Art And Culture

Home Plan Offer for New Film Releases

Home Plan Offer for New Film ReleasesHome Plan Offer for New Film Releases

A startup backed by Sean Parker of Facebook and Napster fame is trying to encourage Hollywood studios and exhibitors to secure anti-piracy technology that will offer new releases in the home on the same day they hit theaters.

Called the Screening Room, the plan would charge about $150 for access to the set-top box that transmits the movies and charge $50 per view. Consumers have a 48-hour window to view the film, sources tell Variety.

The idea is to capture an audience older than teens and young adults, who might have responsibilities such as children that prevent them from going to the theater.

To get exhibitors on board, the company proposes cutting them in on a significant percentage of the revenue, as much as $20 of the fee. As an added incentive to theater owners, Screening Room is also offering customers who pay $50, two free tickets to see the movie at a cinema of their choice. That way, exhibitors would get the added benefit of profiting from concession sales to moviegoers.

Participating distributors would also get a cut of the $50-per-view proceeds, also believed to be 20%, before Screening Room took its own fee of 10%.

Representatives from the Screening Room have been pounding the pavement in recent months, meeting with all of the major studios and feeling out exhibitors, more than a half dozen industry insiders confirmed to Variety.

There is serious interest from several of the major studios, including Universal, Fox and Sony. Those studios are continuing to study the business plan and deal terms and remain engaged in discussions with Screening Room. However, many cautioned that the talks are still in the initial stages. For its part, Disney does not appear to be interested in the plan.

A number of Hollywood’s heavyweight filmmakers have supported the initiative so far. Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, J.J. Abrams, Brian Grazer, Martin Scorsese, Taylor Hackford, Frank Marshall and Ron Howard are among those backing the company. Only some of them have invested money, but all are shareholders in the start-up.

However, some exhibitors have resisted any moves to shorten the amount of time between a film’s theatrical release and its debut on home entertainment platforms. Many believe that any effort to shrink that window undermines the health of their business and encourages people to stay home.