A divide appears to be forming within the filmmaking community, as Nolan aligns himself with James Cameron and his producing partner Jon Landau in opposition to the proposal.
On the other side, Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Brian Grazer, Ron Howard, J.J. Abrams and Peter Jackson support the technology and have become stakeholders in the company. They maintain that Screening Room could grow overall revenues for the business by targeting movie watchers who do not regularly see films in a theater.
AMC is believed to be close to a deal with Screening Room, and several studios are actively studying the proposal.
In stating his opposition, Nolan cited Landau and Cameron’s own explanation.
“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,” he wrote in an email.
In an earlier statement, Landau, speaking for the pair, said, “Both Jim and I remain committed to the sanctity of the in-theater experience. For us, from both a creative and financial standpoint, it is essential for movies to be offered exclusively in theaters 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.”
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Variety first reported last week that Sean Parker, of Facebook and Napster fame, and his partner Prem Akkaraju, formerly of the electronic music company SFX Entertainment, had developed a plan to offer new releases for $50 per 48-hour view. Customers would also pay $150 for access to the technology, which is said to be piracy-proof.
The National Association of Theatre Owners, an exhibition industry lobbying group, released a statement Wednesday suggesting that any efforts to shrink the theatrical release window should be done in coordination between studios and theaters, and without a third party. That was a clear reference to Screening Room.