I believe it was about a year or so ago when the possibility of this was announced, with theaters owners balking at the idea, and with good reason. I believe we even performed a random survey, asking you all who were readers at the time whether you found this new option appealing and if you’d take advantage of it; many of you said you would.

So, well, ask and you shall receive; here you go, from THR:

Universal to Offer ‘Tower Heist’ on Early VOD for $59.99

Upping the stakes dramatically, Universal and parent company Comcast will make Brett Ratner’s star-packed action comedy Tower Heist available on premium VOD for $59.99 just three weeks after the movie opens in theaters on Nov. 4.

The move is certain to irk theater owners, who are opposed to shrinking the theatrical window to even 60 days. Some could even threaten to boycott Tower Heist, which stars Ben Stiller, Eddie Murphy and Matthew Broderick.
Labeled a test, Tower Hesist will be offered to a subset of Comcast digital subsribers in Portland and Atlanta.

“The first of its kind, this experiment will allow the two companies to sample consumer appetite for this film in this window at this price while allowing the film to achieve its full potential at the box office,” a Universal spokesperson said.

There ya have it! For $60, you can watch Tower Heist in the comfort of your living room, 3 weeks before the rest of the world sees it, when it opens in theaters… that is if you are a Comcast customer in Portland and Atlanta; though I anticipate the * experiment* will eventually expand to other cities, if not with this film, with others forthcoming.

So… how many of you would be willing to take advantage of this, if it were offered in your area?

$60 to watch at home weeks before its theatrical release, or around $13 (if you’re in NYC like me) to see in theaters later? As I said in a previous post on the matter, I can very well see this becoming a preferable option for some families. Nowadays, with rising ticket prices, a family of 4 in NYC could very well end up spending close to $100 to see a movie at the theater – including ticket costs, popcorn, drinks, even transportation.

Compare that to $60 to watch at home with the whole family, on your large screen HD TV, wearing your jammies, or whatever, comfy. You can pause if you need to, when you need to. You can talk to one another, etc.

Granted the theatrical experience if one that can’t readily be replicated, but it’s already documented that folks aren’t going to the theater as much as we once did, partly due to the competition for eyeballs that the internet presents. So, here’s even more of an incentive to stay home.

But I’d love to read what you guys think.