Following the news that Sean Parker has started a company that plans to offer rentals of movies still in theaters for $50 each, the biggest directors in Hollywood are coming out with their opinions. And some are strongly opposed to the venture.
The latest opponent is Christopher Nolan, the auteur behind “The Dark Knight” movies and “Inception,” who wrote in an email to Variety on Wednesday, “It would be hard to express the great importance of exclusive theatrical presentation to our industry more compellingly than Jon Landau and James Cameron did,” referring to the earlier statement from Landaru and Cameron, producer and director of “Avatar” and “Titanic,” respectively.
“Both Jim and I remain committed to the sanctity of the in-theater experience,” Landau said. “For us, from both a creative and financial standpoint, it is essential for movies to be offered exclusively in theaters for their initial release. We don’t understand why the industry would want to provide audiences an incentive to skip the best form to experience the art that we work so hard to create.”
The Screening Room would offer consumers the option to buy a $150 anti-piracy set-top box to permit them to rent for 48 hours movies that are still showing in theaters. A portion of the $50 fee would go to exhibitors, and customers would receive two tickets to their local multiplex for the movie they rented.
Directors who are for the model include Peter Jackson, J.J. Abrams, Ron Howard, Steven Spielberg, and Martin Scorsese.
But the National Association of Theatre Owners issued a statement saying that it’s against Screening Room. AMC is so far the only large theater chain supporting the model.
“More sophisticated window modeling may be needed for the growing success of a modern movie industry,” the association’s statement said. “Those models should be developed by distributors and exhibitors in company-to-company discussions, not by a third party.”
Parker and and cofounder/CEO Prem Akkaraju have yet to speak publicly about Screening Room.