At this week's annual convention of cinema owners, CinemaCon, showbiz executives were not speaking from the same script about Screening Room, a startup aimed at offering movies at home for $50 on the same day they open in theaters.
Filmmaker J.J. Abrams told theater owners, “We need to do everything we can in this age of piracy, digital technology, and disruption to be thoughtful partners in the evolution of this medium.” When Screening Room was first proposed by Sean Parker of Napster fame, Abrams spoke in support of it.
Parker’s idea has raised the ire of exhibitors. Chief among them, John Fithian who heads up the National Association of Theatre Owners. He told KPCC, “[T]here's been suggestions of late of disrupting that business model. We're not against evolution. It's just that the people who want to determine this evolution are the distributors and theater owners, negotiating together about how we should do this, and not third-parties with ideas from the outside.”
Who should lead changes in so-called day-and-date releases of new movies? What would you be willing to pay to watch “The Jungle Book” at home tonight, instead of on a big screen?
Claudia Puig, Film Critic for KPCC; she tweets from @ClaudiaPuig