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Controversial 'Screening Room' Asks for $50 to Watch New Release Movies at Home

Posted by: , 16:32 AEDT, Tue March 15, 2016

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New digital platform gives users the option to watch the latest theatrical releases at home ... for a price
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Image/Photo Credit: EvelynGiggles @ Flickr, CC

A new digital movie platform that aims to bring the latest movies to people's homes the same day as it screens in theaters has now attracted plenty of big name backers, as well as numerous detractors.

The platform, called Screening Room, is backed by Hollywood heavyweights including Martin Scorsese, Steven Spielberg, Peter Jackson and JJ Abrams, will give movie lovers a chance to watch the latest theatrical releases in the comfort of their own homes, using a proprietary secure set-top-box.

But the platform has already attracted scores of criticism, from not only users who have balked at the idea of paying $50 per movie (plus $150 for the set-top-box), but also cinema chains afraid of losing their exclusivity window.

To sweeten the deal for the likes of AMC and Regal, Screening Room plans to cut cinema chains as much as $20 for every movie being rented, as well as including two tickets for the user to watch the movie at theaters, to help bolster theater concession sales.

With such a generous offer, it is reported that a deal with AMC may be close, but others like Regal are standing firm against this perceived encroachment into their business model.

Movie studio executives also warned about the potential damage this would cause to cinema chains. "It would be the beginning of the end, and half of the theaters in this country would close," said an unnamed studio executive.

In a further ironic twist, Screening Room is currently being promoted around Hollywood by none other than Napster's Sean Parker, previously the poster boy for not paying for content, who now want users to pay a little bit more than they're willing.


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