Renting a movie online is as simple as a few clicks – here’s a full breakdown of all the major rental services

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You can rent new movies from services like Prime video, Vudu, Apple TV, Google TV, and FandangoNow.

  • There are a number of online services that let you rent movies to stream at home.
  • Popular video rental services include Prime Video, Apple TV, Google Play, Vudu, and FandangoNow.
  • Movie rentals typically last 48 hours after you start watching a film.

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Remember when renting a movie meant going to a store? Times have changed for the movie industry. With video rental chains a relic of the past, online streaming has become the new standard for renting movies to watch at home.

With multiple services to choose from – including Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu, Google Play, and FandangoNow – it’s never been easier to find a film worth renting on a smart TV, media player, or mobile device. These platforms all allow you to browse through a huge catalog of digital films, enabling you to pay for rentals individually rather than as part of a subscription.

To help make your next movie night at home more enjoyable, we’ve broken down some of the basics of renting streaming films from a variety of services. So, put a bag of popcorn in your microwave and pick up your controller or tablet – there are a lot of great movies out there waiting to be discovered.

What services can you rent streaming movies from?

Services like Vudu, Google Play Movies, Apple TV, and FandangoNow all offer a comprehensive assortment of movies that you can rent individually without a subscription. Amazon Prime Video, meanwhile, actually offers individual rentals in addition to its subscription service for Prime members.

Once you’ve created an account with any of the above services and added your payment details, renting a title is as simple as a few clicks. In most cases, you can simply browse through the platform’s website or download the service’s app. After finding the title you want, you simply click on the movie and complete the instructions to confirm your rental.

How much do streaming movies cost to rent?

Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, FandangoNow, and Google Play all let you rent movies for as little as $3, though most newer releases top out at $8 depending on the quality you choose. Brand-new movies that are still playing in theaters can cost a bit more, however, with some in-theater titles going for as much as $20 to rent.

How long can you stream movies after you rent them?

You typically get 30 days to start watching a title once you rent it. After you press play, you usually have 48 hours before your rental expires.

Can you buy streaming movies to keep permanently?

In many cases you can choose to buy a digital movie instead of just renting it. This will allow you to stream it whenever you want for as long as you want. Digital movie purchases typically range in price from $5 to $30 depending on how new a film is. 4K Ultra HD versions of movies are sometimes more expensive than high definition (HD) or standard definition (SD) versions.

It should be noted, however, that digital purchases aren’t quite as permanent as buying a DVD or Blu-ray. When you make a digital movie purchase, you’re essentially buying the license to keep streaming that title from the service you’ve selected. But, if that service somehow goes out of business or loses the rights to the title you bought, it’s possible that you’ll lose access to your digital copy.

Can you rent brand-new movies still playing in theaters?

In response to theater closures during the pandemic, studios have allowed people to stream many brand-new movies that would otherwise be exclusive to theaters.

Amazon Prime Video, Apple TV, Vudu, FandangoNow, and Google Play all offer these “in-theater” titles. Disney Plus also releases select in-theater movies via “Premier Access,” which requires an extra fee in addition to your regular subscription. Depending on the studio, some titles might only be available to rent, while others are only available to buy.

Prices for in-theater rentals can be as high as $30 per title. This may seem expensive if you’re planning to watch “Spiral: From The Book of Saw” on your own, but if you’re a parent with kids who would have otherwise spent a small fortune to see “Raya and the Last Dragon” in a theater – this is a steal. Rental prices are also reduced over time – “Raya,” for instance, is now just $6 to rent through VOD, or free to stream with a Disney Plus subscription.

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Emma Stone in “Cruella.”

Some notable ‘in-theater movies’ currently available to rent or own include:

Since the movie selection is about the same no matter which rental service you choose, picking a platform to use really comes down to choosing the app that works best on the devices you own. Below, we’ve broken down some key details for all of the major digital movie retailers.

Vudu

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The Vudu app interface is easy to navigate.

