Hollywood’s latest twists and turns likely mean more first-run movies are headed for your living room.
How we watch movies at home is being transformed — one business deal at a time. As you might expect, Netflix is helping drive developments.
Just as it has acquired and made its own TV series, the video-streaming service has done the same with movies. Its acquisition Beasts of No Nation could be watched at home on Oct. 16, 2015, the day it hit select theaters, as could Netflix’s original Crouching Tiger Hidden Dragon: Sword of Destiny when the martial arts sequel debuted Feb. 25.
And The Ridiculous Six, the first film in a four-picture deal with actor Adam Sandler, went straight to Netflix in December. It set a mark for most viewings in a 30-day time period.
Now, Netflix has reportedly made its biggest acquisition ever, paying $90 million — and outbidding Hollywood studios — for the upcoming Will Smith supernatural cop thriller Bright. The $90 million is triple the premium that the streaming service paid in June 2015 to acquire the Brad Pitt-produced War Machine, according to Deadline, which first reported the deal, citing unnamed sources close to the situation. Netflix declined to comment.
Theaters could counter Netflix’s growing dominance over home TV viewing, analysts at MoffettNathanson Research say, by embracing The Screening Room, a recently announced project supported by Napster co-founder Sean Parker. With a $150 set-top box, Screening Room users could pay $50 to see a movie at home on the same day it’s released in theaters. Theaters would get a cut of the receipts, and subscribers would get a pair of tickets to subsequently see the movie at the cinema, too.
Filmmakers such as Steven Spielberg, Martin Scorsese, Peter Jackson and J.J. Abrams have reportedly joined Parker and co-founder Prem Akkaraju’s effort, as stakeholders, advocates or advisers, Deadline has reported.
Some theater owners — and some filmmakers, including James Cameron — have voiced opposition. The National Association of Theatre Owners trade group issued a chilly response that a “more sophisticated window modeling may be needed for the growing success of a modern movie industry. Those models should be developed by distributors and exhibitors in company-to-company discussions, not by a third party.”
That’s short-sighted, The Diffusion Group’s senior analyst Alan Wolk wrote onthe research firm’s blog. Movie lovers “want to be able to see movies when they want, where they want,” Wolk wrote. “But that should make studios and theater owners happy, not frightened.”
The TV industry feared the effects of Netflix and streaming services, but recent research suggests that “their convenience actually expands the number of hours people spend watching TV,” he said. “Movie theater owners must also embrace new technologies (and) see them as less of a threat and more as a tool to grow ticket sales.”
There’s likely many plot twists to come in this cliffhanger.
Source Cowan: USA Today