Napster Founder Bringing $50 Movie Rentals to the Home

/ 5 years ago

sean parker

Sean Parker, philanthropist, Napster founder, and Facebook investor, is said to be working on a project to bring $50 movie rentals to the home. $50? For a movie? Is he nuts? Well, not exactly. Parker’s plan is to make movies available to home viewers on the day of their cinema release, calling the project Screening Room. No need to venture to your latest cinema, nor wait the industry standard 8-12 weeks for the DVD or Blu-Ray release; Screening Room is designed to allow home viewing of new films, while maintaining the prestige (and profit margin) of a box office release.

According to Variety, Screening Room rentals would be transmitted via internet to a $150 set-top box, with each $50 rental available for 48 hours. Parker is keen to get the backing of Hollywood studios for the endeavour, offering them 40% of the takings, while Screening Room would only take an agent’s fee of 10%. The rest of the takings would go to film distributors.

While AMC, the largest cinema chain in the world, is thought to be on-board already, many in Hollywood are resistant to the idea. “This news is so damaging,” one anonymous studio distribution executive told Deadline. “I can’t tell you right now how unhappy I am.” Another insider warned that Screening Room “would be the beginning of the end, and half of the theaters in this country would close.”

Despite their fears, a Variety Twitter poll suggests that film fans are not overly enamoured of the idea:

Image courtesy of Business Insider.

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