Go to the mall, see a movie...and buy it with your smartphone

At specific shopping malls across the country, Fox is creating "wallscapes" of images and titles that will let people buy movies with their smartphones.

Greg Sandoval Former Staff writer
Greg Sandoval covers media and digital entertainment for CNET News. Based in New York, Sandoval is a former reporter for The Washington Post and the Los Angeles Times. E-mail Greg, or follow him on Twitter at @sandoCNET.
Greg Sandoval
2 min read
A photo of one of the 'wallscapes' where film fans can use their iPhone or Android phone to buy a movie that is shipped to their home. 20th Century Fox

Folks interested in buying movies can either get them at brick-and-mortar stores or online. Now the film studio Twentieth Century Fox is trying a new tack aimed at combining the two, albeit in a convoluted fashion.

Fox has partnered with Taubman Centers, which operates shopping malls across the country, to create virtual storefronts in Taubman's physical shopping malls.

The storefronts are "wallscapes" that feature photos and titles from Fox movies. Users can scan a QR code found on the wall using iPhone or Android phones that will direct them online to finalize their purchase. After that, the movie will be shipped to the customer's home, Fox said in a release.

Okay, this is the kind of convenience and Buck Rogers-retail experience we were promised with emergence of digital wallets, but we obviously still have a long way to go. Why do I have to go online to complete the purchase? Why can't I just scan and have the transaction finalized automatically?

Why does this offer restrict me to a disc? I should be able to download the movie right then, or at least receive a code so I can retrieve the movie from the cloud.

To be fair, it must be pointed out that the shortcomings with digital wallet are not Fox's fault and the studio is the first in Hollywood to attempt this kind of digital-physical strategy so the rough spots will likely be improved with time.

The film industry is hell-bent on persuading consumers to buy and collect movies again, and this seems like a clever way to push impulse buying. This technology is developing, and if it can be secured and the process streamlined, there may be a future for this kind of shopping.

The wallscapes can be found in such malls as the Beverly Center in Los Angeles, Cherry Creek Shopping Center in Denver and the Fair Oaks Mall in Fairfax, Va.