Odeon’s chief executive has made it known that the cinema chain is not threatened by day and date movie streaming service, Screening Room, the movie streaming service from Napster co-founder and former Facebook president Sean Parker and entertainment mogul Prem Akkaraju.

This is despite being backed by Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson, J.J. Abrams, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard and Jeff Blake, the former vice chairman of Sony Pictures.

As reported on The Telegraph, Paul Donovan, Odeon’s chief executive commented: “I don’t see this as something that has a great future.

“I’m a marketer by background and I always ask myself does a product meet a human need? I really question how many people really need to see a film the day it comes out and are willing to spend $200 to avoid going to the cinema.”

Screening Room will offer movies on the same day of release for the home for $50 (£35) per movie, charging $150 (£110) for access to its anti-piracy equipped set-top box that will transmit the movies.

To ensure that cinemas are placated, Screening Room will reportedly give them $20 (£14) out of every $50 and customers will also get two free cinema tickets to see the movie at the cinema.

Paul is not the only one against Screening Room, however; directors James Cameron, Christopher Nolan and Hollywood producer Jon Landau also remain unconvinced.

In an interview with Deadline, Cameron and Landau described how movies should “be offered exclusively in theatres for their initial release.”

Landau said: “Both Jim and I remain committed to the sanctity of the in-theatre experience. For us, from both a creative and financial standpoint, it is essential for movies to be offered exclusively in theatres 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. To us, the in-theatre experience is the wellspring that drives our entire business, regardless of what other platforms we eventually play on and should eventually play on.

“No one is against playing in the home, but there is a sequencing of events that leads to it. The in-theatre communal experience is very special.”

Both Landau and Cameron also remain unconvinced that the Screening Room’s set-top box will be as ‘piracy-proof’ as it claims.

Others have already noted that it can be circumvented just by recording the screen the movie is being played on using a HD camera.

“Once something is available in the home, you open yourself up to a vulnerability of piracy and what we have learned is that people who watch pirated movies, do not care about the quality of what they watch,” Landau observed.

“I heard Today show hosts talk on air about, ‘Oh great, let’s have opening day event parties at our home to watch the movie.’ Who knows how many people would attend? As an industry, we have a responsibility to support all the theatres not only the big chains in big cities, but all theatres — in small towns and the small chains, too. We do that by creating quality content and the theatre owners have a responsibility to continually upgrade their theatres to provide a state of the art presentations,” he continued.

“I really view the distributors and theatre owners as partners in this industry and we need to work together to continue to create an in-theatre special experience for moviegoers around the world.”

Christopher Nolan agreed with the two Hollywood giants: “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.”

The home cinema market should watch this space…


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