Anyone who has gotten to watch a film at the Alamo Drafthouse knows that it is the most perfect vision of movie watching this side of heaven. Good food, beer, and a penchant for throwing out anyone who violates cell phone rules. They’ve franchised their way up to thirteen locations at the moment, and seem to be the exception that proves the rule of the decline of movie theaters. Every complaint adults have about going to the movies are addressed by the Drafthouse business model.
The Drafthouse also got into the business of distributing films a few years ago which makes their new subscription service make a bit more sense. For $125, you get to pick one of their current films on either DVD or Blu-Ray and then get their next nine releases delivered to you too. That comes out to a cool $12.50 per film, which is a decent price for new discs.
On the other hand, I don’t necessarily see the appeal of the subscription service. Sure it gets you some DVDs at a decent price, but at the cost of a year of Netflix, those ten little discs aren’t really going to seem like that great of a deal unless you’re a film collector. Besides, since you get the next nine films distributed by Drafthouse Films, you’re also functioning as an investor to a degree. You’re betting that there are going to be nine more films released under this system at all, and that those films are going to be worth sitting on your shelf. You’re not just paying for a service to occur in advance, you’re paying for something that hasn’t actually been created yet. That’s investment, not subscription.
This might be colored by the fact that I only own a shelf’s worth of DVDs in the first place, but I can’t see how this dovetails into the core business model of being a fantastic venue for watching films.