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.

· Cinemas in threat over TV screenings [FT]


  • KevyB says:

    So they want to limit their income even more? What happens if these movies are in 3-D? Not everybody just wanders over to another movie when the one they want to see is full.
    The whole thing is especially dumb as the people willing to pay $30 to see it at home are most likely the same ones that'll just wait until it hits pay-per-view or Netflix.

  • jackmurphy1969 says:

    Let me get this straight. Some studios have pissed off some of the chains with this Direct TV deal, so they're threatening to retaliate by taking screens away from the participating studios films. How does this not backfire on the theater chains. I don't have Direct, most I know don't have Direct. I have FIOS, most everyone else I know has a cable provider. Do the theaters really want to piss us off and risk loosing our business by making it harder for us to see the movies we want to see? I'll drive farther to see a movie that I want to see, if necessary. Most everyone else that i know will wait for the DVD, THAT will really show the movie studios.

  • Sarah says:

    Theater owners: fighting one terrible idea with another terrible idea.

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