Vudu is available on many devices and even includes a selection of free movies with commercials.

Vudu maintains a massive inventory of titles to rent at various price points. The service used to charge more for 4K versions of its titles, but most movies are now priced the same regardless of their video quality.

The Vudu app is readily available on many platforms and recently expanded its support to Amazon Fire TV, which was one of the few devices it was missing from. We also like that its app tends to work well and support most features no matter what platform you use it on.

Vudu also has an edge over some competing services thanks to its “Free With Ads” selection. This collection of titles rotates practically every week, and though there are ads, breaks are rarely lengthy or too intrusive. So, if you’re trying to entertain on a budget and don’t feel like paying for a rental — this is one of the best options available.

Apple TV

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You can rent movies and sign up for Apple TV Plus in the same app.

Apple TV ties in seamlessly with the rest of Apple’s services.

Apple offers a large selection of movies to rent through its Apple TV app on a variety of connected devices. Though in-app transactions were originally limited to web browsers and mobile devices, you can now rent movies directly from the Apple TV app on most media players and smart TVs. 

The Apple TV app is also a strong performer when it comes to general video and audio quality. The service offers one of the largest 4K rental selections, giving you the best overall AV experience for your dollar.

As a bonus, the Apple TV app is also home to the Apple TV Plus streaming service. You have to pay a subscription fee of $5 a month to unlock Apple TV Plus content, but it’s convenient to be able to access TV Plus shows and movies in the same app as your rentals.

On the downside, the Apple TV app is not available on Android mobile devices.

FandangoNow

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FandangoNow lets you rent movies to watch on many devices.

FandangoNow is the only rental service with IMAX Enhanced movies for high-quality streaming on select Sony TVs.

Like all of the digital rental stores on our list, FandandgoNow offers a large selection of movies to choose from. The platform is also available on most connected devices, and was recently added to Apple TV products.

The service has been in the 4K streaming game a long time now and they do an impressive job bringing high quality picture and audio to homes. FandangoNow is also the only rental service currently offering support for the IMAX Enhanced format. This tech offers specially optimized HDR picture and DTS sound on supported Sony TVs.

If you have a Dolby Vision compatible TV or a Dolby Atmos audio setup, however, you’ll likely want to opt for Vudu or Apple TV since FandangoNow does not currently support those formats. 

Amazon Prime Video

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Prime Video has a big selection of rental options in addition to its subscription library.

Prime Video has a huge library of movies you can pay to rent, even if you’re not a Prime subscriber.

Amazon Prime Video does a lot of things right, and it provides an impressive list of digital rentals you can buy without a subscription. If you’re a Prime member you also gain the added benefit of a massive number of movies and shows as part of your subscription. On top of that — similar to Vudu — Amazon Prime offers a small selection of “Free With Ads” titles sponsored by IMDB.

Prime Video is one of the only digital retailers currently offering support for the HDR10+ format. With that said, the platform’s Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos support is sorely lacking as there are very few titles that offer those features. 

On that note, my main problem with Prime Video is its lack of clear format and quality labels. 4K HDR viewing options aren’t always available and it’s not even always clear whether a title is supposed to include those features or not.

Depending on the device you’re using, you often have to hunt specifically for the 4K UHD version of a movie or show to see if that option exists.

Google Play Movies/YouTube

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Google Play Movies is available on Android devices, while YouTube offers the same selection on smart TVs.

Google Play Movies and YouTube are both convenient rental service for Android users.

When it comes to movie selection, Google is basically on par with the other services on our list. That said, Google appears to be in the process of phasing out the Google Play Movies app. As reported by Variety, the service is no longer available on Roku devices or smart TVs from Samsung, LG, and Vizio. Instead, you can rent movies directly through Google’s YouTube app on those devices.

YouTube doesn’t have the best interface for highlighting Google’s selection of movie rentals, but the rental process works about the same as any other service once you’ve found a movie you’d like to watch.

