Same day movie streaming the future of cinema?

By Jasmin Faisal, LIFESTYLE EDITOR
On April 17, 2016

During CinemaCon, held  Monday through Thursday in Las Vegas, Nevada, a variety of both industry workers and audience members who were present, showed their disdain for Screening Room, the latest idea from Sean Parker and Prem Akkaraju.

Screening Room is a piracy-proof box that will allow movies to be streamed to the owner’s home on the date of their theatrical release. According to Variety, the box would cost $150, while each individually streamed movie would cost $50 a piece.

According to Mashable, the business plan for the idea was Parker’s — Napster and Facebook co-founder — and was leaked a day before the convention. Since then, those in Hollywood have not been happy.

Screening Room has sparked outrage from a number of industry professionals, including director James Cameron, Walt Disney Studio Executive VP of distribution Dave Hollis, director Todd Phillips and the National Association of Theater Owners chairman John Fithian.

“Despite the noisy suggestions otherwise,” said Sen. Chris Dodd, MPAA chairman. “The cinema provides a unique and powerful experience that just cannot be truly re-created elsewhere.”

However, not everyone in Hollywood is against the idea. Parker has gotten the support of famous directors Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Peter Jackson. 

“Much has been said of technologies that threaten the theater experience,” said Abrams during the convention. “I’m open to all good ideas. 

“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. We have to adapt. We need to meet that challenge with excitement, and create solutions, not fear.”

According to Variety, one in four consumers said they would pay for a service similar to Screening Room, however others were put off by the price, saying that instead they would be willing to pay a maximum of $35 to see new releases from the comfort of their home.

If Screening Room is to become a reality, it already faces a challenging road ahead, with many studios, filmmakers and fans opposing it.

“I assure you,” said Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros. Entertainment. “We are not going to let a third party or middle man come between us.”

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