that would offer first-run movies for $50 at a time, following the purchase of a $150 service box.
Some Hollywood moguls have been known to use their connections to set up their own at-home theaters, often with access to new movies; the movie nights hosted by Everybody Loves Raymond co-creator Phil Rosenthal, complete with the host’s own brick-oven pizzas, are legendary. And now, people looking for a very expensive theater for their home have another option – provided they’re willing to pay in the mid-six figures.
IMAX’s Private Theatre division has begun offering IMAX cinema setups in customers’ homes, Ars Technica reports. While IMAX was talking about private home theaters as long ago as 2013, the concept is now available. Two showrooms demonstrating the technology have already been unveiled in China and three are planned for the U.S. too.
The entry-level theater, called the “Palais”, runs at about $400,000. According to the report, that price quote gives buyers the following: An 18-seat screening room, a screen at least ten feet tall, a pair of 4K 2D/3D projectors, the proprietary IMAX sound system and a multifunctional media playback system, making possible TV, Blu-ray and other sources. The higher-end Platinum version – costing $1 million – offers seats for up to 40 people. Both versions offer a box (costing $10,000) that allows streaming of first-run movies, although as of now that’s only been sold in Asia.
Clearly, the home IMAX theater is a niche product. There aren’t very many people with that kind of cash lying around, and those who do are likely CEOs or other independently wealthy people who want to be able to tell people that they have an IMAX theater in their house. Everyone else is no doubt fine with catching the latest blockbuster (like Captain America: Civil War) in IMAX at their local multiplex.
Once it arrives on the market the Screening Room, due largely to its low price point and buy-in from various prominent Hollywood figures, could conceivably pose an existential threat to the business model of the movie exhibition business. The IMAX at home won’t; it will likely just result in a few studio heads and other moguls eventually having a nicer home theater at their house than the one they have right now.
Source: Ars Technica