Napster co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker has a new project that looks to change the movies.
The proposed service would offer new movies, right in your living room, for $50, the same day they open in theaters. Screening Room users would also need an anti-piracy set-top box, supplied by the company for $150, in order to watch the films. Users will have 48 hours to watch the movies after purchase. While this may deter some people from going to the theater, Parker believes it will capture an audience that might otherwise wait for the film to come out on DVD or Blu-ray. Movie theater owners will also benefit from this service as they could get as much as $20 of the $50 movie fee. Customers will also get two free tickets to see the movie in theaters, which could lead to more in-theater purchases.
According to a report from Variety, Parker's project is gaining support from top studio executives. Peter Jackson voiced his support for the service, saying, "Screening Room will expand the audience for a movie – not shift it from cinema to living room. It does not play off studio against theater owner. Instead it respects both, and is structured to support the long term health of both exhibitors and distributors – resulting in greater sustainability for the wider film industry itself." Jackson is backing the project as a shareholder, as are Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Martin Scorsese, Taylor Hackford, Frank Marshall, and J.J. Abrams. Theater companies, like Cinemark, are wary of the service.
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