×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Peter Jackson Says Screening Room Grows the Movie Business (EXCLUSIVE)

Sean Parker and Prem Akkaraju- backed startup offers day-and-date releases in the home for $50

Peter Jackson said he is backing Screening Room, the controversial start-up that wants to deliver new releases to homes while they are still in theaters, because it captures an audience that does not go to the cinema.

Screening Room will expand the audience for a movie — not shift it from cinema to living room,” Jackson said in a statement.

Jackson isn’t the only big name backing the venture. He is joined as a shareholder by Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Brian Grazer, Martin Scorsese, Taylor Hackford,  Frank Marshall, and J.J. Abrams.

Screening Room, the brainchild of entrepreneurs Sean Parker and Prem Akkaraju, offers movies for $50 at the same time as they open in theaters. It plans to charge $150 for access to the anti-piracy equipped set-top box that transmits the films and will give customers 48 hours to watch the movies. The hope is to capture middle-aged audiences whose family responsibilities prevent them from routinely going to the theater.

After Variety broke the news of Jackson’s involvement, some questioned whether he was back-tracking on his earlier support for theatrical release windows. In 2011, Jackson was among more than 20 directors who signed a letter decrying a deal that several major studios made with DirecTV to rent several releases eight weeks after they landed in theaters. Other signatories included Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, James Cameron and Guillermo del Toro.

But in a statement to Variety, Jackson explained that he believed that the DirecTV deal would imperil the theatrical business, while Screening Room will grow overall revenues for the industry.

Here is Jackson’s full statement:

“I had concerns about ‘DirecTV’ in 2011, because it was a concept that I believe would have led to the cannibalization of theatrical revenues, to the ultimate detriment of the movie business.

Screening Room, however, is very carefully designed to capture an audience that does not currently go to the cinema.

That is a critical point of difference with the DirecTV approach – and along with Screening Room’s robust anti-piracy strategy, is exactly why Screening Room has my support.

Screening Room will expand the audience for a movie – not shift it from cinema to living room. It does not play off studio against theater owner. Instead it respects both, and is structured to support the long term health of both exhibitors and distributors – resulting in greater sustainability for the wider film industry itself.”

As Jackson argues, Screening Room is intended to serve as a bridge between studios and theater owners. The plan is to cut exhibitors in on as much as $20 out of the $50 fee and give customers two free tickets to a film, so they will be enticed to buy concessions. Studios also get a substantial percentage of the fee.

Studios such as Universal and Fox are weighing the proposal, and AMC is interested in the company’s offer. Other exhibitors, such as Regal, are believed to be skeptical of the plan. The start-up is challenging established business practices. Wide-release films are typically in theaters for 90 days before hitting home entertainment platforms.

Parker is best known for his roles in Internet companies such as Napster, Facebook and Spotify. Akkaraju has ties to the entertainment industry from stints as a partner at the electronic music company SFX Entertainment and as global head of operations at Sanctuary Music Group.

More Film

  • IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for

    IFFAM: Erik Matti Hatches Plans for ‘On The Job’ Franchise

    Filipino director Erik Matti is known for his eclectic body of work that includes “Honor Thy Father” and “Seklusyon.” His 2013 effort, “On The Job” travelled widely and won several awards including two at the Bucheon International Fantastic Film Festival, and was nominated for an SACD Prize at the Cannes Directors’ Fortnight. Matti is at [...]

  • Joan Chen attends the season premiere

    Joan Chen Talks Diversity in Hollywood, Welcomes #MeToo

    Chinese-American actress, writer and director Joan Chen says that she was flattered when Time magazine described her as the “Elizabeth Taylor of China.” When asked at an in-conversation event in Singapore on Saturday whether she paved the way for Chinese actresses to follow in Hollywood, Chen said, “We never go to work because we want [...]

  • Kyzza Terrazas Joins Garcia Bernal, Diego

    Kyzza Terrazas Joins Gael Garcia Bernal, Diego Luna’s La Corriente del Golfo (EXCLUSIVE)

    BUENOS AIRES — Launching their new production house, La Corriente de Golfo, last April, Gael García Bernal and Diego Luna have tapped Mexican writer-director Kyzza Terrazas as the company’s head of development. The appointment will certainly help build the company appointing an old-rounder capable of overseeing and implementing development, writing and directing, and a longtime [...]

  • IFFAM Actress in Focus: Yao Chen

    IFFAM Actress in Focus: Yao Chen Talks Performing, Producing and Public Pressure

    Macao’s Actress in Focus is a woman who has trained as a boxer, likes British actors, especially Benedict Cumberbatch and Jeremy Irons, and is now setting out her stall as a producer. Yao Chen has built a career over 20 years thanks to TV shows including “My Own Swordsman,” and films including “If You Are [...]

  • Bradley Liew's 'Motel Acacia' Shoots After

    Cautionary Tale, 'Motel Acacia' Under Way After Four Years of Development

    Production has begun on Malaysian director Bradley Liew’s upscale horror film “Motel Acacia.” With a clearly topical message, the film features a hotel bed that eats immigrants. Actor, JC Santos called it: “A cautionary tale of what’s going to happen in the future.” Indonesian star, Nicholas Saputra said the he agreed to the role “because [...]

  • Jon M. ChuUnforgettable Gala, Inside, Los

    'Crazy Rich Asians' Honored at Unforgettable Awards: 'One Movie Every 25 Years is Just Not F—ing Enough'

    Fresh on the heels of its Golden Globe nomination, “Crazy Rich Asians” was the talk of the evening at Kore Asian Media’s 17th annual Unforgettable Awards. Saturday’s event, which celebrates Asian-American trailblazers and their achievements in the entertainment industry, honored a host of Asian actors, directors and influencers, including “Crazy Rich Asians” director Jon M. [...]

  • (L to R) Marco Graf as

    'Roma' Named Best Film of 2018 by L.A. Film Critics Association

    Members of the Los Angeles Film Critics Assn. met today to vote on the year’s best cinema accomplishments. Recent winners of the group’s top prize include “Call Me by Your Name,” “Moonlight,” “Spotlight,” “Boyhood,” “Her”/”Gravity” and “Amour.” List of winners below. Best Film: “Roma” (Runner-up: “Burning”) Best Director: Debra Granik, “Leave No Trace”(Runner-up: Alfonso Cuaron, “Roma”) [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content