Google Play Movies is still available as an app on Android devices, however, and I prefer this mobile interface for renting movies. It easily allows me to find what titles I have in my digital library and what titles offer 4K, as well as navigate new rentals and purchase options, shop deals, and browse what new “in-theater” titles are available.

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‘Godzilla vs. Kong’ is now available to buy on VOD streaming services – here’s how to watch the epic showdown at home

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  • Godzilla vs. Kong premiered on March 31 in theaters and on HBO Max.
  • This is the fourth entry in the “MonsterVerse” franchise featuring Godzilla and King Kong.
  • The movie left HBO Max on May 1, but you can buy it from VOD services like Prime Video for $30.

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King Kong and Godzilla have both seen their fair share of epic battles on the big screen. And while it’s not the first time the two have fought, their 2021 clash in “Godzilla vs. Kong” is the biggest yet.

The film is now available to stream through video on demand (VOD) retailers like Prime Video and Vudu. The movie left HBO Max on May 1, and it’s not clear when it will return.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” showcases the two monsters in battle with action-packed visuals far beyond those found in their first big-screen matchup in 1963. The film, according to HBO Max, depicts the giant ape looking to “find his true home.” Meanwhile, Godzilla is on a rampage and his anger leads to a battle between the two legendary titans. “Godzilla vs. Kong” stars Alexander Skarsgård, Millie Bobby Brown, Rebecca Hall, and Kaylee Hottle.

How to watch ‘Godzilla vs. Kong’

“Godzilla vs. Kong” premiered in US theaters and on HBO Max on March 31. The film left HBO Max on May 1, but you can buy it now through a number of VOD streaming retailers for $30.

These VOD retailers include Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, Google Play, Microsoft, and Fandango Now. It’s possible the movie could be added back to HBO Max in the future but no date has been announced.

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VOD retailers will let you stream “Godzilla vs. Kong” through a number of media players, web browsers, iOS and Android devices, and smart TVs. The film is also available in a number of formats, such as 4K with HDR, high definition (HD), and standard definition (SD). The movie supports Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision on select devices.

“Godzilla vs. Kong” will be released on Blu-ray and 4K Blu-ray on June 15. A digital rental option will likely be added in the coming months as well.

What other Warner Bros. movies are coming to HBO Max?

Aside from “Godzilla vs. Kong,” other movies set for day-and-date releases on HBO Max and in theaters include “Space Jam: A New Legacy” on July 16, “In The Heights” on June 18, and “The Suicide Squad” on August 6. You can check out the full list of Warner Bros. film releases heading to HBO Max in 2021 here.

HBO Max costs $15 a month. A $10 a month ad-supported plan will arrive in June, but this plan will not give you access to Warner Bros. movies still playing in theaters. Cable subscribers who pay for HBO can get HBO Max for free as part of their existing plan, although there are some limitations.

For detailed impressions, check out our full HBO Max review here.

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How to watch ‘The Little Things’ starring Denzel Washington through VOD streaming services

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  • The Little Things” starring Denzel Washington is now available through VOD platforms.
  • The movie was previously streaming on HBO Max, but it’s no longer included on the service.
  • You can rent the film for $20 through streaming retailers like Prime Video, Vudu, and more.

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The Little Things” is now available to rent through video-on-demand (VOD) services for $20. The film originally premiered on HBO Max on January 29, but was removed from the service on March 1.

The movie follows Deke, a deputy sheriff played by Denzel Washington, who winds up searching for a serial killer in Los Angeles. Deke meets Baxter (Rami Malek), a sergeant from the LA Sheriff’s Department, who tags along on the investigation. But as the search continues, it reveals secrets of Deke’s past. The thriller is directed by John Lee Hancock and also features actor Jared Leto.

Leto’s performance as Albert Sparma earned him two nominations at award ceremonies in 2021. The Golden Globes nominated Leto in the “Best Supporting Actor” category while the Screen Actors Guild Awards nominated him in the category for “Outstanding Performance by a Male Actor in a Supporting Role.”

How to watch ‘The Little Things’

“The Little Things” is now available to rent from VOD streaming retailers like Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, Apple TV, Google Play, Fandango Now, and Microsoft. Rentals are priced at $20.

“The Little Things” was previously available on HBO Max, but the film left the service on March 1 and it’s unclear when the movie will return.

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VOD rental services are available on most mobile devices, media players, and smart TVs. Rental options include 4K with HDR, high definition (HD), and standard definition (SD). You can also watch “The Little Things” with Dolby Atmos audio if your device and app of choice support it.

Most streaming retailers give you 30 days to start watching a rental and up to 48 hours to complete a film after playback is initiated.

Though the movie is currently only available via streaming, “The Little Things” will be released on DVD and Blu-ray starting May 4.

What other Warner Bros. movies are coming to HBO Max?

“The Little Things” premiered on HBO Max on January 29 and remained on the service until March 1. The movie is one of several Warner Bros. films set for day-and-date releases on HBO Max and in theaters throughout 2021.

The next Warner Bros. movie to appear on HBO Max will be “Mortal Kombat” on April 23. “The Matrix 4,” “Space Jam 2,” and more will also debut later this year. Here’s a complete list of every upcoming Warner Bros. movie with same-day releases on both HBO Max and in movie theaters.

HBO Max costs $15 a month. Cable subscribers who pay for HBO can get HBO Max for free as part of their existing plan, although there are some limitations.

For detailed impressions, check out our full HBO Max review here.

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How to watch ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’ – the Oscar nominee is now available to rent though VOD streaming services

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  • “Judas and the Black Messiah” premiered in theaters and on HBO Max on February 12.
  • The biopic stars Daniel Kaluuya as Chicago Black Panther Party chair Fred Hampton.
  • The film is now available to rent from VOD streaming services, like Prime Video and Vudu, for $20.

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“Judas and the Black Messiah,” a film based on the 1969 killing of Chicago Black Panther Party chairman Fred Hampton, has been nominated for six Academy Awards. The movie is now available to rent through services like Prime Video for $20.

“Judas and the Black Messiah” premiered on February 12 in theaters and on HBO Max, but its availability on HBO’s streaming service was only temporary. The movie was removed from HBO Max on March 14, but it could be added back at a later date.

The film chronicles the events leading to the joint FBI and police raid that saw more than 80 shots fired into Fred Hampton’s apartment as he slept. “Get Out” and “Queen & Slim” star Daniel Kaluuya plays Hampton in the film, while Lakeith Stanfield plays the FBI informant tasked with spying on Hampton and the Black Panthers.

For many Black activists, Hampton’s killing exemplified violent methods that racists and the government would use to suppress their movement, sowing years of distrust for Chicago police and federal law enforcement.

Years after Hampton’s death, it was revealed that the FBI had identified Hampton as a radical and launched a campaign to undermine his activism. They planted an informant named William O’Neal within the Black Panther Party to track Hampton’s actions and spread misinformation about Hampton to other Black activist groups in Chicago.

“Judas and the Black Messiah” has garnered critical acclaim from reviewers. The movie currently holds a “96% Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes and an 85/100 on Metacritic.

How to watch ‘Judas and the Black Messiah’

“Judas and the Black Messiah” is now available to rent through video-on-demand platforms. The movie premiered on HBO Max on February 12 and remained on the service through March 14. Though it’s no longer available on HBO Max, the film could be added back in the future.

To watch “Judas and the Black Messiah” at home you can rent it through services like Vudu, FandangoNow, Amazon Prime, iTunes, and Google Play. Rentals start at $20 but may vary based on your platform of choice.

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Most rental services give you a 30-day period to start watching a movie after you order it. Once you begin playback, you typically get 48 hours before the rental expires. “Judas and the Black Messiah” is available in 4K with Dolby Vision, HDR10, and Dolby Atmos via supported services on compatible devices.

If you want to own a physical copy of the movie, the Blu-ray disc is scheduled for release on May 4.

What other Warner Bros. movies are coming to HBO Max?

The latest Warner Bros. movie on HBO Max is the monster mash-up of “Godzilla vs. Kong.” Other upcoming releases include “Mortal Kombat,” “Space Jam: A New Legacy,” and “Matrix 4.”

Here’s a complete list of every upcoming Warner Bros. movie with same-day releases on both HBO Max and in movie theaters.

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‘Promising Young Woman’ is nominated for 5 Academy Awards – here’s how to watch the thriller at home

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Carey Mulligan in “Promising Young Woman.”

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Promising Young Woman” is now streaming through a variety of digital services. The thriller is the directorial debut of Emerald Fennell, whose previous writing credits include several episodes of “Killing Eve.”

The film tells the story of Cassandra Thomas (Carey Mulligan), a young woman who seizes the opportunity to take revenge on a group of men responsible for a traumatic event in her past. Fennell’s smart script and direction infuse the thriller with elements of dark comedy. The movie also stars comedian Bo Burnham as Mulligan’s love interest, along with Laverne Cox (“Orange is the New Black”), Clancy Brown (“Highlander”), and Alison Brie (“GLOW”).

The film received five 2021 Oscar nominations, including best picture, best directing (Fennell), best actress in a leading role (Mulligan), best original screenplay, and best film editing. “Promising Young Woman” was also nominated – but lost – in four categories at this year’s Golden Globes. Fennell was among two other female filmmakers nominated for best director. It was the most nominations for female directors in the show’s history.

The movie has received positive reviews from critics, and currently holds a 90% “Certified Fresh” rating on Rotten Tomatoes. If you want to see what has critics and audiences talking, you can now watch the film at home.

How to watch ‘Promising Young Woman’

Promising Young Woman” premiered on streaming services on January 15. The movie is currently only available to buy, but a rental option will return on March 16.

You can buy “Promising Young Woman” for $20 on a number of video-on-demand (VOD) platforms, including Amazon Prime Video, Vudu, FandangoNow, RedBox, Apple TV, Google Play, and Microsoft.

The movie is available in a number of formats, including 4K Ultra HD with HDR, high definition (HD), or standard definition (SD). Once the rental option is added back, most platforms will allow you to rent the film for a 30-day period but, after you start the movie, you only have 48 hours to watch it.

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Digital rental services are available on a variety of media devices and smart TVs. You can find more information about how to rent movies online here.

For people who prefer DVD and Blu-ray releases, “Promising Young Woman” will be available to buy on disc starting March 16. You can preorder the Blu-ray for $25 on Amazon, which is just $5 more than the cost to buy the streaming copy.

What other Oscar-nominated films can I watch?

Aside from “Promising Young Woman,” a number of other Oscar-nominated movies are available to watch at home through VOD providers and streaming services. This includes best picture nominees “The Trial of the Chicago 7” and “Mank,” which are both available exclusively on Netflix.

Nomadland,” another nominee for best picture, follows a woman leaving her small town behind to travel across America in search of a new life. It was released on Hulu on February 19, the same day the movie premiered in theaters.

There are several ways you can watch Hulu, but our recommendation is to take advantage of the $13 per month bundle that includes ESPN+ and Disney Plus. The bundle will also give you access to other Oscar-nominated films, like “Onward” and “Soul” on Disney Plus.

Meanwhile, if you want to watch the music-centric film “Sound of Metal,” another nominee for best picture, you can stream it exclusively through Prime Video. The streaming service alone costs $9 a month, but it can be paired with Amazon Prime for $13 a month or $119 a year.

Other best picture nominees “The Father” and “Minari” are – or will soon be – available through VOD platforms. “Minari,” a drama following a Korean American family’s new life in the US, is currently available to rent for $20 via platforms like Vudu and Prime Video. “The Father,” on the other hand, will be available to purchase starting March 26.

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