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May 4, 2011 by · Leave a Comment 

The National Association of Theatre Owners (NATO) wants to know whether consumers have been willing to spend the $30 or so being charged to rent movies via so-called premium video-on-demand. In a statement released today (Wednesday), NATO asked the studios that are participating in the VOD experiment — they’re releasing some films 60 days after their theatrical bow, while they are still playing in theaters — to disclose sales figures for those films. The statement asks, “Has the early VOD offering drawn the interest of the consumer?” NATO president John Fithian observed that the exhibitors release their own data concerning ticket sales every weekend. “Studio executives are working the phones, touting the stellar box office for hit movies and explaining the underperformance of the flops. [But] when it comes to premium VOD — crickets.” In a related matter, NATO released figures on Tuesday indicating that the average price for a movie ticket fell to $7.86 in the first quarter, down from $8.01 in the last quarter of 2010, a reflection of the lack of hit movies carrying 3D surcharges this year.