Relativity Chief Dana Brunetti: Sean Parker's The Screening Room Doesn't Go Far Enough

"It's not something that I'm gonna be able to change overnight," the Oscar and Emmy nominee recently told THR, "but as the opportunities make themselves available I'm definitely going to push that way whenever I can."
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Dana Brunetti

"I've been preaching and saying that for years, that we need to go day-and-date," Dana Brunetti, Relativity Media's new president of production, said when the topic of Sean Parker's proposed new model for distribution, The Screening Room, came up during a recent recording of THR's awards podcast. "It's not something that I'm gonna be able to change overnight, but as the opportunities make themselves available I'm definitely going to push that way whenever I can."

The Oscar- and Emmy-nominated producer elaborated: "It's controlled too much by the movie theaters. The movie theater experience is not what it should be in the society that we live in now, where people are so used to time-shifting and DVR, being able to stop and start when they want to. They're saying $50 and people are going, 'Well, that's too expensive.' I disagree. I think it should be $80 or $100, and if it's a bigger and more in-demand movie, then have it be flexible pricing. The reality of it, though, is it ends up being cheaper for a lot of people — think where you go, you valet your car or park your car, you get popcorn, it's $20, you get a babysitter, you have to be there at 7:15 — just that aspect of it is a pain in the ass for a lot of people. … I can pause it when I need to get up and take a leak, I can pause it when I want to get up and get a beer, and I can sit on my couch in comfort, I don't have to have a babysitter, I don't have to drive anywhere, I don't have to park and if I want to start it at 8:23, I start it at 8:23 as opposed to having to be somewhere at a given time."

The 42-year-old added, "It's going to come, and that's why something like Screening Room has a lot of industry players that are involved with it. The people that are involved with it — they can see the forest through the trees, whereas the theaters, they really need to get with it. It's an old model. They can make it beneficial to them as well. How this industry has been for so long is, 'If it ain't broke, don't fix it.' But you know what? Look at the taxi drivers. They're pissed off and they think Uber is the worst thing in the world, but you and I probably think Uber is the best thing in the world. I go to Vancouver [to the sets of the 50 Shades of Grey sequels, which he's producing] and I think, 'What the hell is wrong with this place?' I don't think the oil industry is happy with Tesla. But guess what? Times change and things are changing and they change for the better. It goes back to, 'Give the people what they want, how they want it, and they'll pay for it.' "