Chris Nolan and Jon Favreau add their voices to April’s open letter appeal by The National Association of Theater Owners protesting to DirecTV’s new Premium VOD service, Home Premiere. Home Premiere is a video-on-demand service backed by four major studios, Fox, Universal, Warner Bros., and Sony, which provides audiences with the opportunity to rent a new film two months after release, for the price of $29.95. According to THR, the Batman Begins and Iron Man directors are two of the latest signatories to oppose the service among a group of high profile talent including Quentin Tarantino, M. Night Shyamalan and David Dobkin, plus screenwriter Mark Boal (The Hurt Locker) and former president of Warner Home Video, Jim Cardwell.
Hit the jump for more on this controversy.
Home Premiere has already sparked considerable displeasure among cinema owners and directors alike, who claim that shortening the window between theatrical release and film rental/ VOD services from four months to two will detract from the “cinematic experience”, and who argue that their films were crafted to be shown on “the big screen”. With todays news, the full list of directors and producers opposed to the service grows ever longer. Currently signatories already include James Cameron, Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, Michael Mann, and Gore Verbinski to mention just a few.
In addition to the letter of appeal, some cinemas reacted to the service by threatening to exclude or limit trailers and posters to films from Fox, Universal, Warner Bros. and Sony. THR reports that sources inside the four studios claim that relations between theaters and studios are beginning to repair, but slowly, and so far all sides are refusing to comment.
Honestly, I can’t see what the fuss is about. For a long time now the theatrical experience hasn’t been as peachy as exhibitors make out. For the price of $29.95, which isn’t exactly cheap, even factoring in more than one viewer per watch, punters can avoid what, frankly, has become the hassle of ‘the cinematic experience': distractingly noisy audiences, lengthy ticket queues and untidy, rubbish strewn theatres to name but a few gripes.
Also, as indignant as they are about Home Premiere, this posse of heavyweight Hollywood filmmakers aren’t raising their voices in anger at how their films are being projected in cinemas. Why aren’t they fighting for theaters to hire competent projectionists? If they’re celebrating the “cinematic experience”, then why aren’t they chastising theaters for making that experience so terrible for consumers?