A startup dubbed Screening Room wants you to pay $50 to watch new movies at home at the same time they hit movie theaters.
A report from Variety says the company is backed by Sean Parker, a co-founder of Napster and former Facebook President. It says that Parker is partnering with music executive Prem Akkaraju in this in-home movie service.
Jeff Blake, the former chief of Sony Pictures worldwide marketing and distribution, is also said to be tapped by Parker as a consultant for the company.
Citing its sources, Variety says that Screening Room will reportedly charge consumers about $150 to gain access to a secure set-top box plus $50 for a 48-hour movie rental.
Parker and Akkaraju's firm is trying to get exhibitors on board by offering them a share on its revenue, which is $20 for every movie. To sweeten the deal, Screening Room is also going to give away two tickets to those who fork out $50 so they can watch the movie at a cinema of their choice. This will enable cinema owners to profit from concession sales later on. Moreover, the startup is said to share 20 percent of the proceeds to participating distributors.
Variety says that "more than a half dozen" sources who are industry insiders confirmed that the company's representatives had met up with major Hollywood studios and cinema owners to promote this venture.
During presentations, the company's officials have told executives of major studios that it is already close to a deal with AMC Theaters, which previously bought Carmike Cinemas for more than a billion dollars.
While the report says that some studios, such as Sony, Fox and Universal, appear to be interested in the plan, it also says that Disney isn't fascinated with it.
A report from Deadline also cites a studio distribution executive saying that if Screening Room turns out to be true, this would be the start of "the end" and that "half of theaters in this country would close."
"This news is so damaging, I can't tell you right now how unhappy I am," says another executive.
Photo : Jereme Rauckman | Flickr