Seemingly out of nowhere, a new service called Screening Room could soon let consumers watch new movies the same day they hit theaters — for a hefty price. On Wednesday, Variety reported that movie studios and the Sean Parker-backed startup have been in negotiations to help make the service a reality. And today, Variety claims some of Hollywood's biggest directors — Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams, and Peter Jackson among them — are supportive of the idea. Some of the directors involved (Ron Howard and Brian Grazer are also named) have already invested in the business.
Screening Room plans to charge $150 for access to a tightly-secured set-top box that would let people skip theater lines and watch brand new films in their own living room. On top of the equipment cost, viewers would have to pay $50 per screening, and they'd get only 48 hours to watch the movie after laying down that money. Theaters and movie exhibitors are expected to receive a decent chunk of profits to offset complaints that Screening Room could potentially throw a wrench into their profits.
Theater owners could take in as much as "$20 of the $50 fee" according to Variety, and users would also get two free tickets to any movie paid for at home to encourage seeing it again at their local cinema. So far, representatives for the filmmakers aren't commenting. But the buzz around Screening Room is amping up considerably, so hopefully we'll hear more about how it'll all work — and if everyone's willing to play ball — very soon.