A new service dubbed "the Screening Room" plans to offer movies in the comfort of your living room the same day they hit theatres for $50 per title. Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, Martin Scorsese and J.J. Abrams support the project but others remain skeptical, according to Variety.
The Screening Room
The movie rental service has yet to launch but tech billionaire Sean Parker (Napster and Facebook) and Prem Akkaraju with a history in the music industry are currently making the rounds in Hollywood to sell the concept, according to a report from Variety.
"The Screening Room" is in essence a cinema in your living room. For $50 dollars per title you can watch the latest and greatest movies in your home for 48 hours. In addition, you need a $150 secure set-top box.
A service like this is bound to be controversial. The Hollywood industry is built on so-called “windows”. The first exclusive release window has traditionally been the movie theatre release. Only after 90 days or more the movie is released for sale or rent.
Filmmakers supportive, others are skeptical
The Screening Room might is still just a concept and traditionally movie theatre chains have preferred to maintain status quo.
Variety reports that the team has approached theatre chains and is prepared to cut them in on a significant share of the sales, reportedly as much as $20 dollars per title. With the purchase viewers get two tickets to watch the movie in the cinema.
The team has reportedly also approached all major film studios. Universal, Fox and Sony are considering signing the deal. Disney has refused the offer. AMC, soon-to-be the largest theatre chain, is close to jumping onboard. Regal on the other hand remains skeptical. The Screening Room is apparently hoping to get exclusive rights to movies in the first release window outside the cinema.
Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, J.J. Abrams, Martin Scorsese, Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are backing the project, according to sources. They all own shares in the company but have not all invested money in it. The vice president of Sony also owns shares in the company.
Peter Jackson has commented publicly on the matter says that the ”Screening Room will expand the audience for a movie - not shift it from cinema to living room”.