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, a Premium VOD service backed by four major studios, is set to launch tomorrow on DirecTV. The service would charge consumers $30 to watch movies only sixty days after they first hit theaters. Theaters, fearing that their revenues will be drastically cut, have responded with threats that range from believable to ridiculous. Now 23 directors and producers, including James Cameron, Michael Bay, Kathryn Bigelow, Guillermo del Toro, Peter Jackson, Michael Mann, and Gore Verbinski have released an open letter siding with the theaters.
In the letter, the signers make the point that just because Premium VOD launches at $30, it doesn’t mean it will stay there and it could conceivably drop to $10 within a few year. Hit the jump for the full letter.
Theater owners are none-too-pleased about the decision from Warner Bros., Sony, 20th Century Fox, and Universal to launch a premium VOD service this month. Exhibitors believe that the service, which will rent movies for thirty dollars 60 days after the film has hit theaters, will significantly cut into theater revenues. Earlier this month, we learned that Regal Cinemas was making the convincing threat to cut trailers and pull posters for the four studios’ big summer movies. It was a proportional response designed to let the studios know that the theaters were finally going to fight back–not in anyway that actually benefits the average moviegoer–but in a way that would let the studios know that theaters weren’t going to take this potential revenue cut lying down.
And now that believable threat has been followed by an unbelievable threat: not showing the blockbuster movies of the studios involved in the premium VOD service. Hit the jump for more. [Updated with a comment from NATO and a denial to the claim that it has instructed theaters not to show movies]
Later this month, Universal, 20th Century Fox, Warner Bros., and Sony plan to launch a premium video-on-demand service that is causing much consternation among theater owners. The service would shorten the theatrical-to-home-entertainment window to two months and allow rental of semi-new releases for around $30. Since I’m silly and naïve, I hoped that theaters would make positive chances that would lure consumers out of their homes and back into auditoriums. Instead, Deadline reports that Regal Cinemas is planning to retaliate by cutting the trailers and posters of these studios just as blockbuster season is upon us. Studios would then be forced to make up the difference by heavily marketing on TV, which is expensive and doesn’t have the benefit of a captive audience.
Hit the jump for more on this intriguing development.
Next month, Warner Bros., Sony, Universal, and 20th Century Fox are set to launch “Home Premiere”, a premium VOD service that will offer movies for home viewing only two months after their theatrical debut. Variety reports that movies on the service will cost up to $30 for a two-to-three day viewing period and the service will launch exclusively on DirecTV. Certain cable companies will introduce Home Premiere to certain cities for an undisclosed period of time around the end of April.
Warner Bros. plans to launch with Unknown while Sony’s first premium VOD title will be Just Go With It. However, plans could change closer to launch. Studios also don’t plan to release films to the Home Premiere service if they’re still doing well in theaters. Hit the jump for my thoughts on this new service.