Will Theater Owners Make It Hard for You To See The Hangover Part II and Other Summer Blockbusters?
When the news about Home Premiere -- the DirecTV service that will allow subscribers to watch relatively new movies in their homes 60 days after release for the totally reasonable price of $30 -- leaked during CinemaCon two weeks ago, the National Association of Theater Owners was predictably upset: "[We] repeatedly, publicly and privately, raised concerns and questions about the wisdom [of early on-demand movies]," said the group in a statement. "These studios have made their decision in what they no doubt perceive to be their best interests. Theater owners will do the same." So they have -- and now it affects you.
Speaking to The Financial Times, John Fithian, the president and chief executive of NATO, alluded to the fact that theater owners would look to give more screen space to summer movies not being released by Warner Bros., Twentieth Century Fox, Universal and Sony -- the four studios working with Home Premiere.
"Let's say you're Regal Cinemas and it's a busy weekend with a couple of big pictures opening," Fithian said. "If it's 50-50 between this picture and that picture and you have a partner that respects your model and another one that doesn't, you're going to give the screen to the partner that respects your model." Translation: During a busy July weekend, it might be easier for you to purchase tickets for the Paramount-released Super 8 than the Warner Bros.-released The Hangover Part II.
According to The Financial Times, the studios have yet to comment -- but don't expect that to last long.