We've reported before on Sean Parker's so-called Screening Room project, which would work essentially like a premium-level Netflix for major films just released in cinema.
The idea, at the time, didn't generate that much interest, but it now appears as those major studios are considering cutting out the middle men ala Sean Parker and Netflix and going straight to home releases themselves. A report by Bloomberg suggests that Kevin Tsujihara of Warner Bros. is seriously considering the option. At an investor's conference this week, Tsujihara said that he's had "constructive" talks with cinema owners and exhibitors in the US and that he's moving forward with the plan.
"We’re working with them to try and create a new window. But regardless of whether it happens or not - whether we are able to reach that agreement with them, we have to offer consumers more choices earlier."
This comes despite the fact that cinema owners in the US are actively fighting against major studios' plans to adopt home viewing. Regal Entertainment Group and Cinemark Holdings, Inc., two major cinema chains in the US, boycotted and refused to screen films from Paramount that were on home release seven weeks after their cinema debut.
Many studios are eager to embrace the shortened window from cinema to home viewing as the DVD and Blu-Ray market has stagnated since the arrival of Netflix and high-speed broadband internet connections. In September, James Murdoch of 21st Century Fox said that "crazy holdbacks that the theater owners put in place in terms of these blackout periods... really make a lot of problems for movies."
"Our business rules are of no interest to families who just want to see the movie," Murdoch explained.
The window between home release and cinema release is slowly dwindling with each passing year. Although smaller, independent films opt for a day-and-date release, larger budget films are trying to shorten the distance. Some films even made it to home viewing just two and half months after their cinematic release.
Whether cinema owners and exhibitors will stand idly by and allow it to happen is anyone's guess, but one thing is for certain - things are set to drastically change when it comes to how we view films from here on in.