Dear Universal Pictures…

I've got a question. Why is it that in my efforts to legitimately purchase and watch your movies means I have to wait over 4 months?

Unlike many — or lets be honest, almost all — of my friends and peers I choose not to obtain movies or music illegally. All my music is purchased via iTunes (or streamed on Spotify) and for movies its either the cinema or waiting for it to be available for rental or purchase on the Apple TV. 

Heres my problem. If I don't happen to catch a movie at a cinema the wait before I can rent or purchase the movie is infuriatingly comical. Heres an example.

A Million Ways to Die in the West poster. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

A Million Ways to Die in the West poster. Licensed under Fair use via Wikipedia.

Originally released in theatres in Australia on the 29th of May. At the time I did not make it in to see the movie at the cinema and instead was just going to wait until I could rent it. How long could that be?

After forgetting about it in the proceeding months I was reminded after watching TED on TV one night — "I haven't seen that Seth MacFarlane movie yet." I then checked to see if A Million Ways To Die In The West was available to rent on iTunes (via Apple TV). Nope. Purchase? Nope. Hell, was it still in cinemas? Nope. Local movie rental store? Closed down months ago.

So as a law abiding movie watcher I could not in any way, shape or form pay to watch this movie at that time.

Confused I checked the dates on when it will be released. I found, after some digging, that the physical release for purchase would be on the 27th of August. Cool, at the time I thought "I can wait a little longer" as movies on iTunes usually release for purchase and rent at the same time.

Nope. I was dumfounded to find on the night of the 27th when I was ready to watch a movie that was 3 months past theatrical release that I could not rent it. Instead I had to purchase it. But that wasn't all. The rental date is set for the 27th of September. That will make it a 4 month wait.

Why? I want to do the right thing. I even put up with the ridiculous waiting to a point where in the end I forget the movie ever existed. Why am I and the others that want to do the right thing treated like absolute shit? It would take me less than an hour to download a torrent of this movie. Sometimes I feel like giving up on the motivation to put up with this shit and just do what everyone else does.

Heres a timeline for absolute clarity:

  • Movie released on the 29th of May at cinemas
  • No longer available in local cinemas in late July
  • Available for purchase only on the 27th of August
  • Available for rent on the 27th of September

Expectations

I don't expect, yet, to be able to watch it at the same time as theatrical release. Cinemas are trying to hold onto their business model, with support from the industry, and are making us pay for it. In time hopefully this will change but it will unfortunately be a while.

Is it so much to ask to have at most a 1-2 month wait after theatrical release. Enough time for the rush of movie goers to watch it in cinemas with the popcorn, 3D and what not.

If the aim of the game is to stop people from torrenting movies then why not, I don't know, make it available for them to purchase it in the way they want to watch it? Hint, people are torrenting movies to watch on computers and networked TV's.

Universal Pictures…

A simple request. Wake the fuck up. People who want to pay for your product can't and you treat us like shit. You scream and yell about piracy, lobby the Government to make laws and treat everyone as a criminal. And yet, you don't even make what you sell available to those who want to purchase it. What the fuck kind of business is that?

I'll probably be able to watch the movie on my plane trip to the US next week because, fuck, I don't know why but some movies are available on planes before people can buy them.