MPAA Chief Agrees to Meet With Screening Room Execs Over $50 Home Movie Service

Chris Dodd -Getty-H 2016
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Sean Parker's divisive new venture wants to make new movies available in the home on the same day that they hit cinemas, collapsing theatrical windows.

In what some might view as a surprise turn, Motion Picture Association of America chairman Chris Dodd will take a meeting with representatives of the Screening Room, Sean Parker's controversial new venture that hopes to make new movies available in the home for $50.

"They've asked us to sit down and say hello. I take all sorts of meetings. I certainly am happy to say hello," Dodd said Tuesday during a press conference at CinemaCon, the annual gathering of theater owners currently underway in Las Vegas.

Dodd remains an ardent supporter of the big-screen experience, and earlier on Tuesday the top lobbyist, whose organization represents the six major Hollywood studios, seemed to take a swipe at efforts to shorten theatrical windows when taking the stage at CinemaCon to deliver his annual speech.

"Despite the noisy suggestions otherwise, the cinema still remains the premier way to experience the magic or our movies," Dodd said during his formal address.

Most theater owners convening in Las Vegas believe the Screening Room will hurt their livelihood. Executives with the venture are in Las Vegas taking meetings in hopes of convincing exhibitors otherwise.

Both Dodd and National Association of Theatre Owners president-CEO John Fithian said it is up to their respective members to decide whether to do business with the Screening Room, founded by Parker and music executive Prem Akkaraju.

Fithian stopped short of criticizing the Screening Room, but said rather that it is a "big distraction." He also reiterated that preserving theatrical windows is NATO's No. 1 priority. Further, he said it should be up to studios and exhibitors to decide how to balance windows with the rise of digital technology, and not a third party.